The Parable of the Sower (Come, Follow Me: Mark 4) – powered by Happy Scribe
We read, Listen, a sower went out to sow, and as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding 30 and 60 and a hundredfold. And then he said, Let anyone with ears to hear listen. Note that the parable begins and ends with a call to listen. When the disciples asked Christ for an explanation of this parable, He said, The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the wayside where the word is sown. But when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately and takeeth away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise, which are sown on stony ground, who when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness and have no root in themselves and so endure, but for a time.
Afterwards, when affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns, such as hear the word. And the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things entering in choke the Word, and it becomeeth un fruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground, such as hear the Word and receive it and bring forth fruit. Some 30fold, some 60, and some 100. We can see this parable from many different angles. For example, imagine you’re a teacher or a sibling or a ministering sister, and you’re trying to help plant the Word in somebody’s heart, but it seems like they have stony ground. Maybe for you, the message from this parable is, I should work on cultivating the soil before I plant the seed. Another way we could read the parable is to think about ourselves as the different types of soil. I could ask, how’s my soil doing? Am I part of the group that never really understood the word? Am I on the way side? Perhaps parts of me are good soil, but other sections are a little rocky.
Where do I need to more fully cultivate my soil? Notice, too, that all the groups hear the word, but the unique thing about the good ground is they not only hear the word, they receive it and then they do something with it. They produce fruit. Am I receiving and doing something with the word? And that leads to the question, what is meant by the word in this parable? It says, The sower soweth the word. One possible meaning is that it represents the teachings of Jesus or the gospel message. Another possibility is that it refers to Jesus himself. The Greek word translated as word in this parable is the same one used in John 1, In the beginning was the word, and the word was made flesh and dwelled among us. I’m not suggesting that there’s an intentional textual parallel, but it’s an interesting connection. In the Book of Mormon, Alma gives a sermon where he discusses the word and seeds, like we see in the parable of the sower. He says, We will compare the Word unto a seed. Note that Alma doesn’t say faith is like a seed. He says, We will compare the Word to a seed.
He also says nourish the Word. Alma seems to have something specific in mind when he says, The seed the word. At the end of this discourse to the Zoramites, Alma says, Begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins, and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection. I desire that you shall plant this word in your hearts. So the word that Alma was talking about is Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. That’s what he wants us to plant. As we ponder this parable, there are lots of application questions we could ask ourselves. What could I do today to hear the word, to receive the Word, to do something with the Word? For example, could we find opportunities, perhaps while getting ready in the morning or while waiting in mind, to hear more of the Savior’s words? Or are there ways we could more fully receive Christ’s atoning sacrifice and act on it? To see more videos like this one, simply search Seeking Jesus. you.