Wed, January 12
Daily Verse and Comment
And Jesus spoke to the masses in parables…
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Before Jesus interpreted this parable about the Sower, He drew His disciples away from the crowd.
They said to Him,
“Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Jesus answered them,
“To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have 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 hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly 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” (Matthew 13:10-17).
[This next sermon series, the third of Jesus’ five Mosaic-like sermons, is filled with parables or stories with a deeper meaning about the kingdom of heaven.]
3 And so Jesus began to teach. On this day, He spoke in parables. Here is His first parable:
Jesus: Once there was a sower who scattered seeds. 4 One day he walked in a field scattering seeds as he went.
Some seeds fell beside a road, and a flock of birds came and ate all those seeds.
5 So the sower scattered seeds in a field, one with shallow soil and strewn with rocks.
But the seeds grew quickly amid all the rocks, 6 without rooting themselves in the shallow soil.
Their roots got tangled up in all the stones. The sun scorched these seeds, and they died.
7 And so the sower scattered seeds near a path, this one covered with thorny vines.
The seeds fared no better there—the thorns choked them, and they died.
8 And so finally the sower scattered his seeds in a patch of good earth. At home in the good earth, the seeds grew and grew.
Eventually the seeds bore fruit, and the fruit grew ripe and was harvested.
The harvest was immense—30, 60, 100 times what was sown.
9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus’ first parable to the multitudes concerns a sower and his limited success in receiving fruit from the earth.
Recognizing the context and audience reveals that this parable was a rebuke of the nation.
It testified of the citizens’ inability to receive “the word of the kingdom” (verse 19)—the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It aptly describes what John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles experienced in the first century.
They saw within the people some interest—and even some willingness—to repent (after a fashion) and to be baptized, but there was little depth because their hearts were so far from their King.
In three out of four scenarios in the parable, the ground produced nothing of value.
Only the good soil—“he who hears the word and understands it” (verse 23; emphasis ours)—bears fruit.
All the types of ground receive the Word, but God prepares the soil only of some.
The masses lacked ears to hear, despite claiming Abraham as their father.
They looked for a messiah who would improve their political condition while leaving their religious system and moral state unchallenged.
We see this even within the context of the Parable of the Sower.
The critical factor is whether the “ground” heard and received the “word of the kingdom”—that is, whether God had given those hearing the Word the means to respond properly.
In Jesus’ explanation of the parable to His disciples, He refers to the multitude before Him when quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:
“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have 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 hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
The people to whom He gave the parables were fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.
They were living proof of the truth in this first parable—they could not receive the truth.
In contrast, He had prepared His disciples to hear and respond properly.
They were the good soil that would yield an increase (Matthew 13:16-17; see John 15:1-17).
— David C. Grabbe
Let us each prepare the soil of our hearts so that we may receive the FULL GOSPEL MESSAGE of our Lord into our hearts, that His seed of Truth may germinate and can grow within us!
Come join the Adventure!