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The Parable of the Sower (1 of 4)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
Chapter 13 of Matthew is a crucial chapter in the Bible. It is a chapter that every believer should seek to understand thoroughly. The rebellion against Jesus Christ is beginning to reach its peak. He has now turned His attention from the nation of Israel to all who will come to Him. The big question now is, "What about the kingdom now that the King has been refused?" And the answer to that question is in Matthew 13. In this chapter Christ begins to outline the "mysteries of the kingdom" and explains what the "kingdom of heaven" is like during this present age.
And, in this chapter, Jesus seeks to outline the "mysteries of the kingdom" by the use of parables. Now, a parable has been described as "a heavenly story with an earthly meaning." A parable is a story in which something familiar explains something that is unfamiliar.
The condition of the people's hearts made it necessary for Christ to use parables. Notice Matthew 13:13-15 (read). Here Christ is quoting the prophet Isaiah to explain why He was using parables. The hearts, the ears, the eyes of the people had become dull, hard and blind. By using parables, He was exciting the curiosity of the concerned, those who really wanted to know the truth. But he was also hiding the truth from the rebellious.
Now, Jesus was a master storyteller and He would use these parables, these illustrations, to sometimes explain the mysteries of life, or the mysteries of the kingdom, as is the case here in Matthew 13.
I wish that life was as easily explained as that great philosopher of the comic strips, Charlie Brown, once deduced that it was.
Lucy is saying to him, "Life is a mystery, Charlie Brown.... Do you know the answer?"
Charlie Brown answers, "Be kind, don't smoke, be prompt, smile a lot, eat sensibly, avoid cavities, mark your ballot correctly, avoid too much sun, send overseas packages early, love all creatures above and below, insure your belongings, and try to keep the ball low...."
Before he can get out another platitude, Lucy interrupts, "Hold real still, because I'm going to hit you a very sharp blow upon the nose!"
Well, Jesus is not just giving out platitudes here, but He is effectively explaining the "mysteries of the kingdom." He was using the parabolic method as a wedge to open up the hard hearts of the people, and to give them the opportunity to see the truth in picture form, to cause them to get interested, to get their attention again, and to help them move on to find saving truth.
Now, let's look at this parable of the sower.
I. THE TASK OF THE SOWER
Notice what Jesus said in verse 3. He said, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow." So, first of all, we see the task, the responsibility of the sower. The picture is a common one in Bible lands. One morning the man gets up and he walks out of his village into the countryside where the fields are. He has a leather bag of seed arou ...
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