The Parable of the Sower & The Hearing Heart
And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him
a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and
the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
unprecedented popularity from the people and strong opposition from the
Scribes and Pharisees which resulted in Jesus being charged with being in
league with the Devil.
God speaks and we
have a responsibility to listen.
God is speaking
through the Messiah cf:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the
fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his
Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the
This is the first
recorded teaching in parables and is also found cf:
Matt. 13:1-23 &
Mark's report is almost exactly like that of
for word, as well as the explanations that follow. Matthew gives the fullest
account of this day's teaching, reporting a number of parables not found in
Mark or elsewhere. The multitude was so large Jesus entered a small boat to
avoid the press of the crowd.
Mark 4:2 And he taught
them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
These parables are only
specimens of Jesus’ teaching. They are not all that He taught. This like
everything that is recorded was written to produce faith that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God. Cf:
John 20:30-31 And many
other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not
written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through his name
The Psalmist had
prophesied that the Messiah would speak in parables when He comes. cf:
Psalm 78:1-2 Give ear,
O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I
will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
Mark 4:3 Hearken;
Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Matthew defines the
sower as Jesus Matt 13:37, the seed as the Word of God Matt 13:19, and the
earth is the heart Matt13:19.
Mark 4:4 And it came
to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air
came and devoured it up.
This type of person is
a hard-hearted hearer. They are described as the wayside which was the paths
through the fields that have become hard.
Mark 4:5 And some fell
on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up,
because it had no depth of earth:
This type of person is
a shallow-hearted hearer.
Mark 4:6 But when the
sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mark 4:7 And some fell
among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no
This type of person is
a crowded-hearted hearer.
Mark 4:8 And other
fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and
brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
The Christian heart, a
true disciple of Christ.
Mark 4:9 And he said
unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mark 4:10 And when he
was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the
Mark 4:11 And he said
unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:
but unto them that are without, all these things are done in
Mark 4:12 That
seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not
understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins
should be forgiven them.
That seeing they
may see. Matthew 13:13 gives this saying more fully and clearly cf:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will
go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and
tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but
Make the heart of this people fat,
and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their
eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and
convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until
the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the
land be utterly desolate,
Mark 4:13 And he said
unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
This parable is so
simple and so obvious if you can’t get this one you will not be able to
understand the difficult parables.
Mark 4:14 The sower
soweth the word.
Cf: Matthew 13:37 He
answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Mark 4:15 And these
are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard,
Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their
The Hard Hearted
Hearer – The
thinking about GOD, ritualism, customs, practices. They just can’t put it
together and understand. Legalism is an example of this kind of person.
are marble hearted disciples who have their own ideas about GOD. Baptized
with a baptism of holy fervour instead of remission of sins – Refuse to
follow the light they have been given – Not being born again they have - No
I John 3:11-12 For this
is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one
another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his
brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and
his brother's righteous.
The path of their heart
is hard from past foot, hoof, and wheel and the seed cannot take root. With
each failure and rejection, hard defense barriers have been erected cf:
Hebrews 4:1-13 Let us
therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his
rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the
gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit
them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which
have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath,
if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the
foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh
day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing
therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was
first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a
certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said,
To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had
given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is
entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did
from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall
after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick,
and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any
creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked
and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the
just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him.
claim to have been “born and raised up in the
Church of Christ”
ignoring the fact that you must be born again to enter the Kingdom cf:
John 3:3 Jesus
answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And then God adds us to
the Church if we have come in the way appointed cf:
Act 2:47 Praising God,
and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved.
This kind of person has never really come to Jesus and allowed Him to deal
with their emotions (feelings) –
John 6:37 All that the
Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out
– or their will (life’s daily practices) cf:
Luke 6:46-49 And why
call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh
to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is
like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the
foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently
upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But
he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation
built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently,
and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Mark 4:16 And these
are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard
the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mark 4:17 And have no
root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction
or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
The Shallow Hearted
Hearer – The
A heart of
bedrock covered over with a thin layer of soil. A joyful beginning but like
a tire with a slow leak, it always needs air (more and more emotion) or it
The seed is
planted but the root soon reaches rock. It has no nourishment - intellect
I Pet 2:2
babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
and when the hot sun of
problems arises they don’t have the will to be a doer of the word cf:
But be ye doers
of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves
We must love
GOD with our minds and our lives as well as our feelings.
