A Jesus Centered Life
Read: “. . .when it’s sown upon the soil, . . .” Mark 4:31
Recently in our Christian culture much has been made of the term “gospel-centered,” it has become a brand tag line; there’s gospel-centered cooking, hunting, skateboarding, every activity suddenly is gospel-centered. I’m sure one day there will be gospel-centered cereal! Now there are groups of gospel-centered singles, parents, families and kids.
While the intention is good, it misses the point of true Christianity. Gospel means the act of heralding the good news; it’s giving a message. To say we are gospel-centered is the same as saying we are message-centered. Indeed, we are not message-centered, we are Jesus-centered; He is the center of all we are, do and say. We are not raising message-centered kids, that’s what consumerism does. We are raising Jesus-centered kids. We are not becoming message-centered followers; we are Jesus-centered disciples.
This is the point Jesus is illustrating here with the parables of the kingdom. When Jesus sowed the seed of the kingdom, He sowed Himself into His disciples; that He might grow within them, live in them, be expressed within them. He is the seed and in the seed is divine life. When we speak of the seed of the gospel, we mean that Jesus Himself is the gospel.
The kingdom of our culture gives us a message of external happiness, but is devoid of anything life-giving. The kingdom of Jesus is very different, because it’s born and grows in the inner life.
Here, in Mark chapter 4, the gospel is not just a message, but the seed of life sown into the heart of a person. Whenever we preach the gospel we are offering the life of Jesus Himself to those who listen. When a person receives the gospel, they receive the seed of Jesus, the seed of life and is born again.
A brief biblical survey of the growth and success of the seed begins first in the gospels. As Jesus began to preach and teach, He was sowing Himself into others. The seed of the kingdom passed through a process of development within the disciples for three and half years. As a result, at Pentecost, the kingdom of God was present with the disciples, there having been a period of time for the seed to grow. Then in Acts, we see the seed has taken root and is now spreading to more and more people. Thousands were raised up having received the seed, they themselves could sow it to others. Further, in the epistles, the seed grows, develops and matures blossoming into the church, the community of faith. Finally, in the book of Revelation there is the harvest of the seed. Those who received the seed are the first fruit of the seed of Jesus.
Have you been born again by the eternal seed of the life of Jesus?