The following within the book of Mathew, Jesus Presents the Parable of the Sower, wherein he begins to explain its meaning and the purpose of Parables.
While it is interesting to see how before things go right, that they must decline and go wrong, such periods within life are almost necessary for sustained growth.
This parable alludes to an interesting point, of how that which grows in nature, albeit a seed, must first reduce to the constituents of the earth itself.
Here John F. Craghan Professor emeritus of religious studies at St Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin presents his interpretation of apostle Mathew’s account of Jesus teachings, depicting how within passages 13:1 – 23 a new stage is marked.
• “Jesus has now met with considerable resistance. This lack of response makes him resort to the veiled language of parables (vv 10 – 17). Actually the intent of the parables is to teach, to challenge, to confront. Although Mathew has changed the intent of the parables, the parable itself does suggest a point in Jesus’ ministry when resistance and lack of response prompted a realistic appraisal of the law of loss and gain in the kingdom. Jesus counters the despair of his ministry by pronouncing this parable of hope.”
• “The parable is really the parable of the seed, not the sower. Apart from verse 3 and the later interpretation in verse 18, the parable deals only with the natural inevitability of succes and failure in sowing.”
“(In Palestine sowing often comes before plowing).”
• “There are three states of loss: immediate (path), gradual (rocks), and ultimate (thorns). There are three degrees of gain in the good soil: thirty, sixty, one hundred (hence as diverse as the losses). Significantly the parable spells out how things go wrong (path, rocks, thorns) but not how they go right. The parable thus points to the law of growth and decline in a kingdom. Although one can understand better how things go wrong, one is challenged to hope in that mysterious process whereby they go right. God’s mysterious plan is at work: good results do come, although the bad ones are more readily explained.”
Source – “Tell me, Jesus, who you are”.
Re-discovering Jesus in the Sunday Gospels, by John F. Craghan.
Book of Matthew 13: 1 – 23.
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.