We have been looking at the parables of Jesus. The word parable comes from a compound Greek word. “Para” which means alongside and “bole” means to throw. When Yeshua speaks a parable He takes that which is unfamiliar and throws it down alongside that which is familiar. Look at verses 10 and 11 in this chapter. Jesus offers us these parables so that we can use them as spiritual handles to reach down and pick up spiritual truth.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Matthew 13:1Jesus has now turned from the whole house of Israel, and now turns to the nations of the world (the sea). Turning to the nations of the world with what? With the gospel message! Bible says, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11). Now, Yeshua turns to the Gentile nations. So what is Yeshua doing? He is pointing to the age of grace, where the gospel will be sent out to the nations.
- The “sower” – the evangelist
- The “seed” – the word of God (Luke 8:11)
- The “soil” – the human heart. This has to do with the way we listen (Matthew 13:9)
The evangelist (missionary) takes the word of God to the nations in order that he might sow the seed of God’s word into the hearts of people. Now here is one of those secrets of the kingdom, “Yeshua does not describe an age of great harvest, but an age where the gospel (Word of God) will be rejected for the most part.” There are two programs at work during this dispensation of time;
- There’s God’s program of salvation
- And there’s Satan’s program of sin
And in this dispensation of time, it will appear, for the most part, that Satan’s program of sin is winning the day.
The Roadside soil v. 4Palestinian fields were laid out in narrow strips. Between the strips were these footpaths. The soil on these footpaths was hard, tight, and compacted. The tight soil would not allow appropriate amounts of air and moisture into the soil to produce a crop. Also, the soil was so hard, there could be no seed to soil contact, thus making germination impossible. So Yeshua compares some in this age of grace to the Roadside soil.
The Rocky Soil v. 5Palestine is under laid by limestone rock. Often, the limestone can be covered by a thin layer of soil. The soil is enough to germinate the seed—yet not sufficient to sustain healthy plant growth. There is not enough space to support an adequate root system. Yeshua says that some in this generation would be like this rocky soil.
The Thorn-Infested Soil v. 7Jesus is speaking of weed competition. There is no crop protection used. As a result the weed competition is so great that it crowds out the productive seed. That which had the potential to be productive is not. Jesus was teaching that some in this age would be like this thorn-infested soil.
The Fertile Soil v. 8Our Lord calls it the good soil. It has a prepared seedbed. There are plenty of nutrients. There is an adequate amount of air, water and sunlight to allow for healthy plant growth. This is an extremely productive soil. Jesus was teaching that some will be like that in this age.
The Roadside Soil vv. 18-19Dr. Charles Stanley calls this the CLOSED MIND. The seed is sown by different methods;
- By donkeys with sacks of seed on their backs. Holes would be punctured in the bottom of the sack to allow the seed to fall to the ground. As the donkey, being led, waddles through the strips of prepared soil the seed would be planted.
- The other method would be broadcast method. The sower would sow the seed by hand.
The point is, there may be different methods to “sow” the seed, but the gospel message stays the same.
Methods are manyThe man never changes, the messages never changes, however the method to communicate the gospel often changes. The problem here is not the seed, it is not the sower, the problem is the soil (the way they listen). They have CLOSED or CONCRETE hearts. They attend church and could even be considered religious. They understand attending, giving, and form. They just can’t get their arms around the fact that Christianity is not something they do, it is something they are (life). Is there hope for change? No. Why? They will not listen. Their minds have been made up. The Bible says, “We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard” (Hebrews 2:1). There is no seed (word) to soil (heart) contact. The result, the birds (demons) snatches away what has been sown and, as a result, there is no lasting impact, there’s no change in the life.
Principles are few,
Methods often change,
Principles never do.
The Rocky Soil vv. 20-21Dr. Charles Stanley calls this the CLOUDY MIND. With the cloudy mind we are talking about the superficial, meaning it is all surface with no depth. There’s a shallowness that exists. The seed is sown and even sprouts, but there’s no root. The root was not able to penetrate the soil, due to the under lay of limestone, and the root is unable to penetrate the soil (or the heart). The application is so clear here, there’s lots of drama (a dramatic conversion) and it appears they are excited and growing. But notice what Jesus says, “it is short-lived.” We’ve all known folks like this, they can’t go back to their old friends and stand strong. They can’t take the comments from family members. They can’t stand the mockery that often comes with being a Christian, they are just not grounded so they can withstand the stress of being a child of God.
But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!” Luke 6:49
The Preacher Outline and Sermon Bible offers these thoughts;
- They say, “Hearing the word preached and taught will not get a person into heaven. A person has to receive the word.”
- They say, “We must always be reminded of 1 Timothy 3:10, “And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve.”
Sometimes, as Christians, we move too fast when we ought to move much slower
The Thorn-Infested Soil v. 22Dr. Charles Stanley calls this soil type, THE CLUTTERED MIND. We are talking worldliness. We are talking a love for money (things). On the surface the soil looks good, it is what is below the surface that causes the problem (weed seed). Weed seed grows faster in this soil than the good seed because of the competition, there’s a lack of harvest. Remember what we have said? That Jesus is always enough. It can’t be;
- Jesus plus riches
- Jesus plus my indulgent lifestyle
- Jesus plus just a little bit more
- Jesus plus the things of this world (with all its trinkets and toys)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven!” (Matthew 19:23). Why is it so hard for the rich guy? The reason it is so hard is because they have CLUTTERED MINDS. For the rich guys, there are too many distractions.
The Fertile Soil v. 23This is the unhindered soil. It is a prepared soil that is ready to receive the seed. Jeremiah writes, “Break up your fallow ground” (Jeremiah 4:3). Prepare the seedbed. Prepare your hearts to receive the word of God! So here is a heart that is open and tender. Here is a heart that listens, meditates, concentrates, and thinks. He does not allow his thoughts to wonder off. He doesn’t check out on the preacher. They act responsibly and behave intelligently. These individuals flourish like the palm tree; long-lived, stately, flourishes. The Psalmist writes,
“Planted in the house of the LORD,
they thrive in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
healthy and green,” Psalms 92:13-14
These are they that enjoy the fruitfulness of the abundant life. There’s only one genuine profession, and it is right here.