| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 98 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
Herod exhibited the same character. "When Herod saw Jesus he was greatly pleased
. . . . . he hoped to see Him perform some miracle" (Luke 23: 8). Yet when Christ
refused to do this "Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him" (verse 11, N.I.V.).
Another example were the multitudes just before the Crucifixion who were crying in
excitement, "blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the
highest". Yet within a few days, urged by the priests and elders, they screamed "Crucify
Him, crucify Him" (Matt. 27: 19-25). This shallowness and fickleness was typical of
those to whom the Lord witnessed, and thus His ministry can be likened to the stony
The ministry of Peter and the Twelve follow that of the Lord Jesus. Peter uses the key
word of the gospel of the Kingdom, "repent" and the external ordinances of the Kingdom
"be baptized" (Acts 2: 38; 3: 19-26). The trouble here was not hardness of heart and
shallowness, but the failure to progress spiritually and go on to maturity (A.V.
perfection). The things that prevented this are likened to "thorns" in the parable, and they
stand for the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth that choke the progress of
the Word, making it unfruitful (Matt. 13: 22).
The Epistle to the Hebrews is the Scriptural commentary on this condition. The
illustration of the thorny ground is repeated in Heb. 6: 8, "but that which beareth thorns
and briers is rejected". In Luke's accounts we are told that the thorny ground hearers are
choked with the riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to perfection (maturity,
8: 14), and we find the echo of this in Heb. 6: with the exhortation "leaving . . . . . let
us go on to perfection (maturity)". Ananias and Sapphira are examples of those who
were choked by the "thorns", money, the material things of this life.
It is not until we reach the fourth sowing of the Kingdom seed that we get the full
results of "good ground", for God will not allow His great purposes for the establishment
of His Kingdom on earth to founder. He gets the real fruit at last.
Finally, this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached for a witness unto all the
nations, and then shall the end come (Matt. 24: 14). This final witness leads on to the
fulfillment of the commission of Matt. 28: 19, 20:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age" (N.I.V.).
The world-wide proclaiming of the Kingdom and discipling of all the nations is linked
by the Lord Jesus to a time preceding His Second Coming, as the whole of Matt. 24:
teaches. This last sowing will be fruitful. At the end, "Israel shall all be righteous"
(Isaiah 60: 21). "All Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11: 26). Up to this point the heart of
Israel had "waxed gross" and become so hard that the word of the Kingdom did not
penetrate. The condition of the heart of mind is at the centre of the New Covenant which
God has made with the nation (Jer. 31: 31-37). His promise to them is "I will give