”And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.””
Matthew 13:3-9 ESV
This parable is found in the gospel of Mark, Luke and Matthew, the synoptic gospels that derives from the same source. That goes for all parables in this chapter. The only difference is that in Mark you will find an additional parable, the one of “the seed growing”.
”And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.””
Mark 4:26-29 ESV
However these parables are very similar, but Mattew and Luke focus on the ways a person recieves the word, were as in Mark the focus lies on perseverance due to here in the context Pharisees attacking Jesus. But also, that as times pass, the Kingdom is growing even though if we bear fruit or not. Luke and Matthew leans more over to the growing of the Kingdom is dependent on our understanding and soil.
””Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.”
Mark 4:3 ESV
First thing first. A sower needs to go out and sow. If we only would grasp that, what a change in our thinking and mindset as believers we would see.
We have a mission and we need to do it. It is all about sowing. The ground, the response, the fruit, the result, the reaping are all secondary, but sowing should be first. That is was these parables are all about.
Then Jesus continuities:
””Hear then the parable of the sower:”
Matthew 13:18 ESV
”When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.”
Matthew 13:19 ESV
When Jesus outlines the parable, the main topic is? Suprise!! The Kingdom.
Jesus sayes for those that do not understands the revelation of the Kingdom, the evil ones comes and snatches it away.
From this we understands. There are those that grasps and get the revelation of the Kingdom and there are those that do not.
It is the “evil one’s” – Luke clearly sayes “Satan’s focus for human beings to NOT understand the Kingdom Concept”.
Religion is not dangerous for the Evil One, not even Christianity in some senses, but Kingdom Concept. When we as believers understands it fully…then boom!
“Sown along the path…” the greek word for path can mean, “way of thinking”. That our thoughts, preconceptions hinders us to get the understanding.
”As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”
Matthew 13:20-21 ESV
The key word here is “Immediately”.
In an interview with Billy Graham, when a journalist asked about those that got converted but did not stay saved, Billy simply replied, “those where the ones I converted. The ones that got saved and stay saved, Jesus converted”.
There are elements in human psychology that confirms this parable by Jesus. We have this saying: Easy come, easy go.
In a deeper meaning, this is one root cause I believe, why many young believers lose their faith when they get older. Their conversion are in many times built on an experience instead of a revelation and a thought through process. It happens immediately and Jesus is clear what then happens.
Ravi Zacharias argues, the way by how believers find their faith is also what they then are looking for to later confirm their faith. e.g If by emotions, then later needed to be confirmed by emotions. So when suddenly there are no emotions, then the faith will be challenged.
It is also interesting to note that Jesus says tribulation and persecution will come due to the word of the Kingdom. Not due to the Church, the bishop, the pastor, but the word of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom is expanding, and anything that expands meets opposition. Taking ground from the enemy comes with a cost. There isn’t any no-man-land. Bible is clear, Jesus is clear. It is either light or darkness. Nothing in between.
Jesus sayes, this will come, be ready.
”As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Matthew 13:22 ESV
Key here is: Love and deceit of this world.
If I should put myself and all my Christian friends living in the western world, I would say “sowed among the thorns” is the biggest challenge of all.
”For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…”
2 Timothy 4:10 ESV
Like Paul, I have many friends that has chosen what the world offers in contrast to be a Kingdom seeker, a disciple that has the mission of sowing as first priority in life. Yes my friends claim they are still Christians, but the passion is swapped away on the altar of good living.
Jesus is also saying, the Kingdom is not found in the world, but should be sowed into the world.
”Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.””
This is also how the first Christians thought. “In this world, but not of this world”.
John 18:36 ESV
Then finally, the essence of the parable.
”As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.””
Matthew 13:23 ESV
Despite that there are obstacles for the Kingdom to be established, it will grow anyway.
– This is the secret of the Kingdom, it cannot be stopped!
”since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
1 Peter 1:23 ESV
The power is in the seed. It is imperishable. It might stay as a seed for years and years, but when the soil is right, it explodes, up to hundredfold.
Jesus sayes, it cant be hidden? Days and nights go, but its purpose is to grow and affect the whole world.