Parable of the Sower and the Four Soils: Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23; Mark 4:3-8, 14-20; Luke 8:5-8, 11-15
The parable of the sower and the four soils is a story told by Jesus to illustrate how people react to the word of God.
To begin, Jesus tells us about a person who is sowing seed. The seed ends up falling on four types of soil:
These seeds all have different fates.
After Jesus tells this story, Jesus’ disciples ask him why he speaks in parables. Jesus explains why, and then he explains the meaning of the parable of the sower and the four soils.
The seed represents the word of God, and the four soils represent four different ways people react to God’s word.
Seed on the Path
The seed sown on the path, and eaten by birds, represents anyone who hears the word of God and does not understand it. Therefore, what they have heard is snatched away from their heart by the devil.
This situation is a classic example of "to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away." (Luke 8:18) Those who have understanding will understand more and more. However, those who do not understand, even what understanding they seem to have will be taken away.
Jesus begins Luke 8:18 by saying, "Then pay attention to how you listen," which means anyone can understand as long as they listen carefully.
Seed on Rocky Ground
The seed that falls on the rocky ground represents someone who hears the word of God and immediately receives it with joy. However, they have no root or foundation, so they do not last very long. Jesus says, "when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away." (Matt. 13:21)
Seed Choked by Thorns
The seed that falls on the ground with thorns is representing someone who hears God’s word, but all the concerns of the world (such as the enticement of having lots of money) ends up choking the word.
The word of God is not able to yield any fruit in that person’s life.
Seed on Good Soil
The seed that falls on good soil represents "the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields." (Matt. 13:23) This situation is the perfect example of someone who "to those who have, more will be given." (Luke 8:18)
Thankfully, because God has given us freewill, we are able to choose which kind of soil we are. If we do not understand something, we can pursue understanding until we do. We can research, ask questions, and learn.
As this parable of the sower and four soils illustrates, only seed that produces fruit is considered to have fallen on good soil. If the word of God does not produce fruit in our lives, then our hearts are not fertile soil for God's word. This is because Our Actions Reveal the Truth about what we truly believe and they reveal whether we really understand the Meaning of Repentance and Salvation.
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