Big Hill Bible Studies
05 March 2018
This week, let's take a look to the "Parable of the Sower." Go to Matthew 13 and lets take this parable in sections. Today I'd like to just set the stage and take an overview of the parable, so let's look at 13:1-17. Please don't read any further yet.
Jesus is sitting by the sea and again a large crowd gathers. Jesus leaves his seat by the sea and takes a seat inside a boat and speaks to the people on the shore. I image an artist has painted this picture, though I have never seen one. Imagine that picture as if you were in the crowd; standing on the seashore listening to Jesus tell you this parable along with your friends, or perhaps your family.
He tells a story of a man who sowed seed that landed in different soils. Some fell by the road and birds came to eat it up right away. Some seed fell onto rocks without much soil and sprung up quickly, but since they did not have a good root system they were burned up by the hot sun. Other seed fell among thorns and as they grew they were choked out. But some seed fell into good, fertile soil and the growth was so good that the crop yielded 30 fold, 60 fold, and some even 100 fold. A great story, a story that I imagine many of them could identify with. They had sown seed and probably seen their plantings fail and succeed. They were tracking the story well up to that point, but then Jesus ended it there. Done. He concluded his story saying, "He who has ears, let him hear."
Now we know what he was saying, because we've heard Jesus' parable before. But consider this, these people couldn't turn to Matthew 13 and follow along. They didn't have our study Bibles, commentaries, websites, and Christian bookstores and the resources we are able to access easily. They had the priests and the council. But Jesus was different. He spent time among the people and talked of hope, and forgiveness. Ending this teaching with "He who has ears, let him hear" was like giving them a riddle they were having difficulty understanding. They had heard the parable with their ears - what could He have meant by this statement? The disciples themselves asked Jesus, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" (V10). Jesus tells them they have been given the wisdom to understand the "mysteries of heaven" (V11) and that the teaching of parables was done to fulfill prophecy. Go back and read verses 13-16 and ask yourself what this could possibly mean to us today. Pay particular attention to verse 16 and consider its impact on your life. Have you ever read a passage and not understood the meaning, then sometime later, maybe even years, you come across it and it seems to just "jump out of the Bible and into your heart?
Before we go on and read verses 18-23, take some paper and a pen or pencil and jot down what you think the parable is about. Who is the sower, what significance do the different soils have in the parable? What is the life application to you? How does this parable reveal the gospel? Are there any other significant symbolisms in this parable? Don't cheat and read on - we'll read the rest tomorrow.