| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 96 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
The first parable, that of the Sower, is given in the three Synoptic Gospels. It is, in a
sense, a key parable, for Mark records the words of the Lord, "Know ye not this parable?
and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mark 4: 13). The chief point stressed is the
condition of the soil, rather than the seed. Perhaps it is truer to call this parable, the
parable of the soils, rather than the parable of the sower. In each of these Gospels we
have four kinds of ground which the Lord interprets, and we must take great care to note
this and adhere to it.
Much heresy and confusion has resulted from the fanciful explanations of these
parables and this must be avoided. Those who listened knew the O.T. Scriptures, and
moreover had no church doctrine in their minds for this was then unrevealed. The
student of the Scriptures should carefully compare the parable as stated in Matt. 13:,
Mark 4:, and Luke 8:, and note where they differ in detail, but the picture as a whole
is the same in the three accounts.
We must keep to the Israelitish setting, remembering the Lord limited His own
ministry and that of the Twelve to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (10: 5, 6; 15: 24).
The Lord's first explanation is that "the sower (not a sower) went out to sow" (13: 3). It
is important not to add our ideas to the Lord's. He does not say here, "the sower is the
Son of Man". That is reserved for the parable of the Tares. The sower is not named, but
he sows the word of the kingdom of heaven.
Again it does not tells us here that the "field is the world". Luke informs us that the
various sowings in different kinds of ground had reference to the hearts or minds of those
who heard the Word. The seed of the kingdom of heaven had more than one sower. John
the Baptist was the first, as we have seen. It was followed by the sowing of the Lord
Jesus Christ, and then Peter and the Apostles during the Acts period. They proclaimed
the immanent coming back of the King on the repentance of Israel (Acts 3: 19-26). In
spite of this, the ministry from a human standpoint was a failure and we must notice the
same thing regarding the first 3 sowings of the kingdom seed in the parable now before
However, the earthly kingdom purpose of God cannot finally fail, hence the parable
and prophecy in general indicates that the fourth sowing of the gospel of the kingdom
seed will finally be fruitful and this will take place at the end of the age.
The Baptist preached the good news of the coming Kingdom, but its realization
depended upon the command to Israel to repent and turn to the Lord. It is true of course
that each sowing had something of the four kinds of ground among its hearers,
nevertheless each had its special characteristics.