“The Parable of the Sower Part 1: On Being Good Soil”
March 5, 2023
Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service
The Reading of the Word
We continue this morning in the Gospel of Mark, and come now to Mark chapter four, and the parable of the sower.
We’ll spend two Sunday’s on this parable: one on what it has to teach us about being good soil, and then another on what it teaches us about being a good sower. Our focus this morning is on being good soil.
With that in mind, we turn now to our text: Mark 4:1-20.
Please listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning:
Again he [that is, Jesus] began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that
“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”
13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]
Let’s pray …
Prayer of Illumination
Lord, we call to you, and we ask you to save us,
so that we might be your faithful servants, and live in light of your testimonies.
We cry out to you,
and we put our hope in your words.
We gather here now,
that we might meditate on your promises.
Hear our prayer now, according to your steadfast love,
according to your justice in your covenant, give us life.
And as we face opposition from those who oppose you,
Help us to know how to root ourselves in you.
Grant this, we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen.
[Based on Psalm 119:146-151]
So, our focus this morning is on the soil. Jesus here calls us to be good soil, and warns us against being bad soil. But what exactly does that mean?
What distinguishes one soil from another is how it receives (or fails to receive) the seed. And the seed, we learn in verse fourteen, and even more clearly in Luke’s account of this parable [Luke 8:11] is the Word of God. And God’s word comes to us in the Scriptures.
The Bible tells us that God, the Maker of the universe, has spoken to us. And we have that Word in the Christian Scriptures. There God tells us who we are, and who he is, and how we can know him and be made right with him (both in this life and the next). He also tells us how he wants us to live our lives now. All of this God gives us in his Word, the Scriptures.
We may read the Word directly ourselves. We may hear the Word preached. We may have other Christians speak the Word of God to us in conversation. We may encounter summaries and explanations of the Word of God in books. But, however mediated, it’s through that Word that God so often works in and through his people. And when God’s Word comes to us, we must respond to it.
And this parable is about how we will respond.
Burt hearing and responding to the Word of God is not a one-time thing. And the categories of this parable are not static. Rather, they are categories that human hearts can move between. [Edwards, 133 and 134 n.56]
For one thing, bad soil can obviously become good soil. In an ultimate sense that is what conversion is: where before there was no response to the Word of God, now it takes root and bears fruit, as a non-Christian becomes a Christian.
Jesus himself expects there to be a possibility for change. He begins and ends the parable with an exhortation to listen and to hear. And Jesus is not just describing static categories of people – he is calling us to seek to be one kind of soil rather than another.
But Jesus’s vocabulary here and elsewhere also makes it clear that believing Christians can, at times or for seasons of their life, act like the bad soil that is described here.
Jesus says in verse seventeen that the second soil describes those who receive the Word with joy, but when tribulation and persecution come, they “fall away.” That’s the same wording in Greek that is used elsewhere when Jesus speaks about how the twelve will all “fall away” when he is arrested. The eleven believing disciples were just that – they were believing. But in that moment, they fell away. Their hearts acted like the bad soil. [Horne, 92]
And so while it’s true that each soil may ultimately characterize the life of someone in the end, it’s also true that real believers can, for a moment, or even a season, act like bad soil. And it’s true that non-Christians can repent and believe and become good soil.
And so, each one of us this morning needs to consider in what ways we need to resist the temptation to be like the bad soil, and seek to be like the good soil instead.
As commentator Mark Horne puts it: “These soils are not unchangeable characterizations of people […]. The fact is that, as we are moved from glory to glory, we continually must struggle to respond to the Word of God in a manner pleasing to God. The parable of the soils should be taken as an exhortation to those who are Christians to continually repent and believe.” [Horne, 92]
And so it’s with that goal that we need to come this morning to Jesus’s parable.
With that said, let’s consider the four soils.
Soil of the Path
The first way we might respond to the Word of God is like the soil that is on the path. Jesus says in verse four: “some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.”
He explains in verse fifteen what this means. He says: “when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.” Matthew includes the detail that those who are like the soil of the path hear the word of God, but do not understand it. [Matthew 13:18] In Luke’s account it’s added that the reason Satan takes the word away is “so that they may not believe and be saved.” [Luke 8:12]
What’s being described here is when we hear the Word of God, but out of disinterest or confusion, we just don’t pay much attention to it.
And, of course, as an isolated incident, this is not uncommon. We read the Bible or we listen to a sermon … but we realize by the end (or maybe half-way through) that we’re not really paying attention … and as a result, we don’t take much away from it.
That said, Matthew points out that another way this can happen is through a lack of understanding. Maybe the text presents something we find confusing. Or maybe it challenges us about what we believe, and we don’t have a really good answer. But rather than engaging with it, we assure ourselves that we need not worry about it, and we move on.
We can all be prone to do that here and there. But we can also fall into this pattern in much deeper and more significant ways.
You could see this in the early life of Joy Davidman – a woman who would later become C.S. Lewis’s wife. Earlier in life – before her conversion – she was an atheist. Looking back, she summarized her earlier views writing: “Men, I said, are only apes. Love, art, and altruism are only sex. The universe is only matter. Matter is only energy.” Then she added: “I forget what I said energy was only.” [Carpenter, 234]
But then she encountered the writings of C.S. Lewis – particularly The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, both of which taught truths from the Word of God that confronted her. They were like seeds cast on her heart. But how did she respond at first? Well … it would seem like the soil of the path.
“‘These books stirred an unused part of my brain to momentary sluggish life,’ she said. ‘Of course’, I thought, ‘atheism was true; but I hadn’t given quite enough attention to developing the proof of it. Someday, when the children were older, I’d work it out. Then,’” she adds, “‘I forgot the whole matter.’” [Carpenter, 235]
We can laugh at such a pattern, but it’s a remarkably easy thing to do: The Word of God or its truths are cast upon our hearts, and maybe we recognize that we don’t quite understand what to do with them … but rather than engage, we simply assure ourselves that we know better … and we tell ourselves that we’ll come back to these questions later … and then, before we know it, we forget about the whole thing. The birds come, and snatch the seeds away. And no fruit comes from it.
Instead, Jesus calls us here to engage. First, that means that we are called to pay attention. That might mean being intentional to read the Word of God when we know we will be more alert. It might also mean being more intentional about getting a good night’s sleep before Sunday morning (or at least having an extra cup of coffee before coming in!)
But then, as we hear the word, it also means willingly engaging with the parts we know we don’t understand. Don’t brush those aside. Grab on to them. Write them down. Seek to understand them. Talk to me or others. Get a good study Bible. Because if we don’t understand the Word, soon it will pass by and fly away from us. And we will prove to be unfruitful.
That’s the first pattern Jesus warns us against: the pattern of the soil of the path, that leaves the seed on the surface, doesn’t really engage with it, and so allows it to be snatched up, forgotten, and unfruitful.
That’s one type of soil. What comes next?
The second type of soil – the second way we might encounter the Word of God – is pictured in the rocky soil. In verses five and six Jesus says: “Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.”
Jesus explains in verse sixteen and seventeen that these are “the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.”
Jesus is describing here people who hear the Word of God, enthusiastically embrace some parts of it, but don’t actually allow the Word to penetrate their hearts.
And in Jesus’s immediate context the groups that best fit this description are actually the Pharisees, the Zealots, and those who followed Jesus initially but fell away when they realized that his way was the way of the cross. [Horne, 91]
Remember, that though the Pharisees were viewed in Jesus’s day as being especially religious, Jesus’s main critique of them was that while they were so enthusiastic about some parts of God’s Word, they ignored other, more weighty parts of God’s Word. [Matthew 23:23-24] They tended to be enthusiastic about external aspects of the Scriptures that they could keep in a way that made them look superior to others. But the parts of the Word of God that called them to examine their hearts, and their motives, and see the depths of their own sin … those parts they tended to ignore. In other words, they grew fast in the externals of religiosity, but their hearts remained stony, and prevented the Word of God from truly taking root. And so, when Jesus showed them what real discipleship looked like, they rejected him.
The Zealots were similar. They like the parts of the Bible that could serve their political cause. But they too had hard hearts when it came to allowing the Word of God to penetrate their souls and call them to repentance. They’d rather act out in great displays against the sins of others.
What’s worth noticing is that in both cases, those with hearts like rocky soil can appear especially devoted to the cause by their outwards displays, but their faith is actually very superficial. [Horne, 92]
Do you see that kind of pattern in your own life – whether in moments, in seasons, or as something even more?
When you hear the Word of God, do you tend to focus on those parts you like, but deflect those parts that would cut into your own heart and convict you if you allowed it to? When you hear the Word of God, do you latch onto those things that affirm you and that you can use against others, and dismiss those things that would call you to account? When you hear the Word of God, how much do you focus on applying it to your own heart and life, and how much do you focus on applying it to other people?
On one level, each of us can do this when we hear a sermon, or read a passage of Scripture, and we think primarily of how we’d like to confront others with it, rather than how it calls us to repentance.
