Sexagesima Sunday

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Sexagesima Sunday

2 Corinthians 11: 19-31 – Luke 8: 4-15

He that has ears to hear, let him hear


We are moving slowly but surely toward Lenten season. The word of God is inviting us to something that we always overlook in life, which is to listen. Listening is one of the most powerful faculties God has given man. It is also the key to success and even to survival in most relationships. Every year, many businesses collapse not because of their products, but because management and workers do not listen to each other, or more importantly to their customers. Marriages fall apart because two people who still claim they are lovers, do not spend time together and therefore do not listen to each other. God is telling us today that if we want to become successful and productive believers we must first start listening to his word. That’s the major theme of today’s gospel. It is about how we listen to Jesus as preacher. He is calling us today to listen well so that we may bear fruits and also bring people to the kingdom of God. The important question that comes out of today’s gospel is this: “what kind of ground are you?” A productive ground or a rocky and unproductive ground?

Jesus told this parable to make people consider how they respond to the word of God. Here, he didn’t just teach morals or perform miracles. He wanted to show his listeners the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Whether or not the word of God has effect totally depends on us. It depends on how we receive it. Let us now go ahead and consider every ground described by Jesus in this parable.

  1. The first ground represents non-believers. They come to church and hear the word of God, but “the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (v.12b). They are spiritually dry to the point that things of God are foolish to them, and they will never understand.
  2. The second ground represents believers who receive the word of God with joy. They lack the spiritual virtue of endurance. They are not ready to follow all that the word requires. We find this sort of believers in the Corinthian church and perhaps in many churches today.
  3. The third ground also represents the believers. They do receive and believe the word they hear. But the word does not produce any fruit in them because it is chocked by worries, riches, power, and pleasures of life. Believers of this category are dry and therefore unproductive.
  4. The fourth ground represents believers who receive the word of God with an honest and good heart, and bear fruits, much fruits to the glory of God.

What Jesus is saying here is to make us understand the difference between religion and spirituality; the difference between doing and being; the difference between going to church and be who God wants you to be. Each disciple should certainly do what he can (according to the abilities and opportunities God gives him) to spread the gospel of Christ. We need disciples who sow, water and gather fruit for eternal life. We need disciples who visit the sick and serve in many other ways that bring glory to God and make the light of the gospel shine brightly as a city on a hill and a lamp on a stand (Matthew 5:14-16).

We really appreciate what the Evangelism Committee and the Women’s group are doing to bring more people to the church. Our fruitfulness, as individuals and as congregations, is not measured by the number of people who respond. We are fruitful if we do good deeds to the glory of God according to our own ability and our own function in the body of Christ.

The Word of God powerful. In our gospel lesson, the seed is the Word of God and the seed is powerful. To be sure, the seed that falls on the path, on the rock, or among the thorns cannot grow up and bear lasting fruit. But here the problem is not with the seed, but with the ground. The lack of repentance and faith among the believers is not a negative reflection on the Word of God, but on the believers themselves. It happens when the devil comes and takes the Word away from someone’s heart; when those who initially believe later fall away from the faith; when others are choked by the cares and riches of this life – these are all negative reflections on the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature. But the Word of God is still powerful enough to bring us to salvation.

The question here is what makes up life? Is it the bills to pay, the family issue to resolve, the education of your children, the business to manage, the church to run? It is true that we are permanently under pressures in our society today. Where do people find time for faith? Where do people find time to make that faith grow? In the midst of our turmoil it is very easy that faith gets chocked out. A believer whose faith is not nurtured by the word of God suffers spiritual dryness

As we move toward Lenten season, let us keep in mind that God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength to live according to it.  Do you hunger for God’s word?

When I was hungry you fed me. When I was naked you clothed me. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Beloved, they will know us by our love.