When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. “Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. “Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. “Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”Luke 8:4-8
Well we have covered a lot of things in our attempt to understand this parable thoroughly. We have looked at the connection of the parable to what’s around it. We’ve looked at the comparison with the other synoptic gospels. We have looked at the soils involved. We’ve looked at the 30/60/100 inclusion and the differences between the gospel writers but have not got to the crux yet. Oh, we have been building our awareness and the pieces of the puzzle as we have done all that. But we are not there yet. It reminds me of the refrain in 1 King 19 with the response related to the wind, earthquake and fire – “but the Lord was not in the _____ “. It is like that with the parable of the soil. We have gone all around looking at the interpretations that have been put on this parable. But I suspect a lot them miss the point. “But the Lord was not in the interpretation.”
Certainly the prosperity doctrine stand badly misses the mark along with most other interpretations. Yes, even the new thought that I drew to your attention in the previous Gem. The funny thing about this parable is that I didn’t need to go on this circuitous route to finding the answer. I just needed to move on through the biblical text. But I have done it both deliberately and I suspect under the inspiration of the Lord. Why? Stop and think for a moment. There are all sorts of angles on this passage and things written by people on what they think it means. But all of them badly miss the mark. Why would I say that? How can I be so arrogant to say that, especially after quoting the Rick Warren statement yesterday – I believe in the absolute inerrancy of Scripture, I do not believe in the inerrancy of my interpretation – or yours either. This is why I wrote after Rick Warren’s quote: “I hold the input today loosely.” It all has to fit with one thing and at this point I don’t see how it can fit. What thing Ian? What are you talking about?
There are between 46 – 57 parables of Jesus recorded in Scripture. The difference in totals is dependent on what one regards as a parable and what one regards as an illustration to a point. For how many of these does Jesus include the answer, or explain the parable? Just two! Both of them are found in this portion of Scripture. The explanation of the Parable of the Sower (or what I am calling the Parable of the Soils) is found in Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:13-20. Luke 8:11-15. The only other parable which comes complete with explanation is the Parable of the Tares. Matthew 13:24-30 with the explanation found in Matthew 13:36-43.
Well isn’t that interesting only 2/46 or 2/57 parables come complete with explanation. And what do we do with the explanation? It seems totally ignore it and come up with our own explanation. It must be that way otherwise we wouldn’t have people using the Parable of the Soils to preach a prosperty message.
I wonder whether Jesus made sure there was explanation for these two parables because He knew how badly off the track we would go, even with the explanation. I am loath to claim that the input I gave you yesterday relating to the Parable of the Soils is “the answer” or even an answer because I don’t see yet how it connects with the Word. For anything to be an explanation of the Parable of the Soils it must connect with the Word of God. Why? Because Jesus says categorically “The seed is the Word of God”. Anything that does not take into account that the seed is the Word of God misses the mark.
Read Jesus’ explanation and then go back and re-read the (first part of the) parable again. Read it in all three gospels where it is recorded.
Then and only then are we in a position to talk in an informed way about the parable. Notice too that these two parables – the Parable of the Soils and the Parable of the Tares are linked together in Matthew.
I said it was simple – Jesus told us the answer. I didn’t say it wouldn’t take any sweat to deal with it.
Everybody has a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Only God sees the picture on the box.Max Lucado
A bad teacher complains; a good teacher explains; the best teacher inspires.Anon
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.Anon
Better to ask a question + be a fool for 3 minutes, than not to ask a question + be a fool the rest of your life?Rick Godwin
But when the teacher tells you the answer pay attention to it.Ian Vail
Progress never happens in the Comfort Zone. Like working out, if you want exceptional results, be ready to break a sweat!Rick Godwin
The best teachers show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.
(A gift given to me by my Brazilian Deeper Bible students.)Anon