Gospel stories are gracious
Luke 8: 19-20 “His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.”
Do you really want to be a preacher when you only have 25% chance of any lasting fruit from it?
Do you really want to be a witness when 3 people out of every 4 people will make you feel disappointed?
What Jesus says may at first glance cause some confusion.
Everyone would know he is quoting the prophet Isaiah who was sent to preach to 4 major kings in Judah. Isaiah knew this would not be a successful appointment because of the hardness and apathy of their hearts. In fact his preaching would make it worse, for he would make their hearts even harder.
Jesus is explaining to the crowd what he has been doing. He is scattering seed, but the people need to hear and understand. Yet understanding the secrets of the kingdom hidden in a parable is a work of God in a heart that is willing to be open to receive the truth. For others, Jesus hasn’t come to condemn, so if they reject the kingdom then to lessen their guilt they are actually only rejecting a story that they didn’t understand.
As we scatter seed, let’s not be as focused on our ability and skill in doing so but in prayer that there be a move in their hearts to hear and understand.
Yet in scattering seed we must acknowledge that it will have the effect of the hardening of hearts in some people. So the sharing of the gospel may not bring results but it is always effective because it will at the very least bring judgment. And maybe that is the uncomfortable truth. You share a story of your life to witness to someone the gospel and they receive it gladly, they get it completely. What a great story and presentation! You do exactly the same thing to another person and they look at you with a blank face. Don’t worry, it’s okay, there may be nothing wrong with your presentation, it is just that on this occasion not only did they not take the opportunity to hear and understand they became more entrenched in their position yet they did so in the most gracious way possible, because all they heard was a story of your life, the meaning was hidden from them. Parables are gracious. Judgment doesn’t have to come in hard knock-out blows.