Parable of the Sower Explained

Matthew 13:18-23
Jer. 3:14-17 / Jer.31:10-13

The man who hears the word and understands it — he produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13: 23)

The seed of God’s Word has been sown
And has taken root in my heart...
Christ’s teachings now that we have known
To others we must also impart.

Jesus explained the parable: “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23)


Much of Galilee and Judea were agricultural regions, so it was only natural that our Lord Jesus used events like sowing or reaping to represent His messages to the people. However, His parables remain as applicable to present-day human events or circumstances. We can see the allegories of the seeds sown in four kinds of people. The seed that fell on the pathway is the Word of God preached to those who live in the “fast lane”. They have no time listening to Gospel values that they find to be antiquated, and “cramps their lifestyle”. Bringing the Word of God to this kind of people may just be a waste of time, like “throwing your pearls before swine”.

Then there are those who receive the Word with excitement, and at first it may seem that a conversion has begun. But soon we discover that their faith is superficial, like a thin layer of soil above hard limestone. Just as easily as they were excited by their “new-found faith”, just as easily do they get discouraged and fade away when they experience trials, or are disappointed by some Church doctrine, or are biased against a member of the clergy, or a member of our community. These are usually typical candidates for “born again” or new-age sects.

And then we meet Christians who may have been receptive to God’s Word, but their commitment is overwhelmed by concerns in their businesses or professional careers, or by the material success of their enterprises. These are like the seed that fell among the thorns. So many of this kind have passed through the doors of our nine-week Christian Life Programs, stayed for a while, and then disappeared, never to be seen again. It seemed as if our efforts in bringing the values of Christian living into their lives had been in vain. But, as St. Paul said, we are not discouraged. Because out of the “seeds” that are sown from every Christian Life Program we hold every year, if only a few brothers or sisters become active members of our brotherhood, we believe that they will produce “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

As Jesus said in another instance, “many are called but only a few are chosen” to be His heralds of the Living Word. Dear reader, could you be one of His chosen few?

Thank You, Lord for making us understand that numbers do not matter to You; even just a little will suffice to spread Your Gospel message to the world. We only need to persevere, and believe, that in Your time there will be a great harvest, and we will also reap our reward in heaven. Amen.

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