What Jesus Did! 'Too Many Stories?' — Luke 8:5-10

Monday, May 11, 2015

"A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell beside the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate all this seed. Some seed fell on rock. This seed began to grow, but then died because the seed had no water. Some seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the good plants from growing. And some seed fell on good ground. This seed grew and made 100 times more grain." Jesus finished the story. Then Jesus called out, "You people that hear me, listen!" Jesus' followers asked him, "What does this story mean?" Jesus said, "You have been chosen to know the secrets of the kingdom of God. But I use stories to speak to other people. I do this so that: 'They will look, but they will not see; and they will listen, but they will not understand.'"
— Luke 8:5-10
Illustration of Luke 8:5-10 — "A farmer went out to plant his seed."

Key Thought

"You know, some people really like that person's preaching, but I think he uses too many stories! Too many people today just want to be entertained with stories. What I like is just good ol' plain preaching!"
Yes, that's a quote I've heard a time or two. What the person making the accusation fails to realize is that God's greatest preachers, including Jesus, made frequent use of stories and even physical illustrations in their preaching and prophecies. Can a person use too many stories? Probably not if they are used like Jesus often used them—to help his listeners gain insight and have a visual cue to help them remember the main point of his message. In other parables, Jesus uses stories to make things clear to his disciples, but make things confusing to his critics and opponents.
Stories can be used frivolously or to manipulate the emotions of people. On the other hand, stories can be used to powerfully drive home an important spiritual truth. They can be used to help give the listener a deeper insight into that truth by enabling that listener to grab hold of a self-discovered insight into God's truth through his or her processing of the story. At the same time, those outside the truth-seeking audience are left in the dark about the message, taking away much of their power for criticism.

Today's Prayer

Father, thank you for the power of stories to illustrate your truth and to help me remember that truth more easily. Most of all, dear Father, thank you for giving me the Bible to tell me about your love for all people and your plan to send Jesus. I know the Bible is full of all sorts of different kinds of stories that tell of your work in the world and your love for your children. Bless me as I take time each day to open my heart to that story. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Many people came together. People came to Jesus from every town. Jesus told the people this story: "A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell beside the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate all this seed. Some seed fell on rock. This seed began to grow, but then died because the seed had no water. Some seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the good plants from growing. And some seed fell on good ground. This seed grew and made 100 times more grain." Jesus finished the story. Then Jesus called out, "You people that hear me, listen!" Jesus' followers asked him, "What does this story mean?" Jesus said, "You have been chosen to know the secrets of the kingdom of God. But I use stories to speak to other people. I do this so that: 'They will look, but they will not see; and they will listen, but they will not understand.' "This is what the story means: The seed is God's teaching. What is the seed that fell beside the path? That is like the people that hear God's teaching, but then the devil comes and makes them stop thinking about that teaching. So those people cannot believe the teaching and be saved. What is the seed that fell on rock? That is like the people that hear God's teaching and accept it gladly. But these people don't have deep roots. They believe for a while. But when trouble comes, they turn away from God. What is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That is like the people that hear God's teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life stop them from growing. So they never make good fruit. And what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That is like the people that hear God's teaching with a good, honest heart. They obey God's teaching and patiently make good fruit.

Luke 8:4-15

Related Scripture Readings

You people that hear me, listen!" The followers came to Jesus and asked, "Why do you use these stories to teach the people?" Jesus answered, "Only you can know the secret truths about the kingdom of heaven. Those other people cannot know these secret truths. The person that has {some understanding} will be given more. And he will have even more than he needs. But the person that does not have {much understanding} will lose even the little {understanding} that he has. This is why I use these stories to teach the people: The people see, but they don't really see. The people hear, but they don't really understand.

Matthew 13:9-13

Maybe the tree will make fruit next year. If the tree still does not make fruit, then you can cut it down.'" Jesus taught in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. In that synagogue there was a woman that had a spirit {from the devil} inside her. This spirit had made the woman crippled for 18 years. Her back was always bent; she could not stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called to her, "Woman, your sickness has gone away from you!" Jesus put his hands on her. Then she was able to stand up straight. She praised God.

Luke 13:9-13

These Jewish leaders heard this story that Jesus told. They knew that this story was about them. So they wanted to find a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the people. So the Jewish leaders left Jesus and went away.

Mark 12:12

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.