Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members:
Ask for a volunteer to read Matthew 13:1-23 to the group, praying a short prayer that – however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
Note: aim to get through the first few questions quickly. They’re just making sure everyone in the group understands the main point of the parable.
Jesus’ disciples ask what the parable means, and he gives them the key (verses 16-23).
Jesus says that he tells parables as a sorting method. They reveal those whose hearts are closed off to him, and whose are open. It’s only to those that are open to him, that he grants the ‘key’ of understanding.
Jesus willingly shares the key with all who draw near to him and ask him.
Your discussion may run into difficulty as you talk about “the evil one” (verse 19), who comes and snatches away what was sown. How are we to understand this?
Jesus says that this group is best signified by a path – land which is hard. Some responded to Jesus’ teaching in his own day with hardness of heart. The more Jesus spoke, the more he healed, the more he taught, the harder their hearts got. These people were uninterested in hearing Jesus and therefore unable to hear him. What happens to this kind of heart? When they hear, says Jesus, the evil one immediately comes and takes the word away.
The Bible is clear throughout that there are malevolent spiritual forces, which wage war against Jesus and his people. Their normal pattern of work is to take something evil and to amplify it many times over. Here, people are already don’t want to listen to Jesus, and the evil one turns this into outright rejection of him.
C.S. Lewis picks up on this theme in his great fictional book The Screwtape Letters. It’s a series of letters from one senior demon, Screwtape, to a junior demon, Wormwood. Wormwood has been assigned a man to keep from coming to faith in Jesus. In one letter, Screwtape says, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”
We might most instinctively associate evil powers with the occult, but the evil one has a million methods of drawing us away from Jesus. Perhaps one of the key methods in our day is simply through distracting us.
For more, check out the episode Soft Power, Dirty War and Russian YouTube Videos from the This Cultural Moment podcast.
Those who listen to and trust Jesus are ‘good soil’. If you’re here today and you’re following Jesus, you are good soil because of what Jesus has done for you.
Spend some time responding in prayer.
There is a generosity to the way the sower sows his seed – he throws lots of it in all kinds of places.
Spend some time praying for those people by name.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
Can we set cookies? We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set analytics cookies that help us make improvements by measuring how you use the site. More about cookies.
By clicking the Accept button below you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.