Summary: Why did Jesus teach in Parables? What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sower.
The Parable of the sower
When the New Testament was written, communities were agriculturally based. A family would be allocated a section of land to farm. Also, every farmer’s plot was adjacent to their neighbor’s. Also there were no fences to separate the different fields. In order to get to the fields, the farmers would walk along the boundaries bordering each field to avoid stepping on the growing plants. So, all the farmers used the “path.” In the course this path became hardened and became a “footpath,”
In the earlier chapters of Matthew we can see how strong the opposition to Jesus had grown, and how Jesus warned the people of the danger they were in if they rejected Him, their Messiah. Now that their rejection has been officially recorded, Jesus began to teach the people with parables. We shall see why this different style of teaching – parables- was now used by Jesus, as well as how such parables should be studied. This is a large subject, as you could probably guess, but we shall work with some basic principles.
Matthew 13 presents a priceless display of some parables of Christ and also gives His reasons for using parables in His teaching ministry. Best of all, it offers two examples of Christ’s own interpretation of His parables. They give us a snapshot of the history of the kingdom of God from its earliest beginnings to its consummation.
It’s fascinating to read the parables of Jesus because there always seems to be something new that comes from it. That’s how I feel about the parable of the sower.
Take a few minutes to read one or more of the accounts of the parable of the Sower found in:
We read in the text: Matt. 13:1-13
On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat down; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But 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 sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
and seeing you will see and not perceive; 15
for the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
so that I should heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17
or assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
18 Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful, 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”