The Gospel Parables: Parable of the Sower

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The Gospel Parables: Parable of the Sower

“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.’”  Matthew 13:34; Mark 4:33-34; and Psalm 78:2 (A Contemplation of Asaph)

I thought it would be fun to visit the parables with the next several posts…like…maybe break them down into daily devotional readings.  It would only take us a few weeks to tackle all of them, and they are quite interesting.  Come and see!

Let’s start this journey with the definition of the word parable:

par·a·ble

ˈperəb(ə)l/
noun

 a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.  synonyms:  allegory, moral story/tale,fable, exemplum

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And then I think we are all, like the disciples, asking WHY.  Why did Jesus choose to teach with parables?

Matthew 13.10

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Matt 13.10 Printable

“And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’  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…because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.'”  Matthew 13:10,11,13

 

Parables notebookThe following is the list of Parables I found in the gospels:
The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower explained
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares explained
The Parable of Good Seed, Sowed
The Parable of Mustard Seed
The Parable of Hidden Leaven
The Parable of Hidden Treasure
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
The Parable of the Dragnet
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
The Parable of the Two Sons
The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
The Parable of the Fig Tree
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
The Parable of the Talents
The Parable of the Minas
The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
The Parable of the Revealed Light
The Parable of the Rich Fool
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
The Parable of the Great Supper
The Parable of the Lost Coin
The Parable of the Lost Son
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
The Parable of the Unjust Steward
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But today we’re going to start with…

The Parable of the Sower

He who has ears to hear 001

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He Who Has An Ear

Our Bible text is from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  I have included all three versions of the story so we can compare them, and fyi, I happen to use the New King James Version of the Bible, but if you have a version you prefer you are most certainly welcome to read out of your own.  This is one of the longer parables, especially when there is also the explanation, so today’s reading will be a little longer than most of the others.  Are you ready?  Here we go…

The Parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-9 

“On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Mark 4:1-9

“And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Luke 8:4-8

“And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

This being the first parable Jesus told, He graciously took his disciples aside and privately explained its meaning to them.  And bless their hearts, they in turn shared the explanation with us.  I’m very appreciative, aren’t you?

Matthew 13:18-23

“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.”

Mark 4:13-20

“And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Luke 4:11-15

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”

Okay, let’s study it out…

Who are the characters involved in this story?

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What is the setting?

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What is the parable about?

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What are the four types of soil?

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Write everything the scriptures tell us about the WAYSIDE (compare all three stories, for instance there are birds there who devour the seed, the seed is trampled, this soil is likened to what kind of person, trait, or body part? and also, who is it that snatches away what was sown there?):

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Write everything the scriptures tell us about the STONY PLACES:

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Write everything the scriptures tell us about the THORNY PLACES:

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Write everything the scriptures tell us about the GOOD GROUND:

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If you could liken the condition of your heart to one of these soils, which would it be?  Why do you think this?

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Do you think this is a permanent condition, or ever-changing?

I have dabbled in gardening for many years, mostly unsuccessfully.  One thing I can tell you for sure is that almost all garden failure is due to the condition of the soil.  If it is too hot (my husband’s word for too much manure) nothing will grow.  If it is clay it is easy to overwater and cause the plants to rot.  If it has too much sand you’ll waste your precious water trying to keep the plants alive.  Healthy plants need just the right balance of well draining, rich soil, with vital nutrients, proper pH, water, weed control, good bugs, good plant partners, and sun.  It takes some work to get the soil in top condition, keep the pests and critters out, and figure out the delicate eco-system for optimal performance, but once that is achieved gardening is a cinch.  And I am always amazed that one seed planted in the ground will grow a fruit or vegetable that has a whole garden’s worth of seeds in it for next year.  There may be a hundred seeds in a watermelon, or more, maybe five hundred.  A good potato might sprout ten eyes.  And a pea vine might make fifty little pea pods filled with peas.

A good indicator of the condition of the soil of our hearts is the evidence of fruit.

The FRUIT of the Spirit is  (Galatians 5:22-23)

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Gentleness

Faithfulness

and Self Control

If we have these fruits evident in us then we shall be a fruitful vine, and the seed we sow into the cultivated soil of others hearts, and water, will in-turn sprout and grow and become fruitful too!

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“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

 

 

Friend, remember what we’ve studied here together today!  Memorize a verse with me that sticks out to you.  Color the coloring pages I’ve made for you.  Make notes in your journal.  Then let us go out and cultivate some soil today.  

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Prayer:  Precious Lord Jesus, thank you for Your word and for the Holy Spirit whom you gave to me, who helps me to understand what I read in Your word, and gives me the power to live it.  Thank You for cultivating the soil of my heart, watering me, giving me food, loving me, protecting me, and always being with me on this road of life.  Praise you Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Give me the heart for others that You have for them.  Help me to be full of Your Spirit, and fruitful, that one day I may come to Your house with a basket full of fruit to share with You.   In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”  – James 1:22-25

 

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2 responses »

  1. Loved it. Which soil most resembles your heart. Mine is certainly the one with the pesty weeds!! Can’t seem to keep them out of the garden of my heart!

    Like

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