Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
"Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand."
— Matthew 13:1-9 NLT
It is easy to be a part of the crowd. It is very hard to communicate effectively and lead a crowd. These two issues challenge Jesus repeatedly through his ministry. But Jesus is not so much interested in attracting a crowd as he is in building a Kingdom. He is not interested in having an audience; he is building an army of servant-hearted disciples. So throughout his ministry, he will say difficult things, challenging things, confrontational things, to weed out the crowd and call together his Kingdom. All the while, he reminds those who would follow him, who would be his disciples, who would help him build his Kingdom family, that the responsibility is to not only hear, but to also listen — to absorb the message into their hearts and display it in their lives. Today it is so easy for most of us to call ourselves a Christian. Despite the hostility and ridicule in some quarters of society and in the world, so many call themselves Christian without knowing Christ, obeying his word, or living with his character. So as we begin this journey through his parables, you and I must hear the powerful call of Jesus: "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." He doesn't want us in his crowd; he wants to make us to live vibrantly for his Kingdom.
O great God of the nations, open my ears that I may fully hear your message to me through Jesus. Father, I don't want to just be in the crowd; I want to be a part of your Kingdom. Forgive me for the times I've piddled at faithfulness. I want to be obedient to Jesus' call so I may reflect your character and grace. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 5:1
- John 6:60, 66-68
- Matthew 7:21-23
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Sunday, June 20, 2021
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.