Parable of the Sower Part #1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Parable of the Sower
The Gospel of Matthew is probably the key Gospel to the Bible, and chapter 13 is the key to this Gospel; therefore this chapter is very important.
It provides us with a better understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven than any other passage.
Here, Jesus for the first time speaks in parables; called the Mystery Parables.
His teaching reveals the condition of the Kingdom of Heaven in our present time.
Now, what I mean by the Kingdom of Heaven, is God’s rule over the entire earth; the manner in which He is carrying out His program for mankind.
Today it’s a program; but when Jesus comes the second time, He will put down all unrighteousness and rebellion, and He will establish His Kingdom right here on earth.
And He will rule and reign forever.
Remember, Jesus, followed John the Baptist in preaching “,….. Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
And Jesus talked about the laws that would be applied to that Kingdom when He gave the Sermon on the Mount.
Then He demonstrated, through miracles, that He had the power to rule the kingdom; after which He sent His disciples out with the message.
The message was met with rejection-Israel rejected its King.
Therefore, Our Lord handed down a judgment against the cities where His mighty works had been done, and He also pronounced judgment against the religious rulers.
When they asked Him for a sign, He said that no sign would be given them, except that of Jonah.
He was speaking of His resurrection, and they were to have that fulfilled in Christ shortly after this.
Finally, He gave a very personal invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Now the question arises: What will happen to the Kingdom of Heaven?
It is apparent that He will not establish it on the earth at His first coming.
So what will happen to the Kingdom of Heaven during the interval between His suffering on the cross and His glory that will be revealed at His second coming?
Well in the Mystery Parables, and there are eight of them, He sets forth the Kingdom of Heaven conditions on earth during this interval; the time in which we are currently living.
They are called Mystery Parables because in the Word of God a mystery is something hidden or secret up to a certain time and then revealed.
According to this definition, the church is a mystery, since it was not revealed in the Old Testament.
It was revealed after the death and resurrection of Christ.
Actually, there could be no church until Christ died and rose again.
Ephesians 5:25 says that “…..Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Other mysteries are Christ’s incarnation, His intercession for us, our justification and sanctification, and indeed the whole work of redemption.
These things are difficult to understand but are made clearer by the action of the Holy Spirit.
Those lacking the Holy Spirit, are numb to spiritual things, so they think they are tall tales or just entertainment.
The Mystery Parables show the course of the kingdom after it had been offered and then rejected by Israel.
They reveal what is going to take place between the time of Christ’s rejection, and the time when He returns to earth as King.
With these parables, Our Lord covers the entire period between his rejection by Israel and His return to the earth to establish his Kingdom; therefore these parables are very important.
As we begin reading chapter 13, notice that Jesus’ actions are extremely interesting, for it says, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.” (v. 1,2)
He did not have a house of His own, and He did not have a chapel of His own to preach in.
By this, He teaches us not to desire the external surroundings of worship, such as a large building, and beautiful grounds, but to make the best of the facilities that God gives us.
That’s what we are doing here at Laurens Memorial Home, and I am grateful that God has given us comfortable chairs, a podium, a piano and clean walls and floors.
But to God, we are the church, and it is our worship, obedience, faithfulness and love that matters.
But note the symbolism here, “The same day went Jesus out of the house,” which speaks of the house of Israel.
“And sat by the sea side,”–the sea represents the gentile nations (a symbolism used elsewhere in scripture).
Our Lord is leaving the nation of Israel and turning to the world.
He is now speaking of what will take place in the world until He returns as king.
This act denotes a tremendous change that has taken place in His ministry.
Great multitudes were gathered together to hear him, and He went into a ship and began to talk to them as they stood on the shore.
“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” (v. 3)
In this parable our Lord answers a very obvious and a very important question.
The same sower, Christ, and the same preachers sent by Him, always sow the same seed: so why doesn’t it always have the same effect?
Why doesn’t this seed do as well in one place as in another?
Christ said publicly through this parable that the reason for this is that men, for the most part, either do not receive it or do not permit it to ripen.
Let’s go ahead and look at Christ’s interpretation of the sower.
He will tell us later that the sower is the Son of man, the name that Jesus applied to himself, and that the seed represents the Word of God.
When He continued His teaching, He said, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (v. 4-8)
Sowing seed is a familiar sight in Palestine. They sort of scratch the surface of the ground with a very crude plow. Sometimes they didn’t even do that much.
Then the sower would go out and fling the seed upon the earth.
Even today in our land in the springtime, all the way from California to South Carolina, and from Minnesota to Florida, you will see farmers sowing wheat, corn, and barley.
It is a very familiar sight of course; we use machines to sow the seed, while in that day it was sown by hand.
As I have mentioned, the sower represents the Lord Jesus, and all whom He sends forth to preach are sowers under Him.
He is the one sowing the seed, and I believe that defines his work in the world today.
He is the King, but He laid aside his regal robes and today He is doing the work of a farmer, sowing seed but he is still the King.
The seed represents the Word of God.
The field symbolizes the world.
Notice that it is the world, not the church.
We are talking about the state of affairs of our world.
I think the picture is something like this: Here is the church in the world, and outside there are multitudes of people who have not received Christ.
The Word of God is given to this one, and the word is given to that one, and the word is given to another.
One accepts another does not accept.
Our business is to sow the seed, although not everyone will receive it.
The Lord Jesus has charge of this program of sowing seed.
He has given me a little corner to work in, and my business is to sow seed here at the Memorial Home.
I want to be specific here.
This is the day for sowing seed.
I don’t want to split hairs, but the “harvest” is not the picture for today.
But someone says, “Didn’t Christ say, ‘Pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest’?”
Yes, and let’s look at it again. Matthew 9:36-38 reads, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”
This passage occurs just before the Lord sent out His apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The age of the law was coming to an end.
Harvest time comes after the seed has been sown.
For fifteen hundred years, approximately, under Law, the seed had been sown.
Then the harvest came, and a new age, a new dispensation, came in.
At the close of one age, there is a harvest, at the beginning of another age, there is the sowing of seed.
But I want to emphasize that the harvest at the end of an age is judgment.
The final judgment of God, where He will separate His sheep from the goats is still in the future; He will at that time, harvest the souls of all men and women and deliver them into a heavenly home, or to everlasting torment.
However, in our age, we are sowing the seed of the Word of God.
Some people, when they hear the Word of God are immediately changed, and others will listen every week for years before they receive it into their hearts, and some never will.
It is my business to sow the seed into the world, and if you are a child of God that is your business too.
Now notice where the seed falls.