And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Jesus Attracted Large Crowds – Multiples of people were flocking to hear Jesus speak and see His miracles. But Jesus knew most were not sincere. They did not have a real sprit of repentance which led to a changed life. They had no honest commitment and no willingness to sacrifice. Many followed Jesus, just as they do today, because of family and friends, for the social identification, to get their needs met by the church members or because as some have put it, “for insurance just in case the Bible is true.”
Jesus Taught a Parable to Explain the Difference in People’s Responses to His Teachings
- The seed planted was the same in every kind of soil.
- The sower was the same person in every kind of soil.
- The difference was not in the seed or the sower, but in the soil that received the seed.
Seed by the wayside.
- Near to field.
- They “hear” but they never apply the Word or pay close attention.
- The Word is soon forgotten.
Acts 28:27 – 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.
Hebrews 3:13 – but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Proverbs 28:14 – Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
People like this may well be in church every week. They “hear” the Word but they pay little attention to the warnings, they do not involved themselves in the study of the Word. Church is only something to ease the conscience or fill some time.
Seed on the rock.
- They receive the Word when they hear it.
- They are excited about the Word.
- They fail to consider the commitment required – and they do not apply themselves to learn and grow.
- When trials and temptations come, they fall away.
Matthew. 24:12 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Luke 9:62 – But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 4:9 – But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
2 Peter 2:20-22 – For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Seed among thorns.
- They receive the Word when they hear it.
- They make an effort to be part of the church.
- They are unwilling to separate themselves completely from the world.
- They may have some fruit – but their fruit never ripens.
- Their spiritual life is eventually choked to death by cares of this life or by riches of this life (either the actual enjoyment of them to the point of leaving out God or the constant pursuit of them to the point of leaving out God) or the pleasures of this life.
Matthew 6:25, 31 – Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Luke 21:34 – But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
Mark 4:19 – 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.
Seed on good ground.
- Honest heart – “kalei” means fair, just, holding fast.
- Good heart – “agathei” means devoted, committed, given over to truth. Once they know the truth, they hold fast to it.
- Hear the Word.
- Keep the Word.
- They bear fruit – with patience.
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Colossians 1:10 – that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Psalm 92:13-14 – Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,