and interpretation of the Text
Duringhis time on earth, Jesus used stories to teach his followers manythings. Among the parables used by Jesus is the parable of the sower,found in the book of Matthew 13:1-23. According to the parable, afarmer set out to scatter seeds in the field. While he was scatteringthe seeds, some of them fell along the road and were eaten by birdsof the air. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky soil and begun growingbecause the soil did not run deep. However, when the sun came up, itscorched the plants causing them to dry up because they did not havesufficient roots for support and nourishment. Other seeds fell onthorny bushes. They grew up, but the thorns choked them (Gowler,2016).However, a few seeds fell on a fertile ground where they grew andbore fruits producing thirty, sixty and even a hundred folds morethan the scattered amount. After narrating the parable, Jesus toldhis disciples it was up to them to act on the gospel.
TheParable of the Sower teaches believers that the kingdom of God islike a sower who sows crops in the field. In this regard, the storyfits perfectly the definition of a parable. The parable that Jesusused to teach His followers is a story true-to-life in all aspects,and it conveys spiritual truth (Gowler,2016).The parable illuminates the truth regarding the Kingdom of Heaven,which is synonymous with Mark`s use of the Kingdom of God.
Thisparable seems simple and straight forward to the readers. Jesus’sinterpretation of the parable to his followers accentuates fourdifferent responses to the word of God. First, the seed used in theparable is symbolic of the kingdom of heaven. The hard ground issymbolic of an individual who has been hardened by sin (Butler,2012).These kinds of individuals hear the word of God, but do notcomprehend because Satan takes away the message keeping the heartdull, thus preventing the impact of the word. The stony ground refersto an individual who takes delight in the gospel, listens andunderstands the word of God, but when troubles set in, his faithwears away.
Moreover,the thorny bush is symbolic of individuals who receive the word, takepleasure in it and understand it, but their hearts are stained withlust, riches, pleasures of sin, and other things of the world, whichtake their hearts and time from the word of God. The good ground,however, is representative of individuals who hear, receive andunderstand the Word of God and allow it to have an impact on theirlives through their hearts (Butler,2012).The man represented by the good ground portrays the truly savedbeliever and follower of Christ because the proof of salvation isfruit described by the parable.
Themeaning of the text and its relationship to the rest of the book
Thebook of Matthew, especially chapter 13 contains numerous teachingsregarding the Kingdom of heaven during that era. The chapter is acollection of teachings made by Jesus and not truths are taken fromthe ministry of God. During this time, Jesus had many followers andfaced a crisis in his presentation of Himself (Oaks,2015).This made it necessary for him to challenge the intellectualcapacity, and faith of His followers about his mission in the worldand His identity. In that view, he chose to employ parables in histeachings to begin the process of uncovering the faith of truedisciples and establish judgment to people who choose not to listen.
Thefundamental purpose of the parable of the sower was revelationthrough illustration. He designed it to convey the truth about theKingdom of heaven. More often than not, there was a common beliefthat Jesus did things to prevent people from understanding the truth,or revealing his identity (Oaks,2015).Nonetheless, Jesus came to the world to reveal the truth. Therefore,Jesus used the parable as an effort to reach to the non-believers tomake them understand. Unlike the masses, Jesus’s disciples wereanointed, and they possessed the Kingdom of heaven by becoming thefollowers of Jesus. Consequently, the knowledge and mysteriesconcerning the Kingdom of Heaven were revealed to them.
Theparable of the sower also takes in time and sequence. It is obviousthat true believers receive the word. However, the parable mentionsthat Satan took the word away from the first believers. This is arepresentation of the early church in terms of selection andcanonization of the scriptures. The words taken from them by Satanmay be representative of the books they rejected during that era. Theparable shows that the heart is a critical part of the reception ofthe word. This is because when certain scriptures seemed lessprecious or appealing to the heart, they because susceptible toattack by the enemy.
BeforeJesus addressed the crowd where he gave the parable, religiousleaders accusing him of being possessed by demons had rejected him.By implication, these leaders claimed to be ungodly, but realityshowed that they were committing blasphemy. Matthew 12 indicates thatit may not have been possible for them to be saved because they wereunwilling to acknowledge the spirit of God (Oaks,2015).Again, Jesus referred to them as a generation characterized bywickedness and adultery. This claim was proved true through the fruitof their lives.
Inthe context of Jesus`s ministry, the meaning of the parable shouldhave been obvious. However, besides condemnation by the Pharisee, hisfamily too did not accept the truth of his ministry, which made hishometown reject him as indicated in the following verses in Matthew13. Nevertheless, huge crowds gathered around Jesus, a sign that theKingdom of heaven belonged to those who followed Jesus, hisdisciples. Jesus went ahead and provided an explanation to hisdisciples, which is clear evidence that those who bear the burden offollowing him will always have an understanding.
TheValue of the Text and its Contemporary Significance
Theparable of the sower is one of the most valuable parables that Jesustaught his disciples and followers. The Parable of the Sower providesa fundamental outline of how Christians should treat and act on theteachings of the Bible (Pardue,2015).It is a reference point for many dilemmas that we encounter in thelife of a Christian. Most importantly, it explains the diversity ofthe human race, hence helping Christians to accommodate theweaknesses and strengths of others (Pardue,2015).The passage elaborates the need for consistency in the Christianfaith thus bringing forth the understanding that living a righteouslife demands extra efforts from Christians as well as God’sintervention through the Holy Spirit. The passage has contemporarysignificance since its teachings reflect the truth about modern dayChristianity (Pardue,2015).
