The Parable of the Sower

Mark 4: 1-20

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. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! 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, so that they did not bear grain.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  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 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. 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. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 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. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 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. 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.”

Two thoughts here.  First, can we choose what kind of soil we are?  I believe we can.  Why else would one of the soils be rocky, full of the cares of the world?  Everyone has cares and troubles in this world – maybe some more than others.  The questions is: do we allow those to choke out God’s Word?  Or do we make His Word, His Truth more preeminent in our lives?  Psalm 34:3 (ESV) says, ” Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”  Magnify means to make bigger.  How can you make God any bigger than He already is?  We can put our focus on God, Who He is and what He says… and make Him and His Word bigger than our problems.  He is Faithful to His Word and more than capable of handling the problems we give to Him.

Secondly, is it fair of God to give the secrets of the kingdom only to a few people and not to others?  Let’s look again at the Word.  Jesus said, “…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 …”  Who is the “them?”  He was talking to His disciples.  Who can be a disciple of Jesus?  Anyone who chooses to follow Him and learn of Him!!!  If someone is looking at this … maybe from an intellectual or skeptical point of view … it will not make much sense.  It may even sound foolish.  Choosing to follow Jesus doesn’t erase all questions, or even all doubts.  But it does mean that we know He is True and Right… and much smarter that us.  Not only is God Good, but we know from Numbers 23:13a that “God is not man that He should lie.”  (ESV)


For more on this parable, see my post What is Growing in OurHearts      


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