The Parable of the Sower
|| - parable
|| = story told to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth
|| - mashal
|| = similitude, proverb
|| - parabole
|| = similitude
Spiritual concepts, designs, structures and realities are often misunderstood by us
mortals, simply because they are invisible to the human eye. Messiah knew this and
used parables to unveil and explain “things which had been kept secret
from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13: 35) Indeed he
never preached a sermon without using a parable. (verse 34) To the spiritually
‘blind’ the parables were at best ‘mystifying
tales’ of little value. But to those with spiritual ‘eyesight’
they were visual aids, dramatic word-pictures of real life truths. Parables
unlock spiritual mysteries hitherto beyond the believer's comprehension. Virtually
every good teacher the world over uses ‘parables,’ ‘
illustrations’ and ‘visual aids’ to put across
his/her lessons. So effective was this method of preaching that when the Saviour
had finished one great session of parabolic instruction he asked this question:
||51: “Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.”
1. The Sower
He went forth
The Master Sower is the Saviour; (see verse 37) but in this parable
other sowers (Apostles, ministers, missionaries, ordinary believers etc) are
also involved in sowing. They too go forth, go out of their way, to sow.
Sowing requires knowledge, will, effort, endurance and seed.
The good sower has all these.
||3: “Behold a sower went forth to sow.”|
(Behold: look, see, turn your attention to/he went out of his way)
He sowed unsparingly
On the wayside, stony places, among thorns and on good ground.
There are no reservations here, but with deliberate tread the sower works,
ensuring that every piece of land within his reach is covered with seed.
2. The Seed
The Word of God
|| When one heareth the Word of the Kingdom ...
|| ... the same is he that heareth the Word ...
|| ... persecution because of the Word
NOTE: From these verses we can see the good seed is the Word of God,
especially as it relates to the Kingdom of God. How little is heard
these days about the Kingdom
of God. Preachers must also beware of sowing 'corrupt seed,'
'counterfeit seed,' 'seed mixed with tares,' seed that is not based on the
Real Word of God.
3. Four Types of Soil / People
Many souls fail to understand the message of the Kingdom of God in the
Word of God. To them it is a mystery: deep, irrelevant and not worthy
of much attention. Before the sacred seed can germinate in their minds
it is snatched away by the Evil One. It is forgotten.
|| Some seeds fell by the wayside.
|| These are those who hear the Word of God and understand it not.
The Stony places
This, sad to say, is a common occurrence in the church. It needs little
if any explanation. People give up productive work in Yahweh's field
for all kinds of trivial reasons. But the most common is that they
are offended because of tribulation and often by a lot less.
So be on your guard and do not let offenses blight the harvest
in your life. If your spiritual roots go deep you will not whither
when tribulation arises because of the Word of God.
||5: “Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth.”
||20: “The same is he that heareth the Word and anon with joy receiveth it.|
21. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by they are offended.”
The Thorny ground
This is also a sad situation for a soul to get into: poverty on the
one hand, and riches on the other. Look about you in this world
and you will see how prevalent these two conditions are. Extreme poverty
on the one hand and unhealthy wealth on the other. Are they not choking
||7: “Some fell among thorns and the thorns sprung up, and choked them.”
||22: “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and he becometh unfruitful.”
The Good Ground
||8: “But other seed fell into good ground.”
||23: “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that:
- heareth the Word
- and understandeth it
- which also beareth fruit
- and bringeth forth some an hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty.”
4. Self Analysis
Broadly speaking the parable of the Sower is telling of 4 types of people.
These have been explained. Looking deeper we detect 4 types of
responses to Yahweh's Word; responses which can and often do
exist in even the best of believers.
This is the only response to Yahweh's Word that will win His favour. If you do
these things you will bear fruit. Sometimes 100 fold: on other occasions
60 fold or even at worst 30 fold. Can you find a farmer who is
producing harvests as bounteous? The benefits of investing in the things of the
spirit are incalculable. No earthly business project comes anywhere near the
above mentioned gains.
- I cannot understand the message
This is when a truth from Yahweh's Word is heard and not immediately
understood. No effort is made to investigate, examine and discuss the
message. Because it is not easily grasped, (or perhaps even feared)
it is quickly rejected without further investigation. Are you -
on occasions - guilty of responding to the Word in this way?
Do you reject a truth simply because you cannot understand it?
Or are you like the ancient Berean believers who with all readiness
of mind searched the Scriptures daily? (Acts 17: 10-11)
These are important questions because they classify your response
to the Word of God. Beware of the wayside mentality, the
one that rejects truth because investigation may prove too much of
- No staying power
This reaction to truth is very common. Believers rejoice when new truth
is presented. They are thrilled with it; but it isn't long before they
are offended. Like marriages that break down, their love for truth
collapses at the first difficulty, they become offended and give it all up.
They bear no fruit because they have no staying power, no spiritual
stamina or depth of soil.
- Reacting to circumstances
This condition - economically or spiritually - can be extremely dangerous.
I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing
(Revelation 3: 17) is a common reaction to the Word these days; but it is
a fatal one.
Or, I’m too poor to produce any results; it's
easy for the rich folk. These believers forget the fact that spiritual growth
is much harder to achieve for the rich than for the poor.
||24: “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
- Bearers of fruit
This is the only praiseworthy reaction to hearing the Word of God. No matter what His message
may be, when it drops into the soil of your mind,
- Examine it and make every effort to understand it
- Prove it against the whole of the Scriptures
- And when you are sure that it is the Word of the Most High, then obey it.
In the Son’s Name - For the Father’s glory.
Elder: Max W. Mader