Summary: In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus warns His audience that although the seed may be good, if it is not sown or planted right, it will not yield what is intended.
In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus warns His audience that although the seed may be good, if it is not sown or planted right, it will not yield what is intended.
Mat 13:1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.
Mat 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
Notice the emphasis that Matthew places on the number of people who were following Jesus. He uses the expressions, “great multitudes” and “the whole multitude.”
“Experts” say that when you are attempting to plant a church you want to “draw a crowd.” Jesus never had a problem drawing crowds and we will see that Jesus wasn’t concerned about crowds, He was concerned about the state of the hearts of the people in those crowds.
Mat 13:3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Mat 13:4 "And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
Palestine, in those days, was literally crisscrossed with fields. The fields were usually long, narrow strips, separated from other fields by paths. The paths between the fields were about three feet wide. They were used by the farmer to access whatever field he wanted. They were also used by those traveling from one part of the countryside to another.
Matthew 12:1 says, “At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.” It was those paths that the Lord had in mind when He talked about the wayside.
The dirt in those paths was packed down from people walking on it and the dryness of that part of the world would compact the dirt to the point where it was like a road. It became as hard as pavement.
When a farmer threw the seed and some of it would fall on that hard surface and would not grow because it could not penetrate the ground. As the farmer was sowing the seed, the birds hovering above him waited for the opportunity to eat any seed that landed on the hard path. Whatever seed the birds did not eat would be trampled by the feet of men that were passing through the fields (Luke 8:5).
Mat 13:5 "Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.
Mat 13:6 "But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.
I can identify with this—When we moved into our house I learned from my neighbor how the builders buried all the boulders, rocks and stones back into the ground. For the longest time I couldn’t get any grass to grow because the roots had a hard time getting established.
But Jesus is not talking about soil with rocks in it, because any farmer who cultivated a field would make sure all the rocks were out. But the land in Israel has strains of limestone bedrock running through it, and in many places this bedrock comes up to within inches of the soil surface.
If the seed landed on that limestone bedrock, it would germinate and try to grow its roots downward, but there was no place for the roots to go. Initially those seeds would spring up faster than the other grain but eventually they died from the heat of the summer, because the bedrock hindered their roots from finding any moisture.
Mat 13:7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
Have you ever planted your vegetables only to discover that something that you didn’t plant grows along with your tomatoes?
What happens is that after the seeds are sown and they begin to germinate, weeds also begin to grow from the roots hidden in the ground and eventually the weeds choke the life out of the flower or vegetable.
The problem is that weeds are natural to that soil; they're at home there. Vegetable or flower seeds are a foreign element in that soil. Because of that, the vegetable has to be cultivated. The weeds eventually choke the vegetable and send out their leaves so that they take up the sun and the moisture.
There's not enough room for both to share the nutrients of that soil. Thus, the good seed dies. This is what Jesus is speaking about in verse 7.
Mat 13:8 "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Here Jesus describes what He calls “good ground.” This soil is soft, deep, and clean.