Matthew 13:1-9 Pointless Stories Jesus Told #1: 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.”

Pointless on Purpose

Jesus, as an educator I love this.  You make people think.  Not everyone has an ear to hear.  Most people who heard the story of the sower, would have thought, “Cute … but pointless.”  Some would have sought you out and asked you what the point was.  You didn’t reveal the point except if people asked you.  You kept talking about seeds and hidden things.  You were planting and those who became rich soil, or those who found the treasure would need to put in work.  Those who seek and dig find what the heck is going on.  Those who expect things to be handed on a plate get nothing.

We are living in such an entitled unthinking age.  I have to increasingly lay out every detail on my syllabi in case students get lost.  I have to provide example papers so that students know exactly what is required.  Many become overcome with anxiety faced with uncertainty and risk.  They have learned to depend on themselves, and when that won’t do, they become anxious, agressive, or apathetic.  However, Jesus, I have two types of student.  I have those who jump through the hoops, soothe their egos and get their paper so that they can go into ministry.  They develop a little spiritual kingdom when they graduate, but they will accomplish little for the Kingdom of God.  They don’t actively pursue anything, they don’t take academic risks, and they are actually immature.  Others ask hard questions, seek extra information, do not feel threatened by uncertainty and they are growing rapidly.  They are like seed planted in fertile soil.  Their desire and their strength is in You and they boldly seek you through Bible study, lecture, and personal meetings with those older in the faith than themselves.  They have ears to hear because they never stop being alert and growing.  Jesus, I want to be like them!  I want to hear your pointless stories and say afterward, with the disciples, “Jesus, what are you telling us?”  Like Jacob, I don’t want to let go until I receive the blessing.


  1. Describe the sower’s actions.
  2. Describe the soils.
  3. Why doesn’t Jesus explain to the crowd what each soil means?
  4. Why does a good teacher hide knowledge rather than reveal it?
  5. Do you ask questions and seek more from God in the world around you?

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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