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, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him 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 parables12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
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. 16Others, 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. 18Still 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—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Sometimes we undervalue the importance of a good foundation of our faith in Jesus.
Look at the disciples in this passage. We see that they are so confused even though they’ve spent a bit of time with Jesus already. You can say that their understanding on Jesus’ parables was limited could be down to their lack of foundation of their discipleship with Jesus.
Jesus is very clear in the second half of the verses. Let’s look at each situation:
Those who have the Word are snatched by Satan (v15a)
Does this imply that the reason for unbelief is purely down to the diabolic deception of Satan? I don’t think so. If the seed was sown on to ground that would cover them up and hide them from birds, the seed could indeed grow. Yet the seeds here are sown onto unprepared land which nothing can grow on it. This leads to openness to birds. Likewise if we receive the word and do not prepare our hearts to receive God’s word or value it and cover it up, then indeed Satan will snatch it up and there will be no growth. We must be prepared to receive the Word. Do not let let God’s Word come to you to an unprepared heart.
Those who have the Word and have no root (v15b-17)
The implications here are real and obvious. I will use a secular example: say if you want to be a good mathematician but you cannot understand the basic number system, how far will you get? Faith in Jesus requires a strong root and foundation. Failure to do so will make our spiritual growth week and vulnerable to tough times. if we don’t have a good root in our faith in Jesus, there is no hope when times of suffering (which has been warned to us all so well in 1 Peter 3:12-19) spring up and attack our faith in Jesus. So have a good root in the Bible and faith in Christ.
Those who have the Word and are choked by thorns (v18-19)
Some of us will become very successful and have great careers. This is a good thing since we can give our successes to the glory of God. A bad thing that can happen, however, can these things can deceive us and make us worry. Other desires may come and choke the Word that has grown into us. Consequently we don’t grow and become unfruitful. So it becomes important to weed out things that choke our faith in Jesus. We must cull things that draw us away from the hope of Jesus.
Those who have the word and produce a crop - thirty, sixty, or even hundred times what was sown. (v20)
Faith in Jesus with good roots, prepared hearts and protected lifestyle will always lead to fruitful harvest. There’s no telling how much harvest. It’s obvious some of us will be more fruitful than others but the focus is that we are fruitful regardless on the crop size. So we must ensure that the Word of God is received on a prepared heart. Let’s make sure we are rooted well in the faith in Jesus and let’s make sure that things don’t distract us from the hope we have in Jesus. There will be no doubt God will make us fruitful in living lives giving him all the glory!