Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus teaches about the spiritual depth of people and their reception to the Word of God.

Seeds and Soils

June 8, 2008

Me: I know nothing about farming. I can’t make anything but weeds grow in my lawn. But I get fascinated by people who do understand those things. Some people can make any plant grow. When I walk through the garden section at Home Depot the plants all lean over. (Kimberly’s plant from first grade)

You: Do you have a green thumb or do plants refer to you as the Grim Reaper?

Jesus used the image of seeds and soils as a way to describe to us the Kingdom of God. In the passage we want to look at today we want to examine the seed and then see how it responds in the different soils.


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, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times. Then Jesus said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 4:1-9

Jesus is walking near the lake teaching. In fact, the crowd has grown so large that he finds it necessary to get into a boat and to teach from just off the shore. This shows the growth of Jesus’ reputation as a teacher.

Jesus taught in the language of the people of his day. When he was speaking to fishermen he used fishing to make a point. Now, he is talking to farmers.

Seed was spread in a broadcast manner. It was just thrown out by hand wherever the farmer felt it should go. The seed was spread before the plowing was done. If the plowing got delayed, there were all types of results that could happen.

The emphasis here is on the sowing of the seed.

Jesus came to sow the seed of the Kingdom of God to humanity.

This part of the text begins and ends with a warning to pay special attention. The implication is that if you do not pay attention, you may miss the point.

The first part of the passage is all about the fact that Jesus came to spread the message of God to everyone. However, only those who paid special attention would receive the message and act upon it.

Kingdom knowledge without life application is useless.

Jesus wants everyone to receive the message, but in order to do so, we must be willing to tend to the seed that is sown in our lives.

So, how does the relationship to where the seed falls and the soil make any difference in my life?

Jesus points out that there are four options for what happens to the seed.

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! 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—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown. Mark 4:10-20

The seed sown on a hardened path will disappear.

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