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13: 20 - 32.
pp. 121 - 125
John the Baptist's sowing of the Kingdom seed fell upon hearts which, like the
wayside, had become hardened with continual treading and tradition. Thus it was easy
for the Wicked One (Satan) to catch away that which was sown in their minds (13: 19).
We should note that there is a double application in the parable, for the seed sown not
only represents the word of the Kingdom, but the sons of the Kingdom as well. When the
Lord Jesus interprets the parable, He says "this is he that was sown by the wayside . . . . .
he that was sown upon rocky places, this is he that heareth the word . . . . . he that was
sown among thorns", and the same intermingling is seen in Mark 4: and Luke 8:
When the application relates to those who are the real children of the Kingdom, their
identity is lost in that of the seed sown, and they are thus linked with the truth that is
being set forth.
The great majority of the Baptist's hearers, which included the Pharisees, failed to
understand his message, clear though it was. He likened them to a generation of vipers
and warned them to flee from the wrath to come (Matt. 3: 7). Later on the Lord Himself
called them "the children of the devil" (John 8: 44), although they themselves claimed
to be the "children of Abraham" (John 8: 33). It was not hard therefore for Satan to
snatch the seed away from them.
We come now to the stony ground hearers. These were in rocky places which
evidently consisted of ledges of rock with thin layers of soil on them. The seed shot up at
once. There were immediate results, but they did not last. These hearers received the
message with joy, but only "for a while". Christ said to them "he (John the Baptist) was
a burning and shining light and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light"
(John.v.35). When the hot sun of persecution came on them, they were "scorched" and
"withered away because they had no root" (Matt. 13: 6). Their shallowness became only
too evident; quick to believe, apparently, but quick also to take offence when trouble
Such were some of the disciples who first of all walked with the Lord, but soon were
saying concerning Christ's teaching, "this is a hard saying; who can hear it?.....from that
time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him" (John 6: 60-67).
Similarly, in Luke 4: we have the record of those who heard the Lord's discourse in the
synagogue and we are told, "all bear Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words
which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4: 22). Within a few minutes the same people
"were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the
brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong"
(Luke 4: 28, 29).