Summary: Parable of the sower and the seed, what soil are you?
The Sower and His Seed
We are back in our series through the Gospel of Luke after taking a few weeks off to do some spiritual remodeling. This series was originally designed to go through the end of the year but recently I realized that would require skipping over a lot of really good material, so we are going to slow things down a bit. Understanding who Jesus is and how He lived is so important I don’t want to rush through this. As Christian our primary focus must always be Jesus. So we are really going to dig deep into His life and get to know Him better. What was originally a 22 week series will now take us more like 60 weeks so we are going to be in Luke for just over a year finishing up next October.
This week we are going pick up in Luke 8:4. We left off with Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee where a sinful woman comes in and anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume. When Jesus leaves He goes on tour traveling from town to town proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. He makes His way back to the town of Capernaum where Peter lives and He begins teaching again. Don’t let the brevity of the transition fool you; Jesus has been busy. He has been healing people, casting out demons, dealing with some family issues. We see Him again out by the Sea of Galilee teaching on the shore. As He is teaching the crowds begin to grow. People are flocking from all over to hear Jesus speak. So as He has before Jesus gets in a boat and goes out onto the water to use the water as a natural amplifier for His sermon.
Jesus is famous for His parables, they are His trademark. A parable is a story or used to illustrate or teach truth. Jesus does not just use parables for analogies. He often uses them to make the main point of His message. Throughout Jesus’ ministry parables will confuse and frustrate the religious people and captivate the hearts and minds of those who are sincerely following Him. This is the first time Jesus entire sermon is a series of parables. From this point on parables will play and dominant role in Jesus teaching.
Lk 8:4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: Lk 8:5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Lk 8:6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Lk 8:7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Lk 8:8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus used parables of everyday life to explain the spiritual reality of the kingdom of God. He makes regular use of certain metaphors in His parables. Masters, fathers, and kings represent God, servants and workers represent God’s children, seed represents the Word of God, and the harvest stands for judgment. In most of Jesus parables there is one main point given to each major character or group in the parable. In Jesus ministry He tells forty parables. He only interprets two. This is one of them. So we know this is an extremely important text. This parable of the sower sets the stage for how we hear everything that Jesus has to say. This parable determines how we will respond to Jesus.
Palestine was an agricultural society. In Jesus day farmers would walk across their fields. As they walked they would grab handfuls of seed from a sack they were carrying and throw it across the ground. Very different from how we farm today. Most farmers in America will spend time planning and organizing the planting process. They will plant seeds in nice organized rows and spaced evenly apart. We plant very strategically in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Their farmers didn’t really care what kind of soil the seed landed on because the more the sowed, they more they could harvest. They wanted to make sure that all the good soil got seeds. The difference between how we plant and how they plant can be seen in the animal kingdom. Most mammals will have a few offspring. They will put a lot of time and resources into protecting those offspring and they have a high success rate. Insects on the other hand will lay a thousand eggs. Of those thousand eggs about eight hundred will not survive to adulthood. In the West we plant like mammals, in the East they plant like insects.