Mark 4:18 And these
are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mark 4:19 And the
cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other
things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The Crowded Hearted
Hearer – The
Carnal Sinful Disciple
GOD is demanding of us absolute loyalty and first place
in everything in our lives – the thorns are sin.
This disciple has no will to practice Christianity in his life. Cf:
I John 3:1-3 Behold,
what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be
called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew
him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear
what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like
him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in
him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
GOD wants to reign supreme in our heart. Cf:
Thou shalt have
no other gods before me.
honestly thank GOD for your pleasures in life while you are doing them?
Every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of
lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
If not, they are sin
I John 5:17
All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
Mark 4:20 And these
are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive
it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an
The Christian Heart
– A True Disciple of Christ
Luke amplifies Mark &
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart,
having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
I Kings 3:9
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that
I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so
great a people?
Evangelism saving the lost soul is the work of the Church and the most
important work we do … cf:
John 15:1-8 I am the
true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth
not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he
purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through
the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can
ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He
that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for
without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as
a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into
the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my
Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
And Christian Character
is very important fruit cf:
Galatians 5:22-26 But
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And
they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not
be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another
Mark 4:21 And he
said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a
bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
Is the lamp put
under a bushel?
The Jews used lamps instead of candles. These were set on, not a
candlestick, but a light stand. Cf:
Mark 4:22 For there is
nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept
secret, but that it should come abroad.
Mark 4:23 If any man
have ears to hear, let him hear.
Mark 4:24 And he
said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall
be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given
Take heed what
Luke 8:18 says,
"How you hear." Both admonitions are very important. Our ears should
be deaf to evil counsel. We should hear attentively, earnestly and devoutly
the word of the Lord.
Mark 4:25 For he that
hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken
even that which he hath.
Mark 4:26 And he
said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground
This parable is
given only by Mark, but its general lesson is enforced by many parallel
Isa. 55:9-11 For as
the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the
snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and
maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread
to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it
shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
James 5:7-8 Be patient
therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman
waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish
your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
1 Pet. 1:23-25
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word
of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is
as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass
withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord
endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto
In the kingdom of
grace, as in nature, we are laborers together with God; the results of our
work depend on Him, and for the perfection of these results He takes His own
I Cor. 3:6-9 I have
planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he
that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the
increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man
shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are
labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's
Hence, (1) it is
ours to sow the seed (the truth), his to give it growth; (2) having sown, we
are to wait for time and God to perfect it; (3) this he does according to
the definite order of development--first the blade, then the ear, then the
full corn in the ear; (4) not until there has been time for the development,
are we to expect to reap. The lesson is one of trust and hope. We should
cast seed the word of God, or the Gospel.
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and
grow up, he knoweth not how.
Should sleep, and
While giving the seed sown time to germinate and come forth.
Mark 4:28 For the
earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after
that the full corn in the ear.
First the blade.
There is a law of orderly development in natural growth, so also is it in
reference to spiritual growth. Compare
1 John 2:12-14. Some growths are
quicker than others, but in all there is growth. And we have no right
to look for the end at the beginning, the ripened Christian experience in
the young convert, the full corn in the first appearance of the blade.
Observe, too, that we can know that there is growth by its results,
though we know not how, and that each stage of the growth is more
apparent than the preceding stage.
Mark 4:29 But when
the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because
the harvest is come.
The time of harvest
is when the fruit is ripe; in this instance when the word had produced
faith, repentance and obedience. Then those who exhibit the fruit are to be
gathered into the church cf:
and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved.
Mark 4:30 And he said,
Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall
we compare it?
Mark 4:31 It is
like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less
than all the seeds that be in the earth:
Like a grain of
mustard seed cf:
Matt. 13:31-35 &
Luke 13:18, 19.
Mark 4:32 But when it
is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth
out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow
Mark 4:33 And with
many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear
Mark 4:34 But
without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he
expounded all things to his disciples.
Mark 4:35 And the
same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto
the other side.
On the same day,
the day these parables were taught they went to the other side of the
Sea of Galilee.
Mark 4:36 And when
they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship.
And there were also with him other little ships.
Mark 4:37 And there
arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it
was now full
There arose a
The Sea of
Galilee lies 600
feet below the level of the
Mediterranean Sea, and
has a tropical climate. A short distance north are the high mountains of
Lebanon. The heated air about the sea invites the rush of cold waves from
the mountains producing bad storms.
Mark 4:38 And he was
in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and
say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
Mark 4:39 And he
arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the
wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:40 And he said
unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Mark 4:41 And they
feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this,
that even the wind and the sea obey him?