(Part I) Pastor Daniel here lays the foundation for what will be covered over these same verses in the coming weeks. The text addresses a problem that we have as human beings: “Both the hardness of the human heart and the active opposition of the enemy conspire to thwart our understanding of God’s good news.” It might be said that everyone, simply through normal living, has two strikes against him from the get-go. It would seem to us then to be a strange thing that Jesus would use a parable to explain the solution to these problems until we come to understand that He always delivered to each person what was most needful given the present state of their souls. There exist so many obstacles to receiving into our hearts the living Word that we hear, and we understand from texts like this one that it is only God who can overcome such obstacles to receiving the gospel. We are left then with the charge to examine our hearts to see if we really understand this message and then pray too that God would help us overcome any hindrances to our being able to share clearly the gospel with others.
Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff