What is a parable: Although there are many valid definitions let me give you a simple one. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus spoke in parables only after a certain point in His ministry. Despite the popularity of the parables, both the method and the meaning behind Jesus’ use of these stories are frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. Jesus’ parables had a clear twofold purpose: 1) They hid the truth from self-righteous or self-satisfied people who fancied themselves too sophisticated to learn from Him 2) The same parables revealed truth to eager souls with childlike faith—those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Jesus thanked His Father for both results: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” (Matt. 11:25-26). While the parables do illustrate and clarify truth for those with ears to hear, they have precisely the opposite effect on those who oppose and reject Christ. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables” (Mark 4:10-11). “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matt. 13:10-13, NKJV).
Please read Mark 4: 1-20
PARABLE OF THE SOWER
But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:10,12-20).
Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower highlights four different responses to the gospel. The seed is “the word of the kingdom.” The hard ground represents someone who is hardened by sin; he hears but does not understand the Word, and Satan plucks the message away, keeping the heart dull and preventing the Word from making an impression. Those who are in darkness they do not want the light to shine on them, lest it exposes their dark deeds. The stony ground pictures a man who professes delight with the Word; however, his heart is not changed. The stones are still there inside the heart. “Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:21-23). Because of these unconfessed sins when trouble arises, his so-called faith quickly disappears. The thorny ground depicts one who seems to receive the Word, but whose heart is full of riches, pleasures, and lusts; the things of this world take his time and attention away from the Word, and he ends up having no time for it. The good ground portrays the one who hears, understands, and receives the Word—and then allows the Word to accomplish its result in his life. The man represented by the “good ground” is the only one of the four who is truly saved, because salvation’s proof is fruit (Matthew 3:7-8; 7:15-20).
To summarize the point of the Parable of the Sower: “A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.” A secondary lesson would be “Salvation is more than a superficial, albeit joyful, hearing of the gospel. Someone who is truly saved will go on to prove it.” May our faith and our lives exemplify the “good soil” in the Parable of the Sower. The answer to the poll is found in Mark 4:13. He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).