Parables Part 8 - Sower and Seed
Matthew 13:3-8 & 18-23, “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!...“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Mark 4:3-20, Luke 8:5-15)
This is the most important of all the parables. Let me tell you why. In Mark 4:13 when Jesus was explaining this parable to His disciples we read, “And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” There is something in the theological world known as parabolic constancy. What that fancy term means is that when an object in one parable means something specific, then that object will mean the same thing in every other parable. This interpretive rule allows us to understand all the other parables Jesus taught us. When we understand this parable, which He clearly explained to us, we will be able to understand the other ones. For example, in this parable “seed” we are told represents the Word of God, so in every other parable seed will be the Word of God, the same with birds being a representation of the evil one, and soil being a type of our heart, the sower is always God and/or His Son Jesus, and so on. Let’s dive into this parable.
Soil/Heart # 1 – When someone hears the Word but lacks understanding, the evil one takes that word away and there is no fruitful outcome as the result. As I apply this, it speaks of the person who either lacks all understanding or a willingness to understand, therefore they are not touched by the Word. This person needs their heart softened by the Holy Spirit.
Soil/Heart # 2 – For the second one, the seed falls on stony places, and if soil has a lot of stones it is difficult for a plant to take root. That is what happens to this person, they hear the Word, they receive it joyfully but because there is no root when trials or persecution comes because of their faith they do not endure for long. This is why it is so important to get new believers rooted in the Word of God, in prayer, and in fellowship with other believers. When these things take root in a person’s life they will endure in their faith when difficulties arise.
Soil/Heart # 3 – This person hears the Word of God and it may even take hold, but the cares of this world and deceitfulness of material gain choke out any fruit in this person’s life. There are those who argue this person is still saved, I am not sure I agree with that, but I cannot judge a person’s heart. What I do know is that this person will never experience the purpose filled, abundant life that Jesus has for them. This is why we seek God’s Kingdom first, and let Him take care of everything else (Matthew 6:33).
Soil/Heart # 4 – The fourth soil or heart is the person who hears the Word of God, understands it and there is evidence of it (fruit) in her or his life. This is the person who comes to Jesus and stays with Jesus and it is obvious from their lives that salvation has taken place. This is the kind of soil we want to be, we want to hear and respond to the Word of God and let it change our lives.
I have two closing thoughts. First, there are those who use this parable to say that about one quarter or twenty-five percent of the people who hear the gospel will respond to it positively. I tend to think this is a fair assessment, but you can make up your own mind concerning that. Second, what type of soil are you? This applies to believers as well as non-believers. Do we hear the Word of God and let it take root in our lives and change us from the inside out? Or, do we hear the Word of God and not respond to it? If our hearts are hard, or the cares of the world are keeping us from hearing and responding to the Word the way God wants us to, then we need to repent, check our hearts before God, and let His Spirit and Word have their way in our lives.
Image Borrowed from – Centraldenver.com