The Parable of the Sower
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
v13 – This parable is a very unique parable because it is a key for understanding other parables. Thus, Jesus explains it and not all the other parables.
- The four soils represent four different ways people respond to God’s message. Usually we think that Jesus was talking about four different kinds of people. But he may also have been talking about (1) different times or phases in a person’s life, or (2) how we willingly receive God’s message in some areas of our lives and resist it in others. For example, you may be open to God about your future, but closed concerning how you spend you money. You may respond like good soil to God’s demand for worship, but like rocky soil to his demand to give to people in need. We must strive to be like good soil in every area of our lives at all times.
- We learn something else here: It is by preaching that the seed is sown. You can study the seed, categorize the seed, analyze the seed, know the seed, or even love the seed. But if you don’t sow it, nothing will grow.
v14 The farmer sows the word – 1 Peter 1:23 also says that the word of God is like a seed – “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
v15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
- “There are some that hear the word, but never meditate upon it, never lay it to their hearts, never cover it with second thoughts.” (Poole)
- “Hard hearts must be ‘plowed up’ before they can receive the seed, and this can be a painful experience (Jeremiah 4:3; Hosea 10:12).” (Wiersbe)
v16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
- What is your root or foundation? This related to Matthew 7:24-27. We need to not just hear the word but also put it into practice. Then, our spiritual life is built on strong foundation. Otherwise, our spiritual life is built upon weak foundation. It is okay during good and happy times, where you receive a lot of love, encouragement, care, attention and needs were met. But when needs were not met, problems and persecution, that spiritual house(life) cannot survive.
- Who is the root? It could be your family, or your Christian friends, or your pastor. Those can be the secondary but the main root should be Jesus Christ as Colossians 2: 6-7 says, “6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”