Mark 4:3-20: The Parable of the Sower
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus often spoke in parables when He was ministering to the crowds. His parables were word pictures and metaphors that would make people think. In this parable, he spoke of a sower who sowed seeds in different kinds of soil.
The seed represents the word of God. It is given that when God’s word is preached there is an effect. Hebrews 4:12 declares, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
As the seed is always constant, the soil where it is planted differs. In Mark 4, Jesus us four ground/soil where seeds are planted and it’s corresponding meaning.
Let’s look at the ground Jesus mentioned and its implication with the Word of God.
a. Path (v14)
14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
The Scripture is preached and the seed is received but then taken immediately by Satan. This shows to us the truth that you can hear the word but the word will only encourage you for a while but because the heart is not yet receptive, it doesn’t even take root because the enemy could immediately take it away.
I experience this kind of interaction among people who go to church once, approaches you and tells you how the preaching helped them and yet, they never came back and went back to their ways, not even considering to apply the word in their life.
B. rocky ground
16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
Other people also hear the word and receives it with joy. But just like the one who fell on the path, the Word did not take root in the heart of the hearer. Though it was snatched away by Satan immediately, it actually endured for a while, but when troubles happened, they immediately give up on Jesus. These are the people, that when the going gets tough, they quit on the faith.
c. thorny ground
18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
It happens to all of us – the enticement of the world and the perks of success that we forget that though life is good, Jesus is the source of it. Instead of looking to Jesus, we get entangled by the world’s definition of prosperity and success. And when we think that this is all God, we realize afterward how far we have walked away from Him.
d. good soil.
20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
The last verse of this parable gets me excited. When the Word of God is planted in good soil, it produces much. Imagine a life that is full and content in Christ because of the effect of the Scripture in our lives. His words are life. The world might give happiness, but Jesus brings joy.
The effect of God’s word is not just addition but a multiplication to a hundredfold. It satisfies and fills us up like no other.
My prayer is that our hearts would be a good soil for the Scripture. That God’s Word would penetrate and transform us, changing our perspective on life and faith.
The preaching below is from my pastor Joey Bonifacio: