Parable of the Sower: Mark 4:2-9
“2) And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, 3) “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow 4) and as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5) Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. 6) And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7) Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8) Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9) And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”” Mark‬ ‭4‬:‭2‬-9
Jesus was a master at using simple stories from everyday life to illustrate profound spiritual truth. This is one of those occasions. In this story, he is in the boat and tells the crowd gathered on the shore the following parable.
In the story, the farmer was doing his spring sowing. He had a bag full of valuable seed and was broadcasting it into his field. This approach was used for wheat and barley.
The sower took a handful of seed and as he walked along, he cast it evenly into his field. He repeated the process until the whole field was evenly covered with seed. Good sowers were skilled at this process.
The story focuses on four plights that came to the seed. As the sower was moving down the field, some seed fell on a hard packed pathway or road, and birds gathered behind him and started feeding on the seed. As the story goes, the sower kept right on sowing. He didn’t stop and start chasing birds. He knew the birds were going to devour some of his seed.
The second group of seed fell into rocky ground where it did not have much soil. The sun came up and heated the rocks and they spouted very quickly. Soon however, the daily sun baked the shallow soil and dried it out quickly. The result was that these plants quickly withered away. Unfortunately, the hot sun took its toll on more of the farmers valuable seed.
The third group of seed fell among the thorns. As it started growing, the thorns emerged and quickly choked the life out of the new plants. The thorns claimed more of the farmers valuable seed.
Finally, a good amount of the seed fell into good and productive soil. As these grew up and increased, they produced an amazing harvest of thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. They more than made up for the loss to the birds, rocks and thrones.
He closed His story by saying; “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” It was left to the hearer to ponder the story and squeeze meaning out of it.
Later, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. They were eager to understand its full meaning. The parable was having its intended affect. It was causing them to think and seek deeper truth. The story holds a wealth of wisdom and has many applications. It becomes the backdrop for the law of the sower seen throughout the Bible.
Such is the nature of parables. They cause the reader to think, meditate, learn and grow. Such is the intended purpose of parables. They yield a growing crop of wisdom for years to come.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global