Text: Matthew 13:1-23
Event(s): Jesus shares the parable of the sower; Jesus explains the purpose of using parables; The parable of the sower is explained
Matthew 13:4, 19 “the wayside” wayside refers to a well traveled path that has been hardened over time. The picture we get here is of a heart that is hardened (not just by sin, but by continued resistance). Therefore, it is easy to snatch the message of truth away because it remains on the surface without ever penetrating the heart and having the transforming power it was meant to have. The seed has been given; for God rains on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). The potential for growth and life is within the seed. But it never sprouts into life and therefore he/she is left empty.
Matthew 13:5, 21 “the stony path” this description paints a picture of gravel, or ground that is full of rocks. It brings to mind a relationship that is built on thrill or emotion. A heart that is filled with immediate excitement, but yet lacks the commitment necessary that brings lasting transformation, therefore the relationship with God feels more like a rollercoaster instead of steadily growing from strength to strength. The result is stumbling; easily tempted, easily enticed and struggling to gain traction. Interestingly, the root word used here for stumbling can also be translated to read “offended”.
Matthew 13:7, 22 “the thorns” This gives us a picture of a heart distracted and easily lured away. God is in “the mix” in there somewhere – but not in first place. Instead of allowing Him to permeate every area of life, this is a life compartmentalized. And the greater the desires grow for all the other things, or the greater the concerns mount, the smaller the “God compartment” becomes. The result is unfruitfulness, or barrenness. Not yielding what one was intended or created to yield. Yet if God were to be placed as Lord over it all, ones entire life would erupt in fruitfulness.
Matthew 13:8, 23 “good ground” Is he that hears the word and understands it. To hear and understand does not simply refer to the faculty of hearing, or having the mind to logically comprehend what is being said. Instead, it means we listen with open hearts and then carefully consider what has been said. We take the Word and allow it to x-ray our hearts and ask, God, “How does this apply to me?” We approach the Word expecting it to transform us and allowing it to renew our minds.
Today’s Takeaway: It is our receptivity that determines what kind of effect the Word of God will have on our lives. And our receptivity is determined by the condition of our heart. No matter what stage we are at in our walk with God, it is always good to examine the condition of our soil.
Additional (optional) reading: The parallel accounts of this passage can be found in Mark 4:1-20 and Luke 8:4-15