4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:
5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.
6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.
8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.
10 And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”
Jesus’ agricultural audience likely had a great appreciation for Jesus’ parable.
How gracious of God to speak to us in ways we can understand and apply. In an agricultural society, everyone would have understood what happened when a sower went out into a field to sow his seed. At least one path ran through most fields, and much of the terrain in Israel was rocky under a thin layer of topsoil. Dropping seeds along such paths was futile. Many fields had thorn bushes along the perimeters. Seeds falling there had no chance to grow and survive until harvest time. Others, however, did fall on fertile soil and produced a bumper crop (100 times what was sown).
With this parable, Jesus described four types of soil, with soil representing people who hear the gospel.
The first three types of soil refer to people who are not saved, but who have varying responses to the seed of the Word of God. Then Jesus contrasted those types of people with people whose hearts are good ground. The same good seed fell on all four types of soil, but only this last example refers to a person who has been born again.
It’s the last person in the parable we want to focus on today.
First, this person hears the Word of God with an honest and good heart. Second, he holds on to Christ’s teaching. Finally, Jesus said the seed in the good soil would bear fruit with endurance. True believers make a faith commitment that endures to the end. Their lives are spiritually productive and they consistently live in obedience to Jesus Christ and His Word.
May this be us as we seek to cast the seed of the gospel.
- Do you know people represented by each of these soils? What kind of “soil” best represents you now? Five years ago?
- When we share our faith with others, we are spreading the seed of the gospel. What help do you get from this parable about sharing your faith?
- Pray that the Father would help you to be one who liberally sows the seed of the gospel in the world. Remember that God is the one who produces true and lasting fruit in those who receive this seed. Assess your own heart, asking the Holy Spirit for the fruit of true belief and life-long endurance.