Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4: 1-9, Luke 8: 4-8
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Completely Non-Expert Interpretation:
Jesus must have known that 2000 years in the future, a sleep-deprived housewife, such as myself, would read this parable and would be unable to make heads or tails of it. Birds? Thorns? A hot sun? Ears that hear? There isn’t enough coffee in all the world to make this make sense for her. So for this parable, Jesus kindly provided an interpretation for those of us that are theological lightweights.
From Luke: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
This parable shows us the fruitlessness of apathetic responses to the word of God. Jesus is the sower and the condition of the soil in each scenario determines each person’s response. The path people are corrupted by satan (you gotta watch out for that guy!), the rocky ground people get super excited at first but never commit fully to the gospel and so never grow roots and fall away at the first sign of temptation (such as a hoarding toilet paper during a pandemic). The thorn people get ensnared and choked by the distractions, comforts and cares of the world (like money, power, lust and cake batter-flavored milkshakes). The good soil people fall in love with Christ and commit fully to the gospel (for instance, sticking around after parties to help clean up afterwards).
Jesus knows from experience that preaching the Gospel only converts cooperative hearts. But ever the optimist, He continues to sow with abandon, confident that there’s enough good soil, despite how things look sometimes, for an abundant yield of fruit* come harvest day.
*Bible talk for souls that want to join God’s team and work with him to make the world a as it was meant to be,