During my next visit, I gave her a Bible. In a return visit, I saw her Bible sitting on a shelf. She said, “I haven’t read it yet.” I encouraged her that her house could be a place to share Christ with her friends. The next week, I called and asked when we could meet again. “I don’t want to meet with you. You lied!” Before I could explain, she hung up.
A different outcome came with someone else. He experienced one trial after another, but persevered and grew in Christ. Why do we see these different levels of receptivity?
Jesus’ parable of the soils, also known as the parable of the sower, is found in three places (Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8). A farmer sows seed along a path, rocky places, thorns, and good soil.
On the path, birds came and ate up the seed. On the rocky places, plants sprang up quickly but withered without roots in shallow soil. The thorns in the third soil choked the plants so they didn’t bear grain. The fourth soil bore abundant fruit.
Jesus introduced his interpretation of this parable by quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. People’s hardened hearts prevented them from embracing spiritual truth for healing (Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10).
Let’s combine Jesus’ interpretation in these three accounts
(Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15). For seed sown on the path, the evil one snatched it away so they couldn’t believe and be saved. For the rocky soil, the man heard the word and received it with joy for a short time until trouble or persecution came. Worries of this life, deceitfulness of wealth, desires for other things, and pleasures choked the word, which made the thorny soil unfruitful (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:18-19; Luke 8:14).
What about the good soil?
Let’s first look at the preceding context of Matthew 13:
- We are in a spiritual battle. A heart filled by the Holy Spirit can drive out demons. “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:22-37; see vs. 34)
- Even though we aren’t perfect, a spiritual life filled with Jesus equips us to share His word. Even though he sought worldly comfort, Jonah repented of his sin and preached the word in Nineveh (Matthew 12:38-41a; book of Jonah). Jesus is greater than Jonah (Matthew 12:41b-42).
- Jesus relates with those who do God’s will (Matthew 12:46-50).
Description of good soil
The good soil yields both quantity and character.
- Quantity: Matthew 13:18 said the good soil bore 100, 60, 30 times what was sown. Mark 4:8 said the crop multiplied 30, 60, 100 times. Luke 8:8 said the crop yielded 100 times more than was sown.
- Character: Hear, understand, accept, and retain the word by persevering with a noble and good heart (Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15
To share God’s word with everyone, the quality of our spiritual life is key.
To read past blogs, go to https://www.markpomeroy.com/