Matthew 13:1-23 – May 10, 2020
The Parable of the Sower
A transition occurs in Matthew in this chapter. Before Jesus would teach the good news that the Kingdom of Heaven is near and at times illustrate the message with a parable. In this chapter He teaches with parables and reveals their meanings only to His disciples. Jesus chooses at this time to use the parabolic method of teaching to withhold further truth about Himself and the kingdom of heaven from the crowds who had proven themselves to be deaf to His claims and unresponsive to His demands. Thus from this point forward He speaks to crowds in parables and then interprets/explains them to His disciples privately. In this chapter He gives a series of seven parables, in Mark He gave four including one not found in Matthew. So He gave eight in all on this day.
His parables were used to speak of the spread of the kingly rule of heaven which would have been considered by many as subversive and treasonous. But speaking on sowing, wheat harvesting, and mustard seeds etc not so much.
13:1-2 The crowd grew so much He had to move from the shore – likely a large stone – to a boat to address the large crowd.
13:3 If you are going to speak in parables, choose something the people can recognize and respond to. The people of His day would clearly recognize a sower, today not so much. Pett: And as they heard mention of the sower many of their thoughts would go back to the words of Proverbs 11:18, ‘he who sows righteousness has a sure reward,’ and, somewhat guiltily (because they had not done it). Pett also said They would recognise that this sower was therefore issuing a call for repentance and righteousness in the light of the presence in Jesus of the Kingly Rule of Heaven. Some, but verse nine would suggest otherwise.
13:4 Sowing and field preparation would be such that this would be again something that people would recognize and respond to and again today, not so much.
13:5-6 Places of shallow soil would also be common then among the fields they planted, but again today not so much because so much today goes into preparation prior to sowing or planting. The results of planting in such places would be obvious and common.
13:7 Today such is uncommon except on the borders of a field. Often a windbreak of brush and small trees exists on the edge of a field and if planting corn for example you would see a few stalks of corn growing there, but eventually they would be choked out by the by the brush and weeds.
13:8 It was always wonderful to have soil that was rich, deep, without rocks, without weeks as there whatever you planted would produce a great bounty of crops. It is something you have to see and experience to really appreciate.
13:9 Jesus has in verses 4-8 has used the examples given as an incredibly insightful way of looking at men’s and women’s hearts when it comes to the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Look at the examples given and then look at your own heart and see which one applies to you and your heart. You might also look at those around you and wonder which example applies to them and their hearts.
12:10-13 Why this way to the people and not to us was the real question and the one Jesus answered. In His answer we see Jesus emphasis on the difference between those who are ‘given’ spiritual things by God and those who are not. Those who are then given things are those who ask and continue asking. As for Him who ‘has’ to him more will be given, in fact more and more. Those who have not responded to the Good News will receive nothing other than what they received in the words of the parables. What they do have will eventually completely fade away, so that they are left with nothing.
12:14-17 Jesus wants His disciples to know this is fulfilling the words of Isaiah and people had not changed since the time of Isaiah, as they have not to this day.
12:18-23 Jesus speaks clearly on what each section of the parable of the sower means. Let’s look at each one in turn and then consider John 15:1-6 in reference to the last two.
Bottom Line: What is the condition of your heart? What fruit are you producing?