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The Sower - Matthew 13:3-9

Lesson # The Sower - Matthew 13:3-9
Study Material - The Sower - Matthew 13:3-9

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The Sower
Matthew 13:3-9

3 And [kai] he spake [laleo] many things [polus] unto them [autos] in [en] parables [parabole] , saying [lego] , Behold [idou] , a sower [speiro] went forth [exerchomai] to sow [speiro] ;
4 And [kai] when [en] he [autos] sowed [speiro] , some [hos] [men] seeds fell [pipto] by [para] the way side [hodos] , and [kai] the fowls [peteinon] came [erchomai] and [kai] devoured [katesthio] them [autos] up [katesthio] :
5 Some [de] [allos] fell [pipto] upon [epi] stony places [petrodes] , where [hopou] they had [echo] not [ou] much [polus] earth [ge] : and [kai] forthwith [eutheos] they sprung up [exanatello] , because [dia] they had [echo] no [me] deepness [bathos] of earth [ge] :
6 And [de] when the sun [helios] was up [anatello] , they were scorched [kaumatizo] ; and [kai] because [dia] they had [echo] no [me] root [rhiza] , they withered away [xeraino] .
7 And [de] some [allos] fell [pipto] among [epi] thorns [akantha] ; and [kai] the thorns [akantha] sprung up [anabaino] , and [kai] choked [apopnigo] them [autos] :
8 But [de] other [allos] fell [pipto] into [epi] good [kalos] ground [ge] , and [kai] brought forth [didomi] fruit [karpos] , some [hos] [men] an hundredfold [hekaton] , [de] some [hos] sixtyfold [hexekonta] , [de] some [hos] thirtyfold [triakonta] .
9 Who [ho] hath [echo] ears [ous] to hear [akouo] , let him hear [akouo] . KJV-Interlinear

3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, 'Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 'And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 'But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 'And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 'And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 'He who has ears, let him hear.' NASB

Mark 4:3-9
3 'Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 'And other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6 'And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 'And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 'And other seeds fell into the good soil and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.' 9 And He was saying, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' NASB

Luke 8:4-8
4 And when a great multitude were coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 5 'The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 'And other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 'And other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it out. 8 'And other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.' As He said these things, He would call out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' NASB

A parable is a laying alongside of a story, that is presumably understandable by children, an issue or principle which the teacher wishes to convey to the students. Here in the sixth of our study of parables, Jesus takes a literal story and lays it out with the intent of laying alongside of that story, comparisons to a spiritual principle. The parable is easy to understand, and generally easy to remember. It is not advanced concepts such as you would find in analytical thinking in postgraduate studies in theory or such, but is more intended for an audience that has difficulty grasping a simple concept, and therefore is available to everyone.

Our study is a long one today, since this parable is delineated in three of the gospels. The parallel passages in Mark and Luke are listed above.

The farmer was a simple concept that all could relate to. A man carrying a bag of seed would walk up and down the rows of tilled soil and reach into his bag and cast or toss out the seed to the left and to the right.

Some of the seed would fall on the roads or beside the roads. In that day, the roads were not much more than paths which people followed to and from wherever they were going, to or coming from. On either side of the paths were the tilled fields. As the seed was cast out, some would inevitably fall on those packed down hardened walking paths. The seed had no soil to fall into, therefore it was exposed on the top of the hard ground and birds would come along just as soon as the farmer was further down the row. The birds would take up the seed and it would there cease to exist. It became food for the birds and other prey that feasted on seed.

The second place that seed could fall was in rocky places. The rocky places were the rocks that either were not removed from the field before hand because they could not be removed, or to the rocky soil in which the rocks were just below the surface and could not be seen and therefore not removed. In either case, there was little soil either above the buried rocky areas, or very little soil between the exposed rocks.

When the seed fell on these areas it would spring up faster due to the higher heat content caused by the rocks. But with little soil to take root in, there was little root and more exposed plant above the soil. More exposed plant than should have been exposed. The plant was unprotected from the sun and thus was scorched by the sun from above and starved from lack of soil, moisture and such, from below. The plant had grown too much too fast and lacked the inner resources for protection from the sun and rocky areas below. Consequently it withered and died. It did look quite healthy for a short time, but that short time was just that - short. The plants would fizzle out as it were.

The third place for seed to fall was among the weeds and such. There was soil and water enough, but there was fierce competition for the resources that were available. The weeds and thorns would grow and squeeze out the good seed plants and in effect choke out the good plants and take over the entire weedy area. The good plants either died or they were severely handicapped in their ability to grow. They would be weak and unproductive if they lived at all.

The fourth place for seed to fall is of course in the field where it is intended to be planted. There the seed has lots of deep soil in which to grow, lots of water and care. It is free from predators and weeds and thorns and rocks and all the things that prevent or inhibit its ability to grow.

But even within the good soil all seed does not come out equal in its production. Some seed under even ideal circumstances produces a hundred fold for its efforts. Some produces sixtyfold and some thirty times its original number. Some seed is extremely productive and some seed is not so productive, yet both seeds grew up within the same protected environment.

Now Jesus throws one more twist into this parable. In those days it would have been a very good harvest if any given seed would produce ten times its self. That is if one were to plant one bushel and get in return ten bushels of grain, then that would be a very good harvest. Jesus uses in his illustration some returns that would be far greater than anything possible or even imaginable. A hundred bushels for one was unheard of and therefore would have been deemed impossible. And again, if a hundred bushels were actually produced, then that would be a phenomenal production. The spiritual life is not of this world and therefore anything spiritual will be far above and beyond anything that one can expect from this life.

Jesus concludes this opening of the parable with the statement, 'He who has ears, let him hear.' Or in other words if you are truly interested in Gods Word, then you will take the time to think about this parable and then try to begin to understand its meaning and how it relates to the spiritual life. For those who are not interested in Gods Word, then the parable will seem but a meaningless story with no point. We will get into its explanation starting tomorrow.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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