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Good Soil

08 January 2023

As you read through this week’s readings, you’ll probably be struck by how busy Jesus was.  Of course, we don’t know the time period involved, but he was certainly travelling and ministering all the time.


Jesus met lots of different people: a sick woman, a mentally ill man, a desperate father, a hungry crowd, a bunch of Pharisees, and even his own neighbours.  The woman was healed by having the faith to touch Jesus’ clothing.  The mentally ill man was restored because Jesus intervened in his life.  And Jairus’ daughter was healed because he believed that Jesus could not only heal her, but also raise her from the dead.  These are all fantastic testimonies that should spur us on to pray for the sick because Jesus is the same today.


The crowd was taught and fed.  We don’t hear what happened next, but we do remember what Jesus did miraculously.


But what about the Pharisees?  In Mark 3, Jesus healed a man.  You would have thought this was a cause for rejoicing, but the Pharisees only noticed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath.  They had confused the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy and do no work with the idea that you shouldn’t even do good things on the Sabbath.


And Jesus’ neighbours?  These are the people who had known him since he was a child and maybe you know from personal experience how labels stick.  They remembered Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter.  But the person they didn’t know was Jesus, Son of God.  They had become stuck in their views and couldn’t accept that Jesus had moved on and was now teaching and healing and generally doing God’s work.


So what do we learn from Jesus’ interactions with these people?  Maybe we should look at the parable of the sower for some clues.


Firstly, some seed was sown along the path.  The word never gets the chance to take root because the path is too hard.  This is like Jesus’ neighbours.  They didn’t want to change because they believed what they believed about Jesus.


Secondly, some seed landed among rocks.  Here, the seed could germinate, but not grow to maturity.  The Pharisees knew scripture in minute detail, but never understood it because they were also trained in the traditions of the faith, which were considered more important.


Thirdly, some seed fell among thorns.  Worldly concerns stopped the seed from growing.  Perhaps this is what happened to the crowd.  We don’t know what happened to them but they did have an encounter with Jesus where he met their needs. 


But fourthly, some seed fell on good soil.  The sick woman, the mentally ill man and Jairus were good soil because they received Jesus gladly and had faith in him.  And each of them experienced a crop of health and wholeness produced in their lives.


We all want to be good soil.  How can we ensure that we are?  In our stories today, the good soil people were those who believed Jesus could help them and accepted his help.  They allowed their lives to be transformed by his power.  And that offer of transformation still stands.  So today, ask Jesus to work in your life and transform you, making you into increasingly good soil that produces a crop of thirty, sixty or a hundredfold.

Photo of Gill Hayes

Gill Hayes

Core Leadership Team
GoChurch Manchester