Heavenly Father, bless us as we listen to Your word and be transformed. May the soil of our heart will be fruitful so that Your word will be able to take roots deeply and produce fruits. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Mark 4: 1-20, Parable of the Sower
VV 1-2, ‘’1 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:’’
Jesus taught by the Sea of Galilee. In the last chapter chapter, Jesus’ mother and half brothers thought He was mad. The Jews accused Him of being demon-possessed. Now He spoke to the multitude from a boat, using the boat as a floating pulpit, teaching them in parables. Parable or ‘ ’ parabola ’ ’ in Greek is an earthly story, usually an agricultural story, to explain a spiritual truth. It is a worldly story with a heavenly meaning. One third of Jesus’ teachings were in parables.
VV 3-9, ‘’3 Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
A sower went out to sow seeds. Some seeds fell on the wayside, trodden by feet and eaten by birds. Some seeds fell on stony ground, grew immediately but dried up just as quickly. Some seeds fell among thorns, grew but choked by thorns and yielded no crop. Some seeds fell on good ground, grew healthily and became fruitful.
VV 10-12, ‘’10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”
Parable reveals truth for those who are soft hearted and wants to know spiritual truth. Parable conceals truth to those who are hard hearted and do not want to know spiritual truth. Parable softens some hearts but hardens others. Jesus quoted Isaiah 6: 9-10, ‘’And He said, Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.”
V 13 ‘’And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?’’
VV 14-20 is the key to to unlock the meaning of this parable.
VV 14- 20, ‘’14 The sower sows the word. 15And 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.”
The seed is the word of God, the gospel message. The sower is Jesus, the disciples or Christians, who sow the seed of the gospel message. The soil is the human heart. The human heart is deceitful and unfruitful. Jeremiah 17:9, ‘’The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’’ There are four types of human hearts.
1). Wayside is the indifferent heart, where seeds cannot penetrate and are eaten by birds or satan. They are not open to spiritual truth, stubborn, and will not listen.
2). Stony ground is the emotional heart, where there is no depth or roots. They had an initial shallow response but when hardship or suffering comes along, they fell out of faith and stop growing.
3). Thorn is the divided heart, a luke warm Christian. They believed but could not dissociate with the world. The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for material things made them too busy for God.
4). Good ground, is the fruitful heart. They heard, believed, grew and bear fruits. Psalm 1:1-3, ‘ ’ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper’, KJV.
The return of investment for evangelism is incredible. A return of 30 fold is 3000%, 60 fold is 6000%, and 100 fold is 10,000%.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the key to understand the parable of the sower. Thank You for showing us that evangelism produces such an incredible return of investment. There is no investment in the world that is able to match a return of this magnitude. Help us to sow the seed of the gospel message far and wide, in Jesus’s name,