Mark 4:1-20; Matthew 13:1-23; Luke 8:4-18
PARABLE OF THE SOWER & THE PURPOSE OF PARABLES
Again, by the Sea of Galilee! Gathered around Him a crowd, so He got in a boat so everyone on the shore could see and hear Him. He was teaching parables.
A sower, as he was sowing, inadvertently sowed seed along the path, and the birds came and ate it.
Other seed inadvertently fell on rocky ground without much soil and immediately it began to grow. Since it did not have much soil, the sun scorched it and it withered away.
Other seed inadvertently fell among thorns and the thorns choked it so it could yield no grain.
Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, continuing to grow 30, 60, and 100 times.
Jesus did not explain the parable, but charged them "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." That is convicting to me and I feel I cannot do it on my own accord, but pray to God for help to really hear with my ears and not just listen. May the words sink in, connect wires, and make sense!
When Jesus was alone, the 12 disciples inquired about the parables. Jesus replied, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
They must not have understood because Jesus continues, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?" Jesus wants his disciples to understand his parables first so that they can help the people understand them. If His own disciples do not understand, how can the people?
And then continues to explain the parables. Everyone who is given the Word does not hold onto it. Some fall away from grace because you have no root.
The sower is sowing the Word.
Along the path, "Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them." A farmer throws out seed and it falls on the footpath, hardened by trompling. The birds eat the seed because on a path it would not be covered up with more dirt to protect it. The birds would be satan taking away the Word from one's heart. This listener hears but never comes back to the Word. HARDENED HEART | snatched
In rocky ground, "the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away." Hears, but has little soil! Faith withers under pressure. Growing on rocky ground gives no room for roots. The roots in their heart would be shallow. When the listener first hears, joy fills up the heart thinking it is going to be all sunshine and roses, but when troubles come along, instead of turning to God, one falls away. These seeds are not taken to heart. SHALLOW HEART | scorched
Among thorns, "They are those 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." The listener hears the Word, but has so much else keeping busy with worldly desires that the stuff of the world crowds out time with God. If the Word is heard and does not prove fruitful, nothing has really happened in the heart. PREOCCUPED HEART | choked
Good soil, "the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." The listener hears, accepts, and bears fruit. FERTILE HEART | harvested
We are not called to try to find good soil before we throw seeds (God's Word), but we are called to merely throw seed wherever we can. We should not worry about where it lands because we will never run out of seed. Sow in reckless love. We are not in control of whether or not someone rejects God's Word.
Read hymn: Preach you the Word by Martin H. Franzmann
1. Preach you the Word and plant it home
To men who like or like it not,
The Word that shall endure and stand
When flow'rs and men shall be forgot.
2. We know how hard, O Lord, the task
Your servant bade us undertake:
To preach Your Word and never ask
What prideful profit it may make.
3. The sower sows his reckless love
Scatters abroad the goodly seed,
Intent alone that all may have
The wholesome loaves that all men need.
4. Though some be snatched and some be scorched
And some be choked and matted flat,
The sower sows; his heart cries out,
"Oh, what of that, and what of that?"
5. Of all his scattered plenteousness
One-fourth waves ripe on hill and flat,
And bears a harvest hundredfold:
"Ah, what of that, Lord, what of that!"
6. Preach you the Word and plant it home
And never faint; the Harvest Lord
Who gave the sower seed to sow
Will watch and tend His planted Word.