The Parable of the Sower

Long Story Short — Parables of Jesus

Speaker: Ty Neal
Date: January 29, 2017

We all love good stories - especially when they are short and punchy. Jesus was the master storyteller. Many times throughout the Gospels, he told short stories, called parables, that left challenging and life-changing impacts on the listener's life. Join us as we walk through some of Jesus' parables. Long Story Short. January 29th - April 9th at Grace Point Church

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries…

Matthew 13:3-8
[3] And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. [5] Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, [6] but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. [7] Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. [8] Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Matthew 13:9
He who has ears, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:10-11
[10] Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” [11] And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

Reveal & Conceal

Matthew 13:12-17
[12] 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. [13] This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. [14] Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
[15] 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.’

[16] But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. [17] 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.

Kingdom, Grace & Judgment

Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.—C.S. Lewis

Matthew 13:12
[12] 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.

Amos 8:11
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says…”Thy will be done.”—C.S. Lewis

Deaf Listener

Matthew 13:18-19
[18] “Hear then the parable of the sower: [19] When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

Superficial Listener

Matthew 13:20-21
[20] As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshipping an idealized version of yourself.—Tim Keller

Distracted Listener

Matthew 13:22
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough…. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is…they’re unconscious. They are default settings.—Davis Foster Wallace

Fruitful Listener

Matthew 13:23
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Galatians 5:19-21
[19] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22-23
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Instead, this parable says that the true coming of the Word of God, even if you see it, doesn’t look like very much - and that when it does finally get around to doing its real work, it is so mysterious that it can’t even be found at all. That is the second thing about seeds: they disappear. But in the profound sense, they disappear because once they are thus covered, they eventually become not only unrecognizable but undiscoverable as well: as far as their own being is concerned, they simply die and disappear. Think of what that says about Jesus and how it reechoes through his whole ministry. He, as the Word, comes to his own and his own receive him not. He is despised. He is the stone the builders rejected. He is ministered to, not in his own recognizable form but in the sick, the imprisoned, and the generally down-and-out. And to cap his whole career as the Word sown in the field of the world, he dies, rises, and vanishes. His entire work proceeds as does the work of a seed: it takes place in a mystery, in secret - in a way that, as Luther said, can neither be known nor felt, but only believed, trusted. Once again, that is not our idea of how a respectable divine operation ought to be run. We would rather have causalities and agencies that were a bit more proportionate to their results. Given our druthers, our pet illustration of the kingdom would probably be a giant nail - driven into the world, appropriately enough, by a giant hammer in the hand of a giant God. Something noisy and noticeable. But a seed? Oh, come now.—Robert Capon

John 15:4-5
[4] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. [5] I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries…

Matthew 13:9
He who has ears, let him hear.”