The Parable of the Sower

Posted by Thaddaeus

Matthew 13: 1-9


On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.  And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.  It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.  Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.  But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,  a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.”



Background:  Jesus has just cured a blind and dumb demoniac in the house where he is teaching the disciples about the mysteries of the kingdom.  The Pharisees hear about the miracle and proclaim it is done through the Canaanite divinity, Beelzebul, which means Lord of the flies.  Infuriated, Jesus goes out of the house rebuking another man who tells him that his mother and brothers wish to have a word with him.  He goes out to teach by the sea, which signifies that he leaves Judea because their sinful unbelief.  Judea by faith is the House of the Lord.  From the shore, Jesus steps into a boat, which symbolizes the Church.  He speaks to them in parables.  By this action it signifies that they who are without a Church can have no understanding of the Divine Word.  His message is concealed to them by design.  Their closed minds and hardened hearts prevent them from hearing God’s word and taking root in their lives.


The Parable of the Sower:  The day Jesus goes out to the sea is the so-called “day of the parables.”  Matthew presents seven parables that all focus on the Kingdom of God.  Parables are short stories designed to teach a moral or religious lesson.  In the New Testament it primarily designates stories that compare Christian truths with everyday life events.  The disciples approach Jesus and want to know why he teaches in parables.  He tells them that the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are revealed to them, but not to the multitudes.  Jesus speaks to the crowds in parables because a clearer message would have been misunderstood.  His death and resurrection is the secret work that explains the message.  The message is that God’s Kingdom (salvation) is available to all; not just the Jews.  A clearer message would have only got him killed.  In time, it will be their duty to reveal what they learned in private.