Scripture To Consider:
“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 sprung 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!” Matthew 13.1-9

Something To Consider:
It is the usual method of Matthew to secure a heightened effect by massing together material which is of the same character. Thus, we find here a group of parables, as before we have found a group of miracles. These parables are seven in number and arranged in divisions of four and three. They are all closely related and seem to have been delivered on the same day when Jesus had been so cruelly assailed by His enemies and when His rejection by the nation had been so clearly foretold.

The parables relate to the period of time between His rejection and His final return to inaugurate His perfected kingdom. Matthew is not only the gospel of rejection, but it is the gospel of fulfillment, and accordingly it is stated that the practice of Jesus in teaching by parables was in accordance with inspired Old Testament prophecy.

For instance, later in verse 34 and 35; and in explaining to His disciples the reason for His use of parables, Jesus quoted at great length from the prophecy of Isaiah stating that ancient predictions were thus definitely being fulfilled. And the purpose was fourfold. First of all, parables were illustrations which made spiritual truth more plain and clear to the mind of the hearer.

Secondly, parables put the truth in portable form so that it easily could be carried away and remembered. Third, they were designed to avoid offense to those who were hostile and who were not prepared to receive the truth. And fourth, they were used, as Isaiah declared, as a judgment upon those who were willfully blind.

Therefore, parables shrouded the truth from such as lacked spiritual qualifications for its reception. In other words, parables were used by Jesus because so many clay-like hardened hearts were simply closed and off limits to the truth of the gospel.

Again, Matthew is the gospel of the King, and these parables are designated as the mysteries of the kingdom. A mystery, according to New Testament usage, does not refer to something which once was hidden but now has been revealed. The truth of this chapter 13 relates to the kingdom. Therefore, it would be unwise to insist upon an exact definition of this term which would fit all the phrases of the entire chapter.

In some instances, it seems to refer to the will or reign of God; and in others to the society in which the sovereignty of God is recognized, as the Christian church or Christian civilization. It is probably best therefore, to understand the phrase as Matthew commonly employs it, to denote the perfected reign of Christ which is to be established at the end of this present age.

In these parables are found statements concerning the nature, the reception, and the results of the proclamation of the kingdom by the King and His followers of every age and every generation since Jesus spoke these parables. Are we therefore, among the 21st century true followers of Jesus? And if not, why not?

More Scripture To Consider:
“And the disciples came and said to Jesus, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ Jesus 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. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’

“Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see and not perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'”

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: 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.”

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; 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. 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.”

“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.” Matthew 13.10-23

Something Else To Consider:
In the case of the parable of the sower and the seed, our Lord declared that its teaching concerns the Word of the kingdom. The main point of the parable is to show that the effect of the Word of God is dependent on the state of the heart of the person hearing or reading the parable. This parable is sometimes called the parable of the soils, for it illustrates the various spiritual conditions found among men, women, and young people to whom the Word is proclaimed.

In some cases, this Word of the kingdom, whether proclaimed by Christ or His followers, falls on hearts which are pictured by the hard trodden footpath which runs through a field of grain. No possible impression can be made. The Word of God finds no entrance and Satan snatches it away as a bird would pick up the grain which has fallen by the wayside.

Other hearers are compared to the rocky places where a thin layer of earth covers a bed of rock. Seed which falls into such soil springs up more quickly because of the warmth of the underlying rock, but as the roots cannot strike downward; the grain soon withers beneath the glare and heat of the sun. So, there are hearers who receive with enthusiasm the message concerning the kingdom, but when confronted with the persecution and unexpected hardship which the followers of Jesus will and must bear, they quickly desert His cause.

Then there are hearers who are compared to the seed which falls where thorns are growing. It springs into life but has no room for development. Such hearers are so preoccupied by worldly interests, by wealth and pleasure that they can bear no spiritual fruit.

And finally, there are those however, who are likened to good ground, on which the seed of the Word of God falls, and a harvest is provided, thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold. So, there are honest and good hearts ready to receive this Word of the kingdom, to meditate on it, to give their best efforts to its spiritual cultivation and development, until in their lives a golden harvest is produced.

Such a parable is a warning to all who hear or read the gospel message. We need to take heed how we hear. Yet further, it is an encouragement to all who proclaim the Good News. We need not expect that every hearer or reader will be eager for the message, nor that all who accept it will prove true to Christ and His kingdom. We are however, to believe that if we faithfully perform our tasks, the Lord of the harvest will produce results which will bring an infinite reward for both the sower of the seed of the Word of God and the hearer and or reader.

Something More To Consider:
Jesus spoke of four different types of soil or heart conditions spiritually speaking, in our Scripture to consider. Jesus revealed the importance the good soil of an open and receptive heart plays in the proclamation of the gospel message. According to Jesus, on the average, only 1/4 of all who hear or read the gospel good news respond favorably.

This certainly is further evidence that emphasizes Jesus’ mentioning elsewhere of the divine dilemma of the few and the many as it relates to finding the entrance to the kingdom of heaven. And yet, some do and will continue to rightly respond to the Christian call to follow Jesus Christ. Are we among the few true followers of Christ? Or will we among those in the end who will be weeping and gnashing their teeth due to the suffering they will experience for all of eternity?

Though only a few among the many, some seed sown among so many does eventually find its way into the spiritually well-prepared soil of faithful hearts who do more than simply endure only for a while. That in and of itself is good news and something more to consider.

A Few Final Words:
Therefore, we must be prepared but not surprised at the truth Jesus has revealed in this parable of the sower and the seed. In other words, some seed will fall by the wayside and upon the ears of uninterested hearts and minds. Some seed will be sown upon hardened hearts that are unable to endure but for the short-lived joy of something new, and eventually that immediate joy will be exchanged for something of much less hardship, tribulation, and persecution.

Therefore, according to Jesus, the final example of failed seed sowing is the seed of the gospel sown into the soil of overly pre-occupied hearts and minds. The seed sown among the thorny soil of some hearts is uprooted by such earthly concerns as everyday provisions, an ever-increasing desire for more money, more possessions, more prosperity, and more prideful greed which strangles what little spiritual life the seed of the Word of God attempts to produce.

And yet, in the end, these diseased, barren, lifeless soils simply become unfruitful, which is in direct disobedience to Jesus’ command to become and to remain fruitful. In the end, as true born-again enduring to the end believers in Jesus, we must not lose heart; but rather rejoice to be counted worthy to be among the few!

In Closing:
The fact is that some seed yields a heavenly crop even more precious than manna from heaven. Some seed of the Word of God becomes fruitful enough to continue the spiritual multiplication process that will forever enlarge the kingdom of God. Therefore, enduring only for a while is not an option for the faithful few among many true followers of Jesus Christ.

Let’s Pray:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for Jesus’ lesson of a lifetime concerning the sower and the seed parable. Within this life lesson we can immediately determine what type of soil our own individual hearts are made up of. Help us Lord to become and to remain individuals with good hearts full of good spiritual soil that allows the Word of God to become fruitful and to remain fruitful in our lives. Help us to truly endure to the end of whatever as did Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!

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