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THE SOWER, THE SOILS, AND THE SEED



 

“Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. He taught them many things in parables” (Mark 4:1-2). As throngs of people sought Him, Jesus turned a Galilean fishing boat into a pulpit. Bobbing gently on the water, Jesus sat at the stern of the little skiff and told stories.

 

One story is recorded by Matthew (13:3-9), Mark (4:1-9), and Luke (8:4-8). Uniquely, Jesus’ explanation of the parable is also recorded by all three Synoptic writers (Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:13-20, and Luke 8:9-15).  Here’s the story…

 

“The sower … went out to sow” (Mark 4:3). The first-century farmer didn’t have diesel-powered John Deere mechanization that is capable of planting vast acreages in a day. He had a sack of seed slung over his shoulder. With a handful of seed, and a practiced flip of the wrist, he’d broadcast the seed this way and that way. As he slowly walked up and down the small patch of cultivated land, he’d attempt to get a fairly uniform covering of seed.

 

As he cast the precious seed, he invariably threw a few kernels of seed toward the pathway where it was soon “trampled on, and the birds of the sky devoured it” (Luke 8:5). “Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep” (Matthew 13:5-6), and some “seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit” (Mark 4:7). As planned, much of the seed “fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times” (Mark 4:8).

 

Jesus’ story wasn’t much more than a simple description of what his audience already knew. So, if Jesus wasn’t giving a lecture on common agricultural practices, what was his point? “His disciples asked him, ‘What does this parable mean?’ ” (Luke 8:9).

 

First, Jesus explained, “the sower sows the word” (Mark 4:14). The sower could be a preacher or teacher, an evangelist or Sunday School teacher, a father or a friend. Regardless, the seed is the Gospel, the truth of the Resurrected Redeemer, the living and powerful Word of God! “The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). “And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:20-22).

 

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”(2 Corinthians 4:4). Some “are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18). Some seeds germinate. Some do not.

 

When the Gospel is received by faith, it is like seed sown on good ground” (Mark 4:20) producing a rich, bountiful, and eternal harvest, “a hundred times what was sown” (Luke 8:8).

 

Jesus said, “by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20, NKJV). So, I ask, has the seed sown in your heart germinated? Is it producing fruit? Are you producing a harvest?




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