Summary: The parables of Jesus are given in three of the Gospels; John is the only Gospel that doesn’t record any of His parables. Jesus used things that people were familiar with as the subject for the parables.
Harmony of the Gospels
By Sea of Galilee
(27) Famous Parables of Sower, Seed, Tares, Mustard Seed, Leaven, Treasure, Pearl, Net, Lamp
The parables of Jesus are given in three of the Gospels; John is the only Gospel that doesn’t record any of His parables. Jesus used things that people were familiar with as the subject for the parables. In the first three, He used farming as the theme, and He talked about sowing seed, the types of soil and the weeds which choke the grain. You need to understand what the seed, soil and weeds, and so forth, are symbols of, before you can understand the message. And by the way, the message is also for us today. In the Old Testament, Joel used the symbolism of the harvest to illustrate God’s judgment of the wicked.
Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.--Joel 3:13 (KJV)
This verse is talking about God’s judgment of the wicked; His wrath. When their wickedness has fully matured, He will encourage them to destroy one another. God doesn’t cut off the wicked at once, but waits until their wickedness is at its worst. In that way, we can see that He is long-suffering with those who have abused His justice for so long. In Genesis 15:16, we are told that God waited for the iniquity of the Amorites to come to its full ripeness, But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. God waited until, in His opinion, they had been given enough opportunities to repent and turn from their evil practices to faith in Him, and then He dealt with them. Have you ever met or heard of an Amorite? I don’t think so, because God removed them from the earth. In Revelations, we are told of God’s final judgment upon the earth, and He uses the symbolism of the harvest here also.
15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Rev 14:15-19 (KJV)
Here in these verses, through the symbolism that John used, we get a picture of the wrath of God, applied to unrepentant men. Notice that it is a harvest, and what is being reaped-mankind. There will be an end to God’s patience. I’m thankful that I will not have to stand against the wrath of God, because I have placed my faith in the Son of God.
The Parable of the Sower
The first parable that we will look at is the “Parable of the Sower”; it is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.