“Hear then the parable of the sower…”

Matthew 13:18 (scroll down for the full parable text)

God’s encouragement for us…

The Parable of the Sower demonstrates to us how God always makes the first move! Jesus doesn’t say we must become good soil before God will sow the words of His kingdom to us. He sows His word to everyone because He so loves the world…(John 3:16). God’s promise that He loves us is a beacon of hope meant for everyone.

At various places in Jesus’ journey with me, the Holy Spirit has shown me how He worked my soil for His purpose:

  • When the seeds of faith that were “sown to my path” as a child were snatched away (when I stopped attending worship services as a pre-teen), He responded by steadfastly pursuing me and intervening in my life in order to lead me home to Him.
  • When I made my heart “rocky ground” full of anger over my family’s struggles, He did not leave me in that state. Instead, He showed me how He loves and forgives us all, how our baptisms into His kingdom saves us all, and how the Holy Spirit that now indwells us will teach us all.
  • When I “choked out” His seeds of faith by choosing worldly ways over His ways—and experienced great sorrow because of my choices—He responded with patience. He never turned away from me. When at long last I was ready to understand the truth of the Gospel—the forgiveness of my sins—He welcomed me home.

It was so surprising to realize all the experiences of my life, even my worst moments, became part of the “good soil” Jesus speaks of. My poorest choices showed my need for the forgiveness that only Jesus can provide. Once I understood how great His love is, surrendering to Him and listening to Him led me to the greatest blessing of all, sharing the “word of the kingdom” with others. My deepest prayer is this sharing will bear fruit, yielding a hundredfold for Him!

Full Scripture Text: Matthew 13:1-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

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Image: pastel drawing by Robin Lybeck: First God Sows

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