Summary: An alternate interpretation of the sower and seed parable is offered.
Binding the Strong Man – A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus authored by Ched Myers is a fascinating look at Jesus' life and His words. It is an entirely different method than the usual Christian commentaries. The story of the sower of the seed is always seen as a spiritual parable. It can be viewed as a spiritual parable and has been viewed that way for 1900 years. However, there is another view of it: to see it as the ways to influence political and cultural change in society.
Most scholars agree that Jesus wanted to change the socio-political ways of His society. The preceding narrative about the "new" family and the blood family's abandoning demonstrates his desire to change his culture. Therefore why not examine the sower parable from a societal point of view. When that is done, the sower parable talks about how to bring cultural change to society. It also instructs us to be patient. Ched Meyers called it "revolutionary patience."
Taking this into mind, I have developed the metaphorical meaning for each of the four seedings. Each represents the ways to change society and its results. There are probably additional ways to define seedings. Perhaps this discussion of my thoughts will influence you to see the parable politically. I realize that there will be readers who have already shut down because viewing this parable as a political statement goes against everything they were told in church. Put aside the church's answer to the meaning of this parable. The beauty of the parable is that it can have multiple meanings. Jesus was the grandmaster of parable creation. His parables were intended to have multiple meanings. So, here is my metaphorical explanation of the parable of the sower of the seeds.
The seeds that fell on the ground and were eaten by the birds are the people that are used as cannon fodder. These are people whom the politicians consider the lowest class of society, in other words, the peasants. They do not care about the peasants because there were plenty of them. These types of persons would never rise against the government, no matter how much they were oppressed.
The seeds on the rocky ground are the people who showed some concern for what the government was doing to them. They would rise up to voice an objection bought when the government pushed back; they would quickly back down. Their conviction for change and reform was not something they would lay their lives down for.
The seeds that grew and the thorns got to them is similar to the rocky ground except that the seeds back a strong backbone and caused an insurrection. They raised their objections but did not back down when the government pushed back. They raised arms against the government. The thorns were the soldiers that the government sent to meet the insurrectionists and to kill them.
The seeds that fell on good ground and grew tells us that Yeshua wanted us to understand that patience is the key to a revolution. Whether that change is a religious reform or political reform to the culture, it requires patience. For Judea's local government, politics and religion were linked together. Yeshua knew that He was not going to influence Rome directly. Do not forget that the influence of Yeshua's movement eventually did touch and change Rome. Consider the seeds as an influence. When would the influence of reform work? It takes time because the changes must be gradual as not to upset the political or religious machine. People, in general, are not fans of change. Forcing change on people does not work. Rather subtle change does work. That requires patience, which is something that most of us do not have.
All institutions have a bureaucracy that does not like change. The institution's leaders like the way things are running because it makes life easier and because they like it. In the church today, people do not like change. People who enter the church and try to change it become like seeds on rocky soil. The congregational leaders will get that new person and their new ideas tossed out of the church before spreading their insurrection to the old ways. This attitude toward change is what is causing so many mainline churches to close their doors. Change is something that is all around us. Today it is running at a faster pace than ever before. Maybe it is time to allow the seeds of ideas to hit the fertile ground. This acknowledgment means the church needs to let new ideas and methods to flourish rather than swatting them away.
PATIENCE is the keyword when dealing with reform or change. Revolutionary change can take more than one generation. There will be a time when the seeds of change will find good soil, and change will happen. Jesus tells us to have patience by working within the system in order to influence it.
May the LORD bless you in your learning and studying of His Word.