Interpreting the parable of the sower as simply about coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus is missing its full significance. The familiarity of the story can cause you to switch off to an interpretation that is relevant to both the new and the experienced Christian.
The parable of the sower is the first reference to a parable in Mark’s. Perhaps it could be called the ‘parable of the different soils’, because fundamentally how different soils respond to the seed is it’s main feature. There’s also something unique about this parable because Jesus said, if you don’t understand it, how will you understand all the parables?
The word of God
Jesus said, “The seed is the word of God.” Every time God speaks, this parable happens. Every Sunday we have a dynamic experience of the parable of the sower. As we sit and hear the word, we represent all kinds of different soils, different ways of responding to what is being said. Week by week, as we gather in churches, seed is being thrown and different hearts are receiving the word of God in different ways.
It may be a word about prayer, faith or victory over sin. It may be a word about your family or financial resources. Words are coming to you. Words that have power, that can change you, save you or rescue you from anxiety, fear and small vision. A dynamic process takes place. These words can produce life. How you receive them is the big issue. How do you receive these words? So please don’t think ‘oh I know about the parable of the sower’. No, it’s about how we receive what God is saying to you about all sorts of things.
Jesus imparts life!
Jesus said, ‘My words are Spirit and life’. He is a life imparting Spirit. He can impart life to you. You can be full of anxiety; He can change that with a word. You may have problems with lust; He can change that with a word. You may have all sorts of things that we battle with; a word can set you free. The question is, how do we respond to these words?
What kind of soil are you?
In the next few posts, we will explore the different kinds of responses to God’s word through this parable.
This post is adapted from a sermon preached at King’s Church Kingston called “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear”