The parable of the sower in Mark 4 is one of the most powerful portions of Scripture in the whole of the Bible. Jesus himself says that if you do not understand this parable, then how can you understand any parable.
Imagine that – a parable that Jesus, the Lord of glory, says that if you don’t get it then you won’t be able to understand anything. This is clearly something you need to be able to understand clearly. There are 40 parables in the New Testament – if you don’t get the parable of the Sower, then you won’t be able to get any of them.
In verse 3, Jesus tells us to “Hearken! Behold!”. In modern English, you would say something like: “Listen! Look!”. The Greek word for listen does not mean simply listen, but it means listen until you gain understanding. Listen and listen and listen until you get it. The word for look means: this is going to be new to you, so consider it until you gain understanding.
Immediately we can see that the Parable of the Sower is one of the most important things Jesus ever talked about. Right now, we are going to look at this article and gain some understanding. This is going to be time well spent.
A parable is a story that works on two levels – the physical level and the spiritual level. Although Jesus is telling a story about a sower and some seed, he is really telling a story about the Word of God and people’s hearts. The words parable and parallel come from the same root: a parable is a story with a parallel. While Jesus is talking about the ground, he is talking about you and your heart and your attitude to the Word of the living God.
Some people are the path. The path is those people who hear the Word but immediately satan steals the Word from them. If you simply read Mark’s gospel it almost seems like some people have no choice. They just get the Word and the devil just takes it. Now we know that cannot be true because we have dominion over all the works of the devil. He is a defeated foe and greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
If we read Matthew’s account, he makes it a little more clear to us why the devil can steal the Word from some people:
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. (Matthew 13.19)
If you hear the Word of God without understanding, then the devil will take it from you. The Greek word for understanding is syniēmi. It was a word used in ancient Greece for people who were going to settle things with a fight. You would say “they are going to come to an understanding” – and everyone would know you meant they are going to fight until one of them is the winner and the other is the loser.
This is one of the greatest problems in the Christian world – we have no fight in us. Things happen to us and we just roll over and play dead, we quit, we submit, we yield. There are even demonic doctrines that tell people that when things like sickness and poverty attack that this is God’s will and they should submit. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s use healing as an example. The Bible is clear that the Lord is Our Healer (Exodus 15.26), that Jesus Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases (Isa. 53.4-6) and that by His stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2.24).
If you go to church and hear a sermon on healing, you might be sick. But you learn to walk by faith and not by sight and receive your healing by speaking to the mountain of sickness and commanding it to leave (Mark 11.23-24). But if the symptoms do not leave immediately, many Christians will give up at that point. They don’t have an understanding with the Word that they are going to fight for the Word until they win. They would rather blame God for their sickness than fight it and walk in divine health. You see the problem is never the seed – it is the ground. The Word is always good – but people need to deal with their heart attitude.
Path people are Christians with no fight in them. They hear the Word but they never get aggressive with it. They never lock themselves in the closet and pray and meditate on the Word until they see the results. So many Christians don’t have a battle-mindset. We are going to stand on the Word and we are going to win.
If this is you, I would get a list of Scriptures and start saying them 2, 3, 4, 5 times a day, start meditating on them. To meditate on the Word is the greatest source of life and victory on earth. I will write some how-to articles on this in the new year, but for now the condensed how-to is this:
1) Repeat the Scripture out loud again and again and again. As it comes out your mouth and goes in your ears, it is feeding your faith.
2) Use your imagination to imagine what you would be like if the Scripture was true. Picture it being fulfilled in your life. Return in your mind to this image again and again.
Simple. Now stop being a path Christian and start being good ground.
Tomorrow, I will explain how to deal with being rocky ground.