Christ presented His prized commodity, the message of salvation demonstrated through compassion in Matt. 11-12, to all people. Jesus taught in parables for the purpose of instructing those who desired to learn and concealed His message from those who wanted to argue and not understand (Matt. 13:10-14). Storytelling was a great way in overcoming defenses, especially the truth of the gospel of the kingdom that required spiritual discernment.
We see two main themes presented in these seven parables:
1. Kingdom of God begins small and grows steadily despite opposition (wheat and weeds in Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; mustard seed in 13:31-32; leaven in 13:33 and dragnet in 13:46-50)
2. Kingdom of God entered at great cost since it has unlimited value (hidden treasure in Matt. 13:44; pearl in 13:45).
We two kinds of sowing:
1. Personal growth and fellowship as God’s word is sown in individuals (Matt. 13:18-23)
2. Ministry and mission of individuals as they share and live out gospel of kingdom in the world in midst of conflict (Matt. 13:36-43)[i]
As God sends His disciples into the harvest field, they will find some people who are overcome by satan as he immediately snatches the Word from them. Other people will be like a field of plantings whose roots wither due to the rocky soil where the Word can’t penetrate when trouble or persecution comes. Some people’s hearts and minds are like thorns where worries of the world or the love of riches choke out the Word. A small percentage bear fruit 100, 60 and 30 times what was sown.
The storytelling method of teaching using parables helps teachers communicate more unique insights in a vivid and enticing way compared to merely listing principles.[ii]
Describe the soil of your heart. Is it rocky, thorny or fruit bearing? How is your spiritual receptivity? Are you letting troubles, cares of this world or deceitful of riches block the word from your heart? Turn to God right now and be healed spiritually (Matt. 13:15).
[i] Announcing The Kingdom, pg. 191
[ii] The New American Commentary, pg. 225