Summary: The parable of the sower, or more appropriately the Seed, is a parable about truth and what happens when truth is rejected. Ultimately, it's a parable of encouragement.
We’re going to be in Mark 4 this morning. Most historians agree that the book of Mark, in a sense, is Simon Peter’s autobiography. Mark wrote his epistles based on his conversations with Peter. So, when you read Mark look at how choppy it is. It’s not like the book of Luke which sacrifices few Words in the way it’s written.
What I want you to keep in mind as we read Mark 4 this morning is that Jesus is teaching a kingdom principle. And the people he’s talking to on the shoreline – a lot of them of are farmers. They will understand the parable of the Seed very quickly.
And when you think about the parable of the Seed, when Jesus describes what happens to the Seed, he’s describing what happens to it in real life. So let’s begin with verse one.
(1) And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
(2) And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
So we see here that what we’re about to read is just one of the things that Jesus taught in this sitting. And notice that it says he “said unto them in his doctrine.” Ladies and gentlemen, what we are about to read is doctrine.
(3) Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
“Hearken” and “Behold” – he’s using two Words to communicate that whatever you are doing you need to stop right now and listen to what I’m about to say. Pay attention.
This the first of three “Seed parables” we’re going to read this morning in this chapter. One of three. Now if Jesus is talking about the Seed in three different parables don’t you think the Seed may important?
Notice also that the sower “went out”. This was a purposeful decision. What is my point? When it comes to sowing the Word, it’s not something we do haphazardly. We do it on purpose. And when you do something on purpose you make time for it. It’s not a passing fancy. You make time because you are doing it for a reason.
(4) And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
When a sower sows he reaches into his bag and flings out the Seed. He’s scattering the Seed. He does not go back and plow the ground until later.
(5) fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
(6) But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
(7) And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
(8) And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
(9) And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
(10) And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
(11) And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
(12) That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Now how many of you have read this verse and said it seems like Jesus is trying to keeping something from the people that he wants his disciples to know? Is that not what it sounds like? Jesus tells the disciples “I’m speaking to you in parables because I want you to see and I want you to hear.” Is that not what it sounds like?
I have a question for you. If Jesus is purposely teaching something that he does not want someone to understand, does anyone else have a problem with that? Yes, we should have a problem with that!
In the New Testament it says that “I (Jesus) am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” And in Timothy it says God wants all men to be saved and come a knowledge of the truth.
If this is true, then why does it seem like Jesus is teaching people something he doesn’t want them to understand because he doesn’t want them to be converted or their sins forgiven? Does this sound like Jesus? No. Then, what are we seeing here? Let’s go to Matthew 13, which is the same record, for some clarification.