Big Idea: Jesus’ first parable asks the question “How’s your heart?” Whether is hard, rocky, weedy or good depends upon the care that we choose to give it.
Text: Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around Him, so He got into a boat. Then He sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then He said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked Him what the parables meant….
Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Mark 4:1-20 NLT
The soil represents hearing with our heart-ears
The seed represents Kingdom truth
The farmer is Jesus or anyone who spread Kingdom truth
The sun represents a difficult season of opposition
The hard soil is resistant to the Word of God
The rocky soil is less resistant but ultimately will spiritual growth
The weeds represent things in my life that if not dealt with will choke our spiritual maturity
This parable is about hearing God, and it has at least three different applications:
- The first is four different types of people to whom the Gospel of the Kingdom is given.
- The second is the process we all go through in becoming a Kingdom person.
- The third is that each of us have all four of these soils in our hearts and we deal with the good or bad of each at different times.
There are three things that are necessary for us to produce a healthy garden in our souls.
- We must hear the Word of God. Either by listening to it, by reading it or studying it. We humans are often so busy talking about our opinions that we don’t take the time necessary to hear what God has to say.
- We must receive the Word of God. We must press it in. There’s something in us humans (like when something foreign hits our eye, we tend to close it) that when we hear something new, we tend to defend our own opinions, and refuse to hear.
- To reap a big harvest, we must put the Word of the Kingdom into action. Natural growth can at times seem imperceptible, but is we continue listening, receiving and obeying, there will be a large harvest in the following season. Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” Luke 11:28 NLT