The Sower and the Seed

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Most likely the majority of the seed fell on good ground and was productive, though not all seed produced equally. The average Palestinian harvest is thought to have yielded seven and a half to ten times the seed sown. So harvests yielding thirty to a hundred times the seed invested were extraordinarily abundant for the area. Jesus uses this phrase seven times in the Synoptic Gospels and eight times in the book of Revelation.

It is necessary to take in what is heard, to comprehend it, and assimilate it. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.

The disciples wanted to know why Jesus used the medium of parables as a means to convey His message. Why did He speak cryptically instead of spelling things out for the people?

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. But that interpretation would convey the exact opposite of what we generally understand about Jesus and His mission and about the intent of the parables. It seems unlikely that Jesus would use a method of conveying His message that would intentionally hide His message and make it difficult to understand.

Isaiah was a prophet, and Jesus, though more than a prophet, did portray Himself as a prophet, and the people saw Him as such. The message of Isaiah, and most of the other Old Testament prophets, was that Israel had gone too far in their turning away from God and that judgment was already decreed by God. In quoting Isaiah —10, Jesus was referring to those who, though they had heard and understood, chose not to obey because of their hard hearts.

The text of Isaiah speaks about how people hear but do not understand. A closer look at the wording of Isaiah shows that the people comprehended the message, but they were not willing to repent. Many followed Jesus. He raised up many disciples from beyond the inner circle, as one sees clearly from the book of Acts and the history of his early band of followers. Nonetheless, not all received the word with a good heart. When Jesus spoke about the secrets or mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, the original Greek word translated here as secrets does not refer to what is mysterious and unknown, but to revelation—to what would be unknown if God had not revealed it.

To those like the disciples who heard, believed, and made a commitment, Jesus said it was given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

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However, to those who refused to believe, it has not been given. The disciples who believed, and thus had been given the secret, were then in a position to gain more spiritual truth and revelation, while those who rejected were not given more teaching and lost the teaching they had heard. In the manner of spiritual perception, both gain and loss are compounded; it is the disciples, to whom the secret has already been given, who are now in a position to benefit from further teaching. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. The disciples are blessed because they see and hear, they understand, they commit. They are blessed in the same sense that blessed is used in the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five.

What they are seeing and hearing is that to which prophecy has been pointing throughout the centuries. Jesus is saying that his mission in the world is the culmination of the purpose of God made clear in prophecies from of old. The servants of God in olden times may have looked for these days and desired to be involved in them. But that was not their privilege. Having explained to the disciples why He taught in parables, Jesus went on to interpret the parable for His disciples. Used by permission.


All rights reserved. Eerdmans Publishing Company, , — Eerdmans Publishing Company, , Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is the seed sown along the path. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Where then did the weeds come from? At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Parable of the Sower: Bible Background

Whoever has ears, let them hear. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. Where then did this man get all these things? All rights reserved worldwide.

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Matthew Consider, then, the parable of the sower:

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