A ‘parable’ is a story that Jesus told to illustrate a spiritual truth. In Matthew Chapter 13 of the Bible we have a number of these. The first is about a man sowing seed by the old hand broadcast method.
The seed represents the Word of God, and especially the message of the Gospel of God’s loves for us all (Gospel means ‘good news’). The ground the seed fell upon illustrates human hearts and their different reactions to God’s message.
The Seed fallen on the hard pathway
In this parable, some seed fell on a pathway that was trodden hard by human feet, and because the seed was exposed, the birds came and devoured it. Jesus here teaches that some hearts are hardened by the human philosophies of this world, such as atheism, evolution and other views, both religious and secular.
This type of person does not understand the message. The birds represent the devil and his agents who catch away the Word of God’s love, so that person rejects the good news.
The Seed fallen on stony ground
Some seed fell on stony places where the soil was shallow. It began to grow but was scorched by the hot sun and died because its roots could not penetrate the rock to draw moisture. Here Jesus taught that some people at first receive the good news with joy, but because it really does not take root deeply in their hearts, when troubles and times of testing come, they no longer believe.
Many have said, “Why did God allow this to happen, I no longer believe in Him”. So God is blamed for everything bad, and man is praised for everything good! But the Bible teaches that man is responsible for his actions, and bad things happen because the whole creation is affected by sin. If the Word is deeply rooted in our hearts, God will give grace to help us through all of life’s circumstances.
The Seed fallen among thorns
Some seed fell among thorns which choked the young wheat plants. Jesus explained that the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word in some hearts, and so there is no evidence of fruitfulness by way of changed lives.
Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven and not on earth; and that we can trust Him with all our cares and that we should not be anxious over anything. We need to trust Him and place Him in control of our lives for this to happen. We will one day leave our cares behind and we cannot take money to heaven.
The Seed fallen on good ground
But some seed fell on good ground and brought forth a harvest. Here are people who hear the Word of God, believe it, and it changes their lives for ever and for the better.
The Gospel message is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). It tells us that God loves us, but not our sin, and that His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. He became our substitute and sin-bearer under the judgement of God, and now God can justly forgive all who receive His message by faith.
So Jesus is the Sower, the good seed is the Word of God, and the various types of ground are human hearts and their reaction to the Gospel message. Jesus meant this parable to be very searching of our heart condition before Him. Heaven is only open to those who hearts are softened by repentance over their sin, and who also put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
Written by Albert Fairweather
Series: Parables of Jesus “The Sower and the Seed “
Photo by M.E.Head