Have you ever noticed the linkage between Luke 8:4-15 (the parable of the sower) and the verses immediately following it – Luke 8:16-18? After learning of some secret sin a friend of mine has been trying to expose regarding her philandering, adulterous ex-husband, Luke 8:17 came to my mind and I wanted to post it as a reply to her heartfelt Facebook post. I wanted to encourage her. But now I think I would’ve been taking that scripture kicking and screaming out of context. As I learned from a former mentor, context is king. In context, it is inextricably linked to the previous parable.
The parable of the sower, in my theological opinion, is all about genuine conversion to Jesus Christ. That “Great Exchange” we hear about from C.S. Lewis. The parable is all about four different hearers of the Word of God: 1. seed that falls along the path 2. seed that falls on the rock and 3. seed that falls in among the thorns. 4. seed that falls on fertile soil. The first 3 hearers are not genuinely converted… they are merely hearers that never produce fruit – they never reproduce. And if the parable itself wasn’t scary enough, Jesus goes on to drive home his point with Luke 8:16-18.
The parable seems to come to an end with Luke 8:15 and in most Bibles with helpful headings and we move into a section (in my Bible, anyway) entitled “A Lamp Under a Jar”. But in reality, this section is very alarming part of the prior section and Jesus continues the previous parable by saying the new light you have inside of you will affect EVERYTHING. The light will increasingly drive out the sin of your former self. This increasing driving out of sin is called progressive sanctification or, more simply: change. I should be different today than I was last year. Next year I should be different than I am today because of progressive sanctification.
“Take care then how you hear” is a direct reference to the parable of the sower as the soils represent different responses to “hearing” the Word… the gospel… the good news and truth of Jesus Christ. My ESV (English Superior Version 😂) commentary note says this: “If believers do not hide the light (message) they have heard (Luke 8:8, Luke 8:15, Luke 8:18) but proclaim it for others to see, then what is hidden (v.10) will be made manifest, and what is secret will come to light. Jesus is ultimately speaking about the final judgment, but gospel proclamation and gospel ministry in this age are like a “lamp” (Luke 8:16) that illumines and drives away dark area of sin before the final judgment. The one who already has a knowledge of God’s Word will understand it better (more will be given), whereas the one who does not listen carefully (has not) will lose even what he has heard. ”
Ouch. TAKE CARE THEN HOW YOU HEAR.
“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” CS Lewis