Jesus was the Master Teacher and often used parables to help His disciples understand what He was trying to show them. A parable is a creative teaching tool that compares two things, and it always has one central point. In Matthew 4:1-20, Jesus compares a person's heart to soil. In this parable, The sower represents Jesus and the seed represents the Word of God. Since Jesus and the disciples spent a great deal of their time in a farming context, this parable would have made a lot of sense to them. In verse 11, Jesus says, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God..." He wants to be revealed to us as His children.
The sower sows the Word "along the path", and the Word falls onto 4 different soils.
- HARD HEART (seed lands on the path and does not take root) - "When they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them." qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq
- SHALLOW HEART (seed lands on rocky soil) - "the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away." qqqqqqqq
- PREOCCUPIED HEART (seed lands among thorns) - "other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful." 1. Worry 2. Deceitfulness of riches 3. Desire for all sorts of things qqqqqqqqqqqq
- SOFT HEART (good soil) - "the ones who hear the Word and accept it and hear fruit, thrityfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
To accept the Word means to receive it in a hospitable manner. When we come to the Word, we should come with expectation! We can always learn something new from a text we've read many times before.
To hear (akouo) means "hearing to heed". In other words, when you have heard something, you act on it. Mark uses this word 4x's in this passage, which is the first time he has used this word to this point. For the rest of Mark, he uses this word 40 more times!
Discuss as a Family:
- What is the condition of your heart? Is it getting softer or harder?
- How do you come into worship each Sunday?
- How and where are you aware of the war for your heart?
- What are the "thorns" that can choke the Word taking root in your life? How will you be careful regarding these thorns?