The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23)


The parable of the sower is about one kind of seed planted in four different soils. In the Bible, soil (ground, earth) is symbolic of the human heart. It’s our heart –the core of our being– that determines which spiritual path that we are on. The seed is the word of God. He plants His word in each person’s heart. The result depends on our response to Him.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”

They ask the same question same question that we do: “Why Lord?” Shouldn’t everyone have insight into what He says so that all will understand and be saved? His answer is hard to swallow; yet it’s still “No!”

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

There are mysteries that He only explains to His own. Similarly, there are secrets that a husband and his wife do not share with the world around them, especially about their intimacy. As His bride –He reveals much to us about His desires and His motives that outsiders will never comprehend.

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The first is a person that most of us have met. He plainly rejects the message of Jesus as Lord –it’s foolishness to him. He has many arguments as to why that simple message can’t be true.

The second is a person who is happy for a time after hearing the gospel. He likes church, the music, the fellowship. He thinks that there will be no significant troubles in life as long as he “believes in Jesus." When God uses troubles to mold and change him, he refuses to be conformed into the image of the Son. He joins the first kind of person, saying that he tried it (believing in Jesus) and it doesn’t really work.

I work with a man who is like the third person. The man’s daughter became a quadriplegic at a young age. The loving father searched for a remedy for the girl’s condition. He heard about the Christians’ God who is compassionate and heals all who come to Him. When her condition didn’t change, the man decided that their God doesn’t really exist –such a God wouldn’t allow this to happen to an innocent child. He considers his daughter to be living proof that there is not a truly loving, healing God. So my friend has shaped a god of his own and goes to a church that supports his belief.

There are many examples of that third person found in our own churches. He has more troubles than anyone can help –health problems –financial problems –family problems –a life of nothing but problems. He comes to a church and gets as much help as he can –effectively draining the pantry of Christian compassion. And he never comes to a trusting relationship with God through His Son. This person says many words about what God has done, but when the local “pantry” can’t continue to fulfill his needs, he moves on to the next church.

The last kind of person is of course the Christian. Here Jesus tells us that we produce fruit –the amount is not significant. It is fruit of the Spirit. By being selfless, His garden can be a rich harvest for others in the kingdom of God. May He richly bless you as you grow in the knowledge of His Son!