Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 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. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus would compare two objects for the purpose of teaching or preaching. He was the greatest teacher who ever lived and did it with greater authority than any–he had that authority. A parable compares something familiar with something unfamiliar. I can imagine as Jesus taught that a sower was going through a field sowing his seed. He used it to help them (and us) understand spiritual truths. A parable is usually defined as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. This is called the parable of the sower, but could be more accurately called the parable of soils. You and I are the soils. The seed comes up depending on the kind of soil we are.
Verse 4 says the soil was sown by the wayside. In that day a pathway was the separation between parcels of land owned by different people. That ground was walked on, hard and packed down. The seeds stayed on top of the ground. Birds love seed and quickly eat it up. To be protected from birds, a seed needs to get into the ground. Verse 19 gives the spiritual point of this verse: 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 wayside. There is nothing wrong with the seed; it’s the Word of God. It’s sharp and powerful and has not changed; it’s forever settled in heaven. Most believe the sower is Jesus. He sows the seed but not all of it takes heart in individuals. If you look at the sower being us, maybe we don’t prepare ourselves as we should. Sometimes our hearts are preoccupied. Sometimes it’s gotten hard and won’t receive the Word. Hosea called it breaking up fallow ground. There is one who doesn’t want us to receive it: the devil. He snatches it away. He’s smarter than we give him credit for. He doesn’t want us to hear the Word; he knows it changes lives. God honors his Word. The world calls it foolish but God chose ‘the foolishness of preaching’ to save souls. The devil wants to devour it. We have the capacity to hear but not hear. We daydream. We hear but not hear on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I realize we only have a certain attention span. But sometimes we’re here but ‘we ain’t here’. You think of something else instead of listening to the message. I’ve had to say “God, please clear my mind.” Does your mind wander when you pray? The phone rings to stop you. At church the mind wanders and we don’t hear what God has to say to us. It’s important to hear and understand. Satan uses any distraction he can.
Verses 5-6 talk of stony ground. So much of Palestine looks like good ground but underneath are rocks. It gets the seed but it doesn’t go deep enough. The seed remains shallow and when the sun comes out, it withers away. If a person is not rooted deeply in Christ, they soon fall away. The longer you stay in church, the deeper go your roots. You’re more likely to resist temptation when you’re rooted deeply. True worship and praise will build you up. Emotionalism only lasts as long as the service. I want my worship and praise to last outside this building. The real battle is not here but in the world. Most will do okay around God’s people; will they in the world? I want to be a Christian everyday of the week. When you tie salvation to emotionalism or feelings you’re in trouble. We’re not always on the mountaintop. Some days I feel like I could whip the devil; others I don’t. I may be up one day and down the next. Feelings don’t stay the same. Verses 20-21 say 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. If I went on feelings, some days I’d feel saved; others I wouldn’t. But when we go through deep valleys, we’re still saved. Peter was a loud-mouthed denier of Christ, even cursing that he didn’t know him. He wept bitterly when he realized what he’d done, but later he had strong roots preaching the Word and facing martyrdom. We must establish deep roots for Jesus.
Verse 7 talks of seed falling on thorny ground. This is good land not cleared. From a gardening sense, it won’t grow. Weeds and thorns will take over and a garden won’t grow. Soil can only sustain so much plant life. If weeds take all the nutrients, plants won’t grow. Verse 22 says 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. Cares and worries steal it. If you trust more, you’ll worry less. If you worry more, you’ll trust less. When you get overly concerned about riches, it affects your life. Jesus told us in Matthew 6 to Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Worry can damage your health. It occupies your mind. It affects how you treat others and reduces your ability to trust God. If God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field, he will take care of us. Don’t worry. Riches are deceitful. Most who have little wealth feel like if they had more money they’d be satisfied. You’ll never be satisfied with things of this world. Riches do not equal peace and contentment. It won’t bring happiness. I’ve seen people who came into some money. They couldn’t handle it and got out of church. Remember the scripture….For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Wealth in itself is not the problem; it’s the attitude toward wealth. It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil.
Verse 8 speaks of the seed falling on good ground. Verse 23 says 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. This should encourage spiritual sowers. There are different yields, but don’t be discouraged. Keep sowing. Every fruitful Christian was once an unfruitful sinner. Then at the right place and the right time God took the fallow ground and planted a seed. He waters it with his Word so that people grow in their Christian life.