The Parable of the Sower (Part 1)

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parable in the Bible. Jesus has asked his disciples an important question, which is also important to us:

„And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mk 4:13)“

It is not only, that we understand the other parables, but also how the principles are in the God’s kingdom. Since the person of the sower is not explained, I would like to consider God as this sower in this first part. He was the first, who has sown the seed and we people are the recipients.

But let us go directly into the original text. I apply the version, that Luke has written:

„And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. (Lk 8:4-5)“

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Lk 8:11) Even in the first lines of the bible read we, that God his seed sowed. And God said… . The seed has the whole potential in itself, which is necessary in order for it to become what it is supposed to be. An apple seed has everything in itself, in order for out of it becomes an apple tree. In addition, certain conditions have to be fulfilled.

„And God said, let there be light: and there was light.“ (Gen 1:3)

God sowed with His word the seed „light“ and out of it became light. The whole genesis is full of it. Shortly after the Fall of man God spoke out a further seed:

„… it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15)“

God made clear with it, that he will send salvation. With Jesus the seed of the woman came into the world. He, who is the Word of God himself and became flesh. The word of God is also the Bible. It has to have the first priority with us. Even today God speaks to us through the bible. We may not only limit God on the Bible. He has many ways how he can talk to us. However, one thing we always should be conscious, that the said agrees with the scripture.

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Lk 8:12)

From this scriptures we can learn some things:

  1. God wants to speak to our hearts. Many things we try to explain with the understanding. I have nothing to object, but if we have understood it, it has to slip into our hearts. However, it is better, if God can speak directly to our hearts.
  2. The Word of God is the seed for our faith. Romans 10, 17 says: „So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“ When in an area of your life the faith is missing, then listen to the preaching of the word of God. Maybe you will say, that you need faith now and it is still a long time until the next Sunday. Good, then take your Bible and read yourself aloud out of it. Then you have the preaching. We are all called to be preachers of the gospel.
  3. God’s word is the seed unto rescue or unto salvation. The word salvation (sozo) is translated with only one word, because it is too all-inclusive. Sozo means: rescue of danger, destruction or condemnation, be in safety, remain sound, health. Everything good, which we wish we can obtain from God through his word free of charge, without spending much money for insurance or for professional services.

And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. (Lk 8:6) – They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (Lk 8:13)

The interpretation, which Jesus gives us here is clear. How often we have experienced, that we were ardent from a preaching, but as soon as we were at home we did not believe anymore what we had heard? It really has to be our desire, that the word of God takes roots in our lives. Only this way we can resist the temptations. Jesus was full faith and therefore also full of God“s word. He also had to battle with temptations. What did he do when the devil tempted him? He answered him: „It is written …“ What is our response to temptations: „It is written …“ or „God has promised us in his word, that …“

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. (Lk 8:7) – And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Lk 8:14)

Even here each of us can tell our own experiences. We had a good time in the church service. The worship time lead us into the presence of God and the following preaching was strong. The church service was really uplifting. We have received new courage, joy and peace. But as soon as we were at home we think about our problems at work, maybe we consider how to pay the bills or how to invest wisely the money, and spend our time in front of the TV set. God provides us with solutions to our cares and riches, and gives us alternatives to our entertainment. This with AAA quality.

And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Lk 8:8)

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest (in German: fine) and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience. (Lk 8:15)

Here we have the perfect answer how to receive the word of God. It needs good soil and a fine and good heart. A farmer would say that the ground must be ploughed that the seed can fall into the good ground. Also in the spiritual realm we have to plough, but it is never called like this. Our prayers to God or the worship make our heart receptive to God“s word. As soon as we have received it, we have to keep it in our hearts and it will bring fruit in due season. The seed needs time between the sowing and the reaping. In this time period we need patience, because „through faith and patience we inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12)

And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Lk 8:9-10)

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth [it] under a bed; but setteth [it] on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither [any thing] hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Lk 8:16-18)

Proverbs 6:23 tells us, that the law (= God’s word) is a light. Whoever hears and understands God’s word, it dawns on him. We shouldn’t hide this word, but share it as a light to the world. It is so important what we hear and what we understand and practice. This principle works in every area and not only with God’s word. With what we are occupied will influence us and we will be stronger in it. What we ignore we will lose. Think about the school lessons. What do you know today and what do you use?

This is part one of three. Read on with part two.

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