Jesus began teaching in this passage in a nontraditional way. He often used stories and real-life examples to share biblical truth. He taught from a boat while His listeners stood on the shoreline. He used common things that everyone understood to illustrate heavenly thoughts. Oh that the church would stop trying to “impress” others with its knowledge; or that we could remove the fear of someone knowing more than us when sharing God’s word! To speak with great swelling enticing and impressive words, does not glorify God. If anyone cannot understand what we are talking about, recognize the point of the message, or see Jesus in the telling, that ability that we are so proud of, produces nothing. As we study, let's recognize the simple sincere truths that Jesus reveals as he interprets his parable of the Sower and the Seed.
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
In the previous chapter, Jesus had healed a lame and blind gentleman on the Sabbath day. While the religious leaders sought to destroy Jesus, the common people recognized that He was sent from God. Crowds gathered. The transformation that Jesus causes in our lives, will change hearts and draw a multitude. The promise of a true relationship with Jesus will always leave you (as it did them), wanting to hear more.
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And 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 other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Everyone at this gathering understood the significance of sowing seeds, it was a common experience. They have seen it or done it. Some commentators have suggested that this should be the parable of the soils and not necessarily the seeds. It is a parable of the hearts. There is a sower, Jesus. He sows liberally and without respect to the person (the soil). The seeds are all good, they are the word of God. There is no mention of bad seeds. Scripture graciously interprets this parable for us. The sower scatters intending to reap a harvest. Jesus reveals truth, the truth, that is the same for everyone. The variable is how that truth will be received. Jesus explains to his disciples that he is using this simple, parable or method of teaching, to hide meaning from those who refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit. To those who will hear, God’s truth will be revealed. Jesus is challenging the hearers. What they hear and how they choose to respond - is up to them. God help us to always be open to the hearing of your word. Take away our arrogance and pride and let the Holy Spirit, prepare our hearts, open our minds, direct our lives. What will you do with what you hear from God’s word? Ask yourself where is my heart? What kind of soil or mixture of soil are you?
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
We spend a lot more time seeking to be understood instead of seeking to understand. Satan desires to snatch the word of God out of our minds, before we have had the time to think and apply it. If the hearer doesn’t do his/her job by diligently surrendering his/her mind to God’s word and asking God to help them to understand, they may rest assured that Satan will most certainly do his job by snatching it away and replacing it with worthless and distracting thoughts that will keep them occupied until they have forgotten all about the truth. The ground that the seeds fall onto is again, the heart of the listener. The seeds have landed on the way side, presumably a walkway or a place not presently suited for planting. Possibly trodden packed down ground. The seed (word of God) never sunk down into the soil to germinate, never made it to change the heart. Tradition, apathy, distraction, pride, disbelief or self-righteousness, cause this ground to hold the word of God at a distance. After a while like the birds that snatch it away in the parable, Satan swallows up the word and prevents it from taking root in the soil.. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.(2 Corinthians 4:3-4). And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
No doubt many in that seaside crowd were joyful to finally hear the words of the miracle worker. His words were unique and powerful, the problem was they had no root in themselves. When seeds fall on rocky soil the roots run parallel to the ground instead of down into the earth. The hearts that the seed fell on here are interested, but not enough to allow the message to take root. They are filled up with other things. They believe Jesus because they were caught up in a moment of emotion or because the message offered hope in a time of desperation, but they desired a quick fix and not a surrendered life. They may have a situation that they want God to resolve (divorce, illness, finances, etc.). Yet, there was no desire to allow the whole truth of God to take root which would cause them to have to remove the rocks. Sadly, the heart was hardened. Christianity comes with emotions, very good emotions; however emotions cannot replace relationship. Eventually, the shallow belief will be lost when trouble of some kind arises, or they become frustrated with trying to “live right”. They will find the word offensive, and view the church as hypocritical. Anger replaces the joy that they first experienced. Without root, they die. No one that gets to heaven is going to be surprised that they made it. They will have planned for it. Guard our heart, remove the stones, and allow the word of God to reach every part of your life. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
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 soil, or human soil, in this situation is surrounded by thorns not merely weeds but painful thorns. It is fertile ground; it can grow both good seeds and bad. Notice what the thorns are... The cares of the world. For example, our jobs, our families, politics, the business in our lives can be thorns. They are the things which cause us temporal pain, don’t allow them to cause eternal separation because we give them a place to flourish while the word of God is squeezed out. It is very easy to be distracted by the things that hurt us. The deceitfulness of riches, always promises relief but never delivers on that promise. It is human to desire to have more so that we can feel accepted, safe, or valuable to others. Money can’t do any of those things, it’s a tool to be used for the glory of God. Never allow Satan to falsely replace the peace that only God can give with the lies of money. Spiritual fruit is suffocated by distractions and lies that other things will satisfy. If our heart is not nourished, we are a sickly plant without strength or fruit. There isn’t enough room in our lives to let both greed and Christ have a place. One will choke out the other. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.(1Timothy 6: 6-11) We know it, we hear it and yet we cause our own pain by ignoring the warnings. We don’t have to keep up with anyone. God is sufficient and knows our needs. b Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.(Proverbs 30:8-9)
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, some thirty.
Finally, we see what the word of God is intended to produce. The hearer has sought to understand, and has not allowed distraction to steal away the opportunity. The roots have grown deep, because the rocks in the soil are gone; this is not an emotional response, but a surrendered life. Finally, enough room has been made by removing the idols that fight for first place and the word of God is flourishing. The result is a bountiful harvest. This good ground is ready, willing, and able to receive the seed and the seed contains everything needed to produce fruit. Good ground is maintained. All the things that caused the other soils to fail have to remain cleared out of the good ground. By prioritizing our relationship with God and focusing our attention in worship of Him we produce as He intended. There is no limit on how much He can do in us. Some will produce more than others but all produce and bring forth fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26).
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!