The Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13:1-23
Why is it given to some but not to others to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God?
1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.
4 “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
5 “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.
6 “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.
7 “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
8 “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
17 “for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
20 “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21 “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
22 “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
23 “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Food for Thought
1. When was the last time you tuned out a preacher and why?
2. What are some spiritual clichés or religious catch-phrases people often use?
3. What misconceptions do Christians have about Christ?
4. What kind of stories did Jesus use to teach the crowds? (13:3)
5. Into what different kinds of places did the seed of the sower fall? (13:4-5)
6. Which seed ended up sprouting and bearing fruit and why? (13:8)
7. To whom did Jesus direct his story about the four soils? (13:9)
8. What new beatitude did Jesus present in this passage? (13:16-17)
9. To whom did Jesus liken the seed by the wayside and why? (13:19)
10. According to Jesus, who is like the seed sown on rocky soil and why? (13:20-21)
11. What kind of people were compared to seed sown among the thorns and why? (13:22)
12. Of whom is the fruitful field a picture and why? (13:23)
13. Who is the sower?
14. Is this really a parable of the sower or is it a parable of the soils?
15. Why did Jesus speak to the crowds in parables?
16. Do parables help or impede our understanding of the message of Jesus?
17. Why is it given to some but not to others to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God?
18. How does faith open us up to more and more spiritual insight?
19. What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable reveal about the seed?
20. What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable reveal about the farmer?
21. What is the implication of this passage for church growth?
22. What is the crop the seed of the word is supposed to produce?
23. How does Jesus heal?
24. In that period when your spiritual life was most unfruitful, what do you think was responsible?
25. What was the main factor at the time you produced the best crop?
26. What are some of the thorns that tend to choke out our faith in God and how?
27. What circumstances have a tendency to scorch our faith and cause it to wither?
28. Should a believer anticipate more persecution and tribulation than an unbeliever?
29. What steps could a believer take to improve the soil of his spiritual life?
30. What things did the disciples see and hear that the prophets longed to see and hear?
31. How could you ensure that you listen more faithfully and intently to the voice of God?
32. How could you become a more effective sower of God’s word?
33. How can you show gratitude to God today for opening your eyes to the truth of the Gospel?