Lesson 148-March 11, 2018
Introduction: It is important for us to know and remember the context and setting for the parables that will constitute our study for the next several weeks. Matthew tells us in Chapter 13:1, “on the same day.” These parables were spoken by Jesus on the same day that certain “landmark events” (Thomas and Gundry) were ad- dressed. On this day Jesus had healed a demon possessed man who was blind and mute. But even as He healed this man, the Pharisees made accusations against Jesus that He was of Satan. This accusation “forced the first public showdown in the growing rift between Jesus and the Jewish authorities. So tense