Summary: Jesus begins to teach in parables.
The Stories of the Kingdom: The Parable of the Sower
Beartown Road Alliance Church
Sunday, July 30th, 2006
Intro: My wife and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this week. I love my wife and am amazed that she has been hanging around with me for as long as she has. Some of you may have noticed, but my wife and I are very different people. It’s not a bad thing. We love to be together and to spend time together, but our tastes and talents are not even close to similar. She has great taste. She is creative and artsy, an HGTV kind of person. I’m not. I have very simple tastes, I’m not overly creative and enjoy art if it has captions and comes in the Sunday funnies; I’m more of an ESPN kind of guy. If you mention the Corning Museum of Glass to us, you get two very different reactions. She lights up and starts to talk about the gift shop and all of the neat exhibits. I on the other hand immediately begin to yawn and to list, in my mind, the 7 million things that I would rather do with my time. We have very different tastes. So I’ve never really understood her fascination with planting things.
When we purchased our home in Ohio, she had a blast yanking out old plants, working with the soil and planting new things. For the most part, everything grew. She turned a boring area into something beautiful with all sorts of flowers and plants. Despite all of her planting prowess, for some reason, when it came to planting grass, this was a man’s job and it was up to me to handle it. I’ve shared with you before that I do not like to rake leaves. One year, I had them all raked into one huge pile and before I could get them to the curb, it snowed. Winter started and by the time things cleared up in March and I cleared the leaves out, all of the grass underneath was dead. We had a small yard and now about 1/3 of it was nothing but dirt. I took control. I got a tiller, I got grass seed, I got straw to cover the seed. I used the tiller for about 45 minutes and was about to give up when my neighbor, who owned it, called over and asked if I had raised the guard up. I told him of course I had and as soon as he left I raised it up and things went much smoother. Once the soil was ready, I planted the seed. This is where it got interesting. The seed was the same, I sowed it very liberally, I watered it regularly and it grew in about half of the places I wanted it to.
Someone explain this to me, I had grass growing up through the concrete in my driveway. Obviously this is some powerful stuff, it could push apart rocks! But I couldn’t get it to grow in some places where the soil had been completely prepared for it. For the next 3 summers I planted and watered and cared for the grass until it finally began to look like a lawn again.
The same seed, each with the potential to grow and flourish, acted differently according to slight differences in where they fell. Some grew and were fine, some grew and died quickly, others never even sprouted. Jesus uses a story that is very similar to this to explain the way that people are and the way that they will respond to the Good News of the Gospel.
Read Matthew 13:1-9
Jesus begins to tell the stories of the Kingdom. We’re told that He told them many things in parables. He told stories to describe what the Kingdom of God was like and what the people should expect. He used things that they were familiar with, weddings, treasures, sheep, and here he uses farming to share spiritual truth in a way that made sense.
The word “parable” “comes from the Greek word “parabole” which literally means ‘putting things side by side’.” A parable is basically when one story is thrown out or lain down beside another story, and the two stories run beside one another. In other words, the two stories are “parallel” to each other. Some will draw one meaning from it, while others will look past that and see a different meaning and story unfold. It was a brilliant way of teaching. But why did Jesus teach like this, why not just lay it all out and explain in great detail with powerpoint and graphs, what He had come to do, and who He was, and what our part was in the whole thing. The disciples wanted to know this as well. Read Verse 10.