PARABLES OF THE SOWER
Bible Background: In Matthew 13, Jesus is teaching in parables. A parable takes something from daily life and can make an ‘obvious’ point, or reveal a ‘hidden’ point. Parables often turn things ‘upside down.’ Parables are sometimes clear and at other times hard to understand. Why? Maybe to make us wrestle with things more deeply!
Digging Deeper into the Parable of the Sower and the Seed: 1. The farmer might be sowing seed like farmers did back then, or he might be a little reckless with the seed. Either way, some seeds produce a harvest, and some seeds do not. This parable needs some explanation! Thankfully, the disciples ask Jesus to do just that!
2. In Matthew and Mark, there’s this plot-line that scholars refer to as “the Messianic secret”, as in: “Keep rather quiet for now about what this Jesus is up to.” That seems to make no sense! Yet, it may be that the teachings of Jesus were so unexpected, that if his followers spread his stories too soon, Jesus would be stopped too soon. Or, the disciples might lose interest too soon.
3. Jesus explains that the ‘seeds’ are like different kinds of people who hear the Word of God and respond in different ways. Obviously, this still happens today. Graciously, though, some seed does take root, and grow, and produce good results! When in your life have you been one of the less productive seeds? When have you been more like the seeds that grew in good soil?
4. A question might be: What, if anything, can we do to make sure we are good soil for the seed of God’s Word? What would that take? What are some of the things that distract us from what God is trying to do in our lives and in our world?
5. The productive seeds are likened to “the one who hears the word and understands it.” How can we as church help each other hear God’s word and understand? (This is not just for Sunday School students, after all!) What kind of study or conversations could we have? Could you participate? Or lead?
6. And in a world that has lots of bad things happening, how reassuring is it that what God is trying to do IS produce fruit, in spite of all the obstacles? Give thanks for five things that God is making happen in your life and in the world.