“Now the seed sown among the thorns stands for someone who hears the message, but it is choked by the worries of the world…” Matthew 13:22
Are we plagued by a plague or are we plagued by the worries of this world? It is a fair question to ponder as we are spiraling downward in the news and listening to story after story of heartbreaking concern. The world right now is a place of uncertainty, fear, chaos, confusion, isolation, and tedious rituals and routines. We are all, to some extent, experiencing a loss of control and a loss of freedom.
Jesus spoke in parables so what was hidden would be brought to light for those who are seeking Him. In Matthew 13:1-23, He was teaching His disciples about seeds and how they grow. There was a certain seed that fell among the thorns and it could not grow because the worries of the world choked out its life. It is interesting that the word “choked” means suffocated. Jesus was talking about a spiritual suffocation that would happen if we are consumed with the worries of the world.
Devastatingly, we all are seeing a physical suffocation happening right before our eyes in our fellow man due to a real concern- the Coronavirus. Our world is filled with amazingly brilliant people and we have come up with cures to many problems before and we likely will again. But today we do not have an answer. And we listen hopelessly to the news as more and more people are suffering and many are taking their last breath.
The antonym for “choked” means “breathe,” “exhale,” and “inhale.” That is what we need physically and spiritually right now in our world. Physically, we need lungs to open up and be healed. Spiritually, we need our hearts to open up and be renewed. There is only One Cure for both – Jesus.
As we sit in this Holy Week we are overshadowed by the news of a curse of death. Jesus told us in advance, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure” (John 10:10). Do you, like me, find it interesting that this curse of death and the promise of life are converging in this one week- which happens to be Holy Week?
We certainly do not know what God is doing nor do we know how He will work in this situation. But what we do know is He took the curse of death, the entire weight of our sins, upon Himself at the cross. He bore the punishment that belonged to us. He made us whole and by His wounds, we are healed. He conquered death and darkness so we could live with Him forever. He gave us His Spirit so we could live in the fullness of His life and breathe life into others.
Indeed, we can believe God that the worries of the world will choke out our life. We will certainly miss out on His blessing and promises if we do not look through all the entanglements that are trying to choke out the life giving message of the cross of Christ. In Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus was explaining to His disciples about the heart of man. He explains that hearts can get so dull to the things of God that we don’t see, hear, or understand. He desires repentance so He can bring healing.
My Gracious Heavenly Father,
Renew my heart. Let it not be choked out by the worries of this world. Help me to turn from where I have let worldly wisdom, worry, and fear be my focus. I cannot trust in my own understanding. I cannot lean on my own ways. Help me to fear You alone and know that I can trust that you will lead me in your way and provide everything that I need to honor you. Thank you Jesus for Your sacrifice on the cross. You broke every curse, every stronghold, and every entanglement that could keep us from You. Rain down your physical and spiritual healing on us in this Holy week. We, as Your children, are not under a curse of death- but a promise of LIFE. Breathe LIFE into us and let us all Breathe LIFE into others through the power of Your Holy Spirit. For this is the same Spirit that raised You from the grave. You are Alive! We praise You!
In the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.