Firstly,the passage helps us to understand that the secret towards living arighteous life does not lie in hearing the word of God. Therefore,hearing the word of God does not qualify one as a Christian, it isonly part of what we should do to achieve God’s approval (Wenell,2013).Therefore, it teaches us to be careful with those we perceive to berighteous because they read the word of God. Not all people who knowthe Biblical texts are true believers, we should be careful to avoidbecoming victims of their hypocrisy (Wenell,2013).The lesson here is that Christians should study the Bible with theirhearts, and understand the true and sacred interpretation of the Wordof God. It is our guide in our daily lives, and therefore, all ouractions, speech and thoughts should be within the bounds of God’slaws.
Thepassage teaches us that just as we prepare the soil to receive theseed, we should make our hearts ready to receive the word of God.Without preparing our hearts, it is difficult to apply the doctrinesof God’s laws because our bodies reject the provisions of the law(Pardue,2015).As Christians today, we need to prepare our hearts for leading livesthat please the Lord. Good works prepare the ground for receivingGod’s Grace to enable us to understand his Word. Praising andworshipping the Creator prepare the right mindset for embracing theteachings of the Bible (Wenell,2013).Therefore, the passage encourages us to receive God’s help throughthe Holy Spirit to enable us to understand the meaning of Biblicalpassages. It also teaches contemporary Christian religious leaders toemphasize on preparing their members to receive the Word of God bycultivating strong Biblical foundations.
Jesussays that He is the truth and the way to life. It is everybody’sdesire to live a long, fruitful and healthy life. Therefore, asChristians today, the passage teaches us to embrace the teachings ofthe Bible because it provides us with the Word of Jesus. Withoutknowing God, we will never know Jesus, and without knowing Jesus, wewill never have life. Therefore, the Bible offers us the way of lifeand how to enjoy the rich promises of God (Wenell,2013).The seeds that fell on the rocks are representations of Christianswhose foundations are not based on the knowledge of our Lord havenothing to inspire the longevity of their lives. Moreover, the Worldhas many challenges today. Just like the seed that fell among thethorns, people who do not fall into the hands of God by embracing Hislaw will be choked by the evil of the world (Pardue,2015).Therefore, the passage emphasizes to us the relevance of God in ourlives and reminds us that we are mortal beings. Without God, it isimpossible to live long, healthy and fruitful lives.
Thepassage teaches us that God created us to be diverse therefore, noteverybody is perfect. The seeds falling at different places show ourunique ways of receiving the word of God. We should, therefore, beable to accommodate the weaknesses of other people because Jesus knewthat human beings have these differences. Moreover, this revelationabout the diverse reception and interpretation of the Bible shouldserve as an encouragement for those who understand the Word of God tospread the interpretation among those who have a limitedunderstanding (Pardue, 2015). In contemporary society, the passage isa unique explanation about the uniqueness in character among theChristian society. We should not be surprised by our differences infaith and how we apply the word of God, however, we should be happythat Jesus prepared us to expect the Church to have people withunique characters. Therefore, God determines the character of otherpeople and not themselves.
Godsovereign yesterday, today and forever, the passage is aclarification of this truth. It teaches us that being a SovereignBeing, God determines who we are (Pardue, 2015). No amount of readingthe Word of God or preaching can change our character. Just likethose seeds that landed on the rocks and those that fell among thethorns, God determines where we fall. He holds our destinies and willdetermine the outcome of our lives. If we want to be fruitful in ourlives, it is upon us to request the intervention of God, who holdsour destiny (Pardue, 2015). The seeds that fell on the wayside tellus that as Christians, we face numerous obstacles and distractionsalong the Christian journey. Therefore, we need to understand todaythat the devil, as well as his angels, is manifest in our dailylives. The only thing that can save us is to have the Word of God asthe reference our physical and spiritual conduct. We should be eagerto learn the word of God and embrace the teachings with anxious andopen hearts.
Thispassage isan important outline of how Christians should live by the teachingsof the Bible. It gives us the primary reference point for the manyquestions that we encounter in the life of a Christian.Interestingly, it helps us understand and appreciate the diversity ofthe human race, hence helping Christians to accommodate theweaknesses and strengths of others. In contemporary world, there isvery little room for tolerance, thereby requiring the inspiration ofthe Bible to find the virtue of patience within us. Moreover, it isan elaboration of the need to live in ways that are consistent withthe word of God.
Thepassage has contemporary significance since its teachings reflect thetruth about modern day Christianity. Indeed, Jesus is the truth andthe way to eternal life. As Christians, we believe that there is lifeafter death, and the only way to be part of the great Kingdom of godis to be righteous. It is everybody’s desire to live a long,fruitful and healthy life. Without having the knowledge of our LordJesus Christ, we will not know God the Father. If we don’t knowJesus as well as God the Father, we will not have knowing God, wewill never know Jesus, and without knowing Jesus, we will never havelife. Therefore, the Bible offers us the way of life and how to enjoythe rich promises of God. God is relevant in our daily lives and hereminds us that we are mortal beings. Without God, it is impossibleto go past the obstacles that are on the way to the Kingdom.
Butler,O. E. (2012). Theparable of the Sower (Vol.1). Open Road Media.
Oaks,B. E. (2015). The Parable of the Sower – By Elder Dallin H.Oaks. Retrieved October 05, 2016, fromhttps://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/the-parable-of-the-sower?lang=eng
Pardue,M. (2015). The Sower, the Soil, and the Sponge: The Interpretation ofthe Parable of the Sower in the Context of Rabbinic Literature.
Wenell,K. (2012). ‘Ears to Hear’: The Bible, the Sower and PerformativeChristianity. NewPerspectives on Religious and Spiritual Education,117-32.
Gowler,D. (2016). The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 11:1-23) by DavidGowler. Retrieved October 05, 2016, fromhttps://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/main-articles/parable-of-the-sower.aspx