11.19.08, Mark 4:1-20

Posted on November 19, 2008


The Parable of the Sower

1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.  2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

What is Good Soil?

This passage needs little explanation, as it has Jesus’ own explanation built into it!  It would be kind of presumptuous to think that I could explain it any better.  So rather than rehashing what Jesus has made clear, let’s try another angle and figure out what good soil looks like using the image of the bad soil.

Good soil…

– realizes that there is not just an internal battle, but an external one that tries to prevent God’s Word from taking root in our lives.  This means that at times, those little things that prevent us from reading or getting into Scripture, are NOT little things, but may be the Enemy’s attempt to rob you of your harvest!

– takes time to develop strong roots, so that their growth is not driven by emotionalism, and cannot be halted by circumstances.  Strong roots are developed by putting the Word into daily practice, walking with others in accountability, having a marathon runner’s mentality, and not depending only on emotions and feeling to gauge the health of your spirituality!

– makes sure that there is nothing else that competes in priority with God – jobs, relationships, materialism, money, fame, comfort, nothing.  And yet, this type of soil recognizes that even though we don’t place high priority in these things, God always provides an abundance of his blessings in their place!

The parable of the sower can seem like a strict parable of warning, as in what negative things to look for in our lives.  While this is true, we also can be more proactive with the passage, and can take certain steps to prepare, and make our hearts into good soil.  Let’s all be proactive with our hearts this week, not merely working to identify what is wrong, but taking time to make our hearts right, to be more receptive to what God is saying and doing in our lives.

Questions:

1. What type of soil/heart best describes your heart right now?

2. In what ways can you make sure that Satan doesn’t steal the Word from your heart before it has any chance to really take root?

3. In what ways can you develop strong roots in your life?

4. In what ways can you clear the soil of your heart so that nothing chokes the Word?

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Posted in: Uncategorized
3 Responses “11.19.08, Mark 4:1-20” →
  1. I’ve always had some questions about this passage. Mainly, I just feel that the seeds are scattered so arbitrarily — if you happen to get good soil, then you’ll have the chance to grow. But what if you are scattered in a place with thorns, but actually want to grow? Is there some way you can be transplanted to a place with good soil? In this parable, it doesn’t seem like everyone has the potential to grow in Christ more due to outside factors than internal factors, and I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this correctly.


  2. peterwchin

    November 21, 2008

    i think in that case, the identity of the sower is important. God is that sower, and so we have to realize that the way in which we are scattered is not arbitrary, and the thorns or the rocks are not impossible for us to overcome because God has placed in our situations for a reason.

    also, there are no external situations or locations that don’t have its share of thorns, or rocks, or birds. we would like to think if we were transplanted to a new location we would be free from all of these obstacles. but really, those obstacles just change their form, from worries about school into worries about work, into worries about money, into worries about family. different situations just have different obstacles.

  3. I would like to propose a slightly different interpretation to this passage (in response to Lula’s question). In verse 14 it says that “the farmer sows the word” which I interpret to mean that God sows his word (Gospel) into our lives – so we aren’t the seeds, we’re the soil. In other words, God sows his seed into all of our lives, but depending on the condition of our lives (which is at least somewhat in our control), we may or may not choose to accept his word. It’s also neat to think about evangelism in light of this analogy because we can think of it as helping to prepare, till, weed, and remove rocks from other peoples land so that the word of God can take root in their lives.

11.19.08, Mark 4:1-20

Posted on November 19, 2008


The Parable of the Sower

1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.  2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

What is Good Soil?

This passage needs little explanation, as it has Jesus’ own explanation built into it!  It would be kind of presumptuous to think that I could explain it any better.  So rather than rehashing what Jesus has made clear, let’s try another angle and figure out what good soil looks like using the image of the bad soil.

Good soil…

– realizes that there is not just an internal battle, but an external one that tries to prevent God’s Word from taking root in our lives.  This means that at times, those little things that prevent us from reading or getting into Scripture, are NOT little things, but may be the Enemy’s attempt to rob you of your harvest!

– takes time to develop strong roots, so that their growth is not driven by emotionalism, and cannot be halted by circumstances.  Strong roots are developed by putting the Word into daily practice, walking with others in accountability, having a marathon runner’s mentality, and not depending only on emotions and feeling to gauge the health of your spirituality!

– makes sure that there is nothing else that competes in priority with God – jobs, relationships, materialism, money, fame, comfort, nothing.  And yet, this type of soil recognizes that even though we don’t place high priority in these things, God always provides an abundance of his blessings in their place!

The parable of the sower can seem like a strict parable of warning, as in what negative things to look for in our lives.  While this is true, we also can be more proactive with the passage, and can take certain steps to prepare, and make our hearts into good soil.  Let’s all be proactive with our hearts this week, not merely working to identify what is wrong, but taking time to make our hearts right, to be more receptive to what God is saying and doing in our lives.

Questions:

1. What type of soil/heart best describes your heart right now?

2. In what ways can you make sure that Satan doesn’t steal the Word from your heart before it has any chance to really take root?

3. In what ways can you develop strong roots in your life?

4. In what ways can you clear the soil of your heart so that nothing chokes the Word?

Posted in: Uncategorized
3 Responses “11.19.08, Mark 4:1-20” →
  1. I’ve always had some questions about this passage. Mainly, I just feel that the seeds are scattered so arbitrarily — if you happen to get good soil, then you’ll have the chance to grow. But what if you are scattered in a place with thorns, but actually want to grow? Is there some way you can be transplanted to a place with good soil? In this parable, it doesn’t seem like everyone has the potential to grow in Christ more due to outside factors than internal factors, and I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this correctly.


  2. peterwchin

    November 21, 2008

    i think in that case, the identity of the sower is important. God is that sower, and so we have to realize that the way in which we are scattered is not arbitrary, and the thorns or the rocks are not impossible for us to overcome because God has placed in our situations for a reason.

    also, there are no external situations or locations that don’t have its share of thorns, or rocks, or birds. we would like to think if we were transplanted to a new location we would be free from all of these obstacles. but really, those obstacles just change their form, from worries about school into worries about work, into worries about money, into worries about family. different situations just have different obstacles.

  3. I would like to propose a slightly different interpretation to this passage (in response to Lula’s question). In verse 14 it says that “the farmer sows the word” which I interpret to mean that God sows his word (Gospel) into our lives – so we aren’t the seeds, we’re the soil. In other words, God sows his seed into all of our lives, but depending on the condition of our lives (which is at least somewhat in our control), we may or may not choose to accept his word. It’s also neat to think about evangelism in light of this analogy because we can think of it as helping to prepare, till, weed, and remove rocks from other peoples land so that the word of God can take root in their lives.

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