Jesus was explaining to Simon Peter that the number of times we need to forgive one another is just arbitrary. It’s not about keeping a score card on that other person…for the act of forgiveness not about them at all. Forgiveness stems from the unlimitless capacity to forgive that Jesus first showed us while we were still sinners. So as Christians, we are compelled to show each other the same kind of forgiveness…for forgiveness comes out of love for the Lord and each other. The act of forgiveness is for our benefit, not others. For if we allow unforgiveness to fester inside, blame escalates, and with it, growing bitterness, which leads only to spiritual blight.
In these verses from the Parable of the Sower we see the Word of God being sown over rocky ground. The plants spring up, but because they have no adequate root system, they die off quickly. In the Amplified Version of the Bible it gives us insight into this shallow faith. It states in Mark 4:17, ” And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.” So how can we pray for this person? They have to go deeper. In I Timothy 3:9 it talks about keeping ahold of the deep truths of the faith…the divine secrets, revealed truths, and revelations from God. To move from shallow faith to a vibrant and intimate relationship with the Lord, a person has to go deeper with God…allowing Him to speak to them through the Scriptures, revealing important truths to them. And with these new revelations, they are then able to send roots of trust down deep.
This is from the Parable of the Sower, where the farmer sows the Word…the Logos…the Word of God, onto a hard-packed path. The seed just sits on top of the surface, unable to germinate and grow because of the hardpan – the unbroken subsoil beneath. To have a hardened heart towards the Gospel is to have an indifference towards the things of God…or to have an unfeeling conscience. So how can we pray for that person? We can ask the Lord to plow up that hard soil of rebellion in their life… that the Word of God may germinate and flourish there.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t speaking to non-Believers in this passage. Rather, he was directing the faithful to stop judging one another. You probably know someone who has been deeply wounded at Church by some hyper-critical Carnal Christian, and now because of that, has turned their back totally on Christianity and anything to do with God. For them, they can only see hypocrisy in fellow Believers that should be showing the love of Jesus…but instead are negative and critical. Such Carnal Christians are a hindrance and a barrier to the Gospel Message.
We’ve all been very thirsty. An interesting note about the human body…hunger pangs will eventually subside, but thirst will never go away, for our bodies need water to operation and maintain homeostasis, (a stable and normal condition of all systems within the body.) In this Scripture, Jesus is offering the Samaritan woman the kind of water that will not only satisfy immediately, but will become an Artesian well within her. Like a spring rising up with a new and constant supply of fresh water, this living water fills and quenches our thirst unlike anything the world can offer.
The long-held Jewish Law was being turned upside down by Jesus in this scripture. He was in a way giving the crowd an Anatomy and Physiology lesson in explaining that nothing they could ingest would ever defile their hearts…their inner self. Rather, Jesus explained to them that it was what came out of a man…in word and deed…that degraded and profaned him.