Summary: The third in a series on the parables given by Jesus in the Book of Matthew
The Three Soils: (Parables of Matthew Part Three)
Text: Matthew 13:1 – 23
About three weeks ago we started looking at the parables that we find here in the Gospel of Matthew. We took a break from it last week for Mother’s Day, but now were back to it. And if you noticed, when we started this series; we actually looked at the last parable first because that’s the one where Jesus explained to His disciples His purpose and reason for teaching them these parables. He said (just to remind you all) that the purpose of them was to train them for the Kingdom. And He told them that if they get properly trained (in other words, if they become true disciples) they would be like Scribes in the Kingdom.
And I just wanted to remind everyone of that so it would be in our minds as we turn to our text this morning: Matthew 13:1 – 23 (READ).
So the 1st nine verses of our text this morning we see Jesus telling a parable to the crowds who’ve gathered by the Sea of Galilee. And on the outside it seems simple enough – you’ve got a farmer; and he’s scattering his seeds, but his fields have varying types of soil. In verse 4 we see that some of the seeds actually fell on the path next to the field and the birds came along and ate them. In verses 5 and 6 we see that some of the seeds fell on rocky ground… and the idea there isn’t just that there are a lot of rocks in the field (which can cause enough problems) but that there wasn’t a whole lot of top soil and there was limestone or bedrock close to the surface, and since the plants weren’t able to develop deep enough roots they wither and die. Verse 7 tells us that some of the seeds fell on the ground that hadn’t been cultivated or plowed, and there were thorns and weeds. And so the seeds had to compete with the weeds and the weeds choked out the seeds and they died. But then in verse 8 we see that some of the seeds do fall on the good soil, and as I’m sure most of you know… there’s a variety of yields when the harvest comes. Some produce 100% yield, some 60% and some 30%.
But then in verse 9 Jesus says, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Now one of the funnies explanations I’ve ever heard about that verse is that Jesus was talking to corn farmers. In other words, “If you have ‘ears’ of corn, then listen up, this is for you.” And that’s laughable to me, because that’s not what Jesus was saying when He said that. When Jesus says, “He who has ears, let him hear.” That’s a clue for us that more is going on than what’s on the surface… there is a depth of meaning here that is telling us that we need to have some spiritual insight if we’re going to properly understand what Jesus is saying. And this is why the disciples come up to Jesus afterwards and starting looking for explanations. And it’s interesting what they ask Him. Instead of coming up and asking “What does the parable mean?” They instead ask, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” In other words, “Jesus; why do you teach the way you teach?” And what we’re going to look at today is Jesus’ answer to that question, and then next time (Lord willing) we’ll get into the actual meaning of the parable.
So Jesus’ answer: verses 11 – 23 is where we see it. And basically; what Jesus is saying in these verses is: “This is why the Word of God works the way it does in the lives of those who hear it.”
Let’s look at verse 11 (READ). Do you see what He’s saying there? He’s saying that understanding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is not just a matter of logic and reasoning. You see; the Bible teaches us over and over again that when sin entered the world, it not only brought death with it, but it corrupted all of creation, and it corrupted all of humanity… and when I say all of humanity, I not only mean each and every person that has ever lived and ever will live… I mean all parts of our very being. For example: Jeremiah 17:9, Ephesians 4:17, and Titus 1:15 – 16 all teach us that our minds – our ability to think logically and reason… are corrupted by sin and tainted and deceitful. John 3:19 and Ephesians 2:3 tell us that our affections and desires are perverted and corrupted by sin. And John 8:34, Galatians 4:8 – 9, 2nd Peter 2:19, and Titus 3:3 all tell us that even our wills were enslaved to sin.