3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Matthew 13:3-9, NKJV
(See also: Mark 4:3-9 & 13-20 and Luke 8:5-8 & 11-15)
Parable of the Sower
As was discussed in our last devotion, Jesus often spoke to the crowd in parables—stories with a purpose or lesson. In most examples, as is also true in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus not only spoke the parable, but He also gave its explanation. That explanation, however, was usually just given to His disciples.
The parables that Jesus spoke used common occurrences of life, which were familiar to His listeners. In this parable He is speaking of a sower who sows seed. Some of the seed fell by the wayside and the birds came and devoured it. Some seed fell on stony places. Because there was not much earth, the seeds sprang up quickly but were then scorched by the sun causing them to wither and die. Some of the seed fell among thorns so that the thorns sprang up and choked them. Some, however, fell on good ground and yielded a crop—some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
Was Jesus really speaking about seeds and crops, or did the seeds and crops represent something else. We are not left to wonder, for Jesus explained the parable in all three Gospels. Here is His explanation from Mark 4:13-20 (NKJV)
13 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.”
How can we apply this parable to our life in this, the 21st Century. Actually, we see this parable illustrated to us everywhere the Word of God is preached. The Word of God is promiscuously applied throughout most countries of our world. Does that mean that everyone is a Christian? No!
Even in large Gospel preaching churches, the congregation is usually a mixture of believers and non-believers.
Like the Parable of the Sower, when the Word of God is taught or preached, people react in many different ways. Some hear the Word, but Satan comes immediately and steals it out of their hearts. There are others who are like the seeds sown on stony ground. They receive the Word with gladness, but they have no root. So, when trials and tribulations come they stumble and say, “This is not for me!” Those who are like the thorny soil hear the Word, but the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of this world, and their desires for the things of this world choke the Word from their heart.
Is that the end of the parable? No! There are those who are like the seeds sown on good ground. They hear the Word, accept it, and bear fruit. Not all bear fruit at the same rate. Some will bear much fruit (a hundredfold), some a little less (sixtyfold) and some just a little (thirtyfold).
Were these people smarter than the others? Were they more righteous or perfect in and of themselves? No! What made the difference between the reactions of these people? The difference was Christ! When Christ opens the hearts and minds of people, they become like the seed sown on good soil.
Pray today that Christ would open your heart and mind so that you would not only hear the Word of God but that you would receive it gladly. Pray that the cares of this world would not snatch it out of your hearts and minds. Pray, too, that God would richly bless you so that you might bear fruit and share the Gospel to your family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
God Bless You,