On a deeper level, some Christians can go through seasons of life where this pattern defines their spiritual lives. They (and others!) may think that they are especially zealous … but their zeal never seems to be about combatting their own sin or striving for deeper repentance in their own hearts and lives … but it always seems to be directed outward, at others, who they see as the real problem.
Left unchecked, this can dominate someone’s life in an ultimate sense. Like the Pharisees, on the outside they can appear to be the most zealous. But inward their hearts are stone. And the Word of God finds nowhere to take root. In the end, they will fall away, either in this life, or when face-to-face with the Lord as he truly is.
So ask yourself: Have you given the Word of God space to take root in your heart? Have you allowed it to convict you of your sin? Have you let his Word examine you? Have you repented of what it uncovered? And have you felt the comfort of the gospel as an unmerited, undeserved gift that the Lord has given to you, by grace?
And if not, how do you need to repent of the stones and the barriers you have allowed in your heart? How do you need to turn from the externals of others, towards what’s going on inside of you?
Because if you don’t make that turn, then Jesus says you are at risk of having your faith wither away.
That’s the second kind of bad soil Jesus warns us about here.
So we’ve got the soil of the path. We’ve got the rocky soil. Now we come to the third kind of soil.
Jesus tells us that a third way we might encounter the Word of God is like thorn-infested soil. In verse seven, Jesus says: “Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.”
He explains in verses eighteen and nineteen that these are the ones who “hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” Mark here lists three things that might choke the Word: the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things. Luke’s account adds the “pleasures of life” to the list.
What is the pattern that Jesus is describing here?
Well, when it happens in an isolated instance, this can be quite simple. We may read the Word of God, or hear it preached, but we have so many other things dominating our minds as we do, that we allow no room for what we hear in our hearts and minds. Our other thoughts and concerns choke it out. [Wright, 44]
But other times it can become a much deeper pattern in our lives, that goes beyond an isolated moment. And again, in Jesus’s day it’s likely that this pattern played out most obviously in the lives of the Sadducees and the Herodians. These were those who had become very comfortable in the world around them. They called themselves believers, but wherever the Word of God came into conflict with their ability to live comfortably in the world, the desires of the world won out, and the Word of God was choked a bit further in their hearts. [Horne, 91, 92]
And there are so many ways that we can allow our comfort in this world to choke out the Word of God, wherever it challenges the desires of our hearts.
Of course one area we see this today is when it comes to the Christian sexual ethic. The Word of God gives very specific directions for what is the proper use of human sexuality in God’s eyes: that sexual intimacy is to be limited to monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.
But for some, that conflicts with how they want to use their sexuality. For others, the conflict resides in their fear that if they affirm that teaching, then it might cost them socially or financially. And so, either way, they allow the comforts and desires of this life to choke out the teaching of the Word so that it proves unfruitful. At the end of the day, they value the cares of this life over the Word of God bearing fruit in their hearts.
But this tendency and temptation is not new … and it’s certainly not limited to sexuality.
Sometimes it’s more about power.
In a recent piece in The New York Times, Tish Harrison Warren told the story of Fred Shuttlesworth – a theologically conservative pastor in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950s, who fought for civil rights through peaceful protest.
On the day that President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act and lawyers worked to integrate schools, Pastor Shuttlesworth showed up at Philips High School in Birmingham to enroll his children. Philips High School had been all-white. When he did, Shuttlesworth “was met by a white mob that beat him with baseball bats, chains and brass knuckles.” His wife was stabbed, his daughter’s ankle was hurt. All survived, and even that night Shuttlesworth was urging his supporters not to respond with violence.
“Shuttlesworth,” Warren writes, “was resolutely committed to justice” in his life and ministry. The response he received from others was that “His house was bombed with his whole family inside one Christmas Eve.” And “His church was subjected to three different bombing attempts.” But she writes: “He remained until his death in 2011 a man of deep Christian faith who constantly spoke about how the Bible required us to seek systemic change and racial equality. Yet even in his darkest hour he honored and affirmed the humanity and dignity of those who hated him by holding out the possibility of forgiveness, redemption and even friendship.”
Warren writes about Shuttlesworth in her piece. But she also asks her readers to consider the people who attacked him.
“Among religious conservatives [today], there exists a latent belief that once upon a time, America was a more Christian country, with prayer in school and churchgoing traditional families. Now, with rising secularity and the triumph of the sexual revolution, they claim, American Christians face unprecedented hostility and difficulty.”
“For the most part, however, this view represents a perniciously nostalgic vision of the past that belittles the darkness of racial oppression and the costs for those who experienced and denounced it. […] Was it really once a more Christian America simply because most people, including those who beat Rev. Shuttlesworth with chains, would likely identify as Christians? Was it a victory for faith that those who shouted hateful words at his family were likely to attend church the next week?”
Now, there’s a whole lot we can say about that – but let me say just one thing this morning: There’s more than one way to allow the desires of this world to choke out the Word of God in our hearts and lives. And sometimes it has been about power, as people who claimed to be Christians, people who were deeply involved in their churches, choked out the Bible’s teachings on race and justice in order to give room instead for their desire for sinful power and privilege over other people.
We can’t gloss over that when it happens today, or when it is part of our history.
Those are two more overt examples of what hearts that are like thorn-infested soil might look like. But sometimes it’s more subtle.
I learned this week that writing The Screwtape Letters likely cost C.S. Lewis a professor’s chair at Oxford. Lewis was a fellow and a tutor at Oxford, but never a full professor. And when he was up for election for such a chair, some Oxford dons cited The Screwtape Letters as the reason they voted against him. If Lewis had kept his faith more to himself, it would have probably been fine. But to write about the gospel so overtly, and at such a popular level, and with such broad appeal, offended the sensibilities of the other Oxford dons. [Carpenter, 207-208, 228-229]
Imagine if C.S. Lewis has let the cares of this world dictate his actions more than he did. I’m sure he could have rationalized it – he could have told himself that he could do more good as a full professor, and so he should just keep his faith more private. But to do that would have been to choke out the fruitfulness of the Word of God in his life. And the consequences would have been real. I know at least one person who came to faith in significant part through The Screwtape Letters. I can only imagine how many others there have been.
The possibility that things could have been different in Lewis’s life is a reminder that the thorns Jesus describes here can be subtle and deceitful, as Jesus himself says in verse nineteen. Especially when it comes to money and success, we need to beware how the deceitfulness of each can work in our hearts to choke out what the Word of God would call us to.
Where do you see the tendency … whether in moments here or there … or in this season of your life … or maybe across your life as a whole – where do you see this pattern of allowing the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the pleasures of life, and the desires for other things like power or prestige, choke out the fruitfulness of the Word of God in your life?
Jesus says that this tendency leads to hearts covered with thorns and without fruit.
And then, after all that, he points us to a better way.
So we see three patterns of life – three soils – that Jesus warns us against. Finally we see a pattern and a soil that he calls us to.
Fourth and finally, Jesus describes the good soil. He says in verse eight: “other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
He explains in verse twenty: “those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark tells us that these “hear the word and accept it.” And the result is that the Word of God bears fruit in their lives. And the fruit is significant. Jesus says that that fruit is born thirtyfold in some cases, sixtyfold in other cases, and even a hundredfold in other instances. [Compare with Matthew 13:23] But what exactly does that mean?
“Fold” here means the increase of the number of grains harvested over the number sown. [Edwards, 129 n.42] So if you sow 500 grains and the harvest is 5,000 grains, you have a tenfold harvest.”
So what was a normal harvest in the ancient world? Well there’s some debate, but drawing from the work of R.K. McIver who has surveyed ancient sources, James Edwards explains that the average harvest in the ancient world was three or fourfold. He writes: “There is no evidence in ancient literature that the figures in the parable of the sower were normal. Thirty-, sixty-, and one-hundred-fold signal a remarkable, if not miraculous, harvest.” [Edwards, 129 n.42]
Jesus is describing a miraculous fruitfulness here. And it’s miraculous not just in its quantity but in its quality. It’s a harvest of godliness. It’s a harvest of fruitfulness for the Kingdom of God. It’s a harvest of love for God and love for neighbor.
And that’s something each of us should want. Who is it who doesn’t want to be more loving to those around them? Who is it who doesn’t want to know their Maker? Who is it who doesn’t want to bear fruit for something that matters – fruit for the Kingdom of God that will last forever?
So if that is what we want – if that is what we long for – then what are we to do? How can we experience this miraculous fruitfulness in our own lives?
Jesus says in verse twenty that we need to hear the word and accept it.
First, there is the call to hear. And we find that not just in verse twenty, but at the beginning and the end of the parable. “Listen!” Jesus says in verse three. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He says in verse nine.
Jesus wants us to hear his word. But he’s calling us to a certain kind of hearing.
Each soil, Jesus acknowledges, “hears.” But they don’t all hear in the same way. The grammatical form Mark uses for hearing the first three times, when he describes the bad soil, is different from the grammatical form he uses the fourth time, for the good soil. For the first three kinds of soil – the soil that bears no fruit – Mark uses the aorist tense of the word “to hear” in Greek. James Edwards explains, writing: “The Greek aorist connotes punctiliar action, something done simply and finally. The first three types of hearing thus imply a quick, superficial hearing, in one ear and out the other, without effort or heeding. Satan, persecution, and the cares of the world spell havoc for those who give the gospel only a causal hearing. […] But in v. 20 a different kind of hearing is implied. The aorist tense is suddenly replaced by the present tense of the verb, signifying a continual, ongoing hearing as opposed to a careless or inattentive one.” [Edwards, 138]
In other words, Jesus isn’t calling us to something that comes and goes in a moment. He’s calling us to something that is ongoing.
Luke gets at this when he writes that those who hear the word rightly will “hold it fast.” [Luke 8:15] This gives us a sense that our interaction with the Word of God that comes to us is not superficial or fleeting, but it continues beyond the moment that the Word comes to us. It implies a sense of ongoing engagement with what we hear.
So first, Jesus is calling us to hear in a certain way – to truly take it to heart.
But then second, with that, Jesus calls us not just to hear the Word, but to truly accept it.
As one commentator summarizes it: “The difference between the lost seed and fruitful seed depends on hearing in faith.” [Edwards, 132]
That is what Mark means when he talks about “accepting” the Word.
It means we receive it as being true. We receive it as being true not only for others, but also for us – both in its difficult requirements and in its incredible promises.
We receive it as not just another earthly opinion, or interesting theory, but we accept it as the truth that has come from God through Christ.
And so, as Matthew highlights it, we seek to understand it. [Matthew 13:23] And as Luke points out, we hold fast to it with patient expectation. [Luke 8:15]
In Luke, Jesus says that those with hearts like good soil “bear fruit with patience.” A harvest, even for good soil, takes time. And so we cannot give up when we see a lag between when we embrace God’s word, and when we see it bear fruit in our lives. Rather, we must persevere in holding fast to it, and it will, in due season, bear fruit. We must be patient with how God’s Word works in our lives.
Now … what I’ve just described is what we need to do. And it’s all true – we need to be intentional in all of this – it is essential for our relationship with God that we hear and accept his word as he calls us to here. But at the very same time, we do not, of ourselves, produce any fruit. And that truth is actually built into the parable. Good soil – even perfect soil – bears no fruit by its own power. Some other force outside of itself (in this case the seed) is necessary for it to bear any fruit at all. And the same is true of us. As much as we are called to hear, and to accept, and to understand, and to hold fast, and to be patient – it is only God who actually brings a harvest out of that in our lives.
As commentator James Edwards puts it: “Discipleship is not what we can make of ourselves, but allowing both Sower and the seed to produce a harvest of which we alone are incapable.” [Edwards, 130]
And so here, in this parable, Jesus offers to do something in us that we could never do ourselves: to bring about the fruit of love for God and love for neighbor … which will then go out and produce further love for God and love for neighbor in others. He offers to make us people who will glorify God and enjoy him forever … and also help others to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Just as the sower enables soil to bear fruit (which it could not do on its own) so Jesus offers to enable us to do what we could not do on our own.
With that goal, he scatters his word over our hearts and in our lives. And he calls us to hear it, and to accept – to hold fast to it as it grows and bears fruit.
It is an amazing thing Jesus offers us, and we should joyfully embrace.
And so, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
This sermon draws on material from:
Bayer, Hans. Introduction and notes to Mark in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
Carpenter, Humphrey. The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and their Friends. London, UK: Harper Collins, 1978 (2006 paperback edition)
Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.
Horne, Mark. The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.
Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King. New York, NY: Penguin, 2011.
Leithart, Peter J. The Four: A Survey of the Gospels. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2010.
Leithart, Peter J. The Gospel of Matthew Through New Eyes: Volume One, Jesus as Israel. Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2017.
Warren, Tisch Harrison. “Loving Your Enemies Has Always Been a Radical Act.” The New York Times. February 5, 2023. https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?campaign_id=230&emc=edit_thw_20230205&instance_id=84594&nl=tish-harrison-warren&productCode=THW®i_id=68936877&segment_id=124496&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2Fd61a22e8-bc14-5b0c-9ad7-85caf5feaeb2&user_id=4d643a394f1fed5f07c8d8e3e6e3b1ac
Wright, N.T. Mark for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
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