Matthew 13:1-23 The Parable of The Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;     though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;     you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;     they hardly hear with their ears,     and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,     hear with their ears,     understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Sower

The Sower went and spread the seed over many different kinds of soil.  THis had varying results.  The seed didn’t change but the soil did.  With this in mind the parable might be called the Parable of the Soils.  Jesus continues to hide hi,self.  This time he cloaks his real meaning in stories,.  Only those disciples who come to him afterward and have the meaning revealed actually get the insight to know what Jesus is talking about.

The Pharisees and scribes would be in mind for those who are like rock.  They do not accommodate Jesus at all.  The crowds are split into two categories, there are those who are shallow and enjoy a good story and there are those who get it but give up.    Finally there are those who dedicate their lives to being a true disciple of Jesus.  These people find that they reap a harvest for the Kingdom of God that they do not anticipate.

How would you make a case for which kind of soil you are?  You can be hard to Jesus teaching and resist his claims on your life.  You can be well-intentioned but busy or just not willing to put in the effort to develop a true relationship.  You can be well-intentioned but fail to associate difficulty with your relationship with Jesus.  Finally you can follow through on your commitment to Jesus and develop a deeper relationship with him which is known by its fruit.


  1. What kinds of soils are there?
  2. Why did the disciples come to Jesus after he had told the story?
  3. Why does Jesus not make himself clear?
  4. How do you invest in relationships even when they are not easy?
  5. How is Jesus bearing fruit in your life?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to Matthew 13:1-23 The Parable of The Sower

  1. Kristen Patush says:

    What kinds of soils are there?

    Path where the birds came and ate it, rocky places where there was not much soil, other soil with thorns that came up and choked the plants, and finally good soil where a crop was produced.

    Why did the disciples come to Jesus after he had told the story?

    They did not understand the meaning of the parable Jesus told. They wanted clarification.

    Why does Jesus not make himself clear?

    So that the disciples will come and ask him about the meaning.

    How do you invest in relationships even when they are not easy?

    I’m finding more and more as I go through college, it takes more and more intentionality with my relationships. Coming up with specific times to meet and share about our lives, pray, ect.

    How is Jesus bearing fruit in your life?

    I find I learn the most from my relationship with others. Through conversations and opportunities to minister. I think that is when I bear fruit the most.

  2. Kelli says:

    1. The path, where birds came to eat it. The rocky soil, where they could not develop roots and the sun scorched them. Thorny soil, where the weeds choked the young plants. And good soil, where it produced crops of various yields.
    2. They asked him why he was speaking in parables.
    3. The people’s hearts had become hardened and they would not hear. Jesus knew the disciples would come to him. He gave them the secrets of the kingdom.
    4. At the moment, there are relationships where I am following God’s lead and attempting to pour into people even when it isn’t easy. By the grace of God, I am investing in them and seeking to love them sacrificially. But there are other relationships where I know I need to do more.
    5. I feel that this is a time of much growth for me after a long dry season. I am thankful for the grace of God, that he pursues us through the valley and brings us out the other side. He is showing me several areas where I need to grow. And I have a sense that he is preparing our family for a new phase of minstry. I don’t know what that will look like, but I want to be listening carefully for his leading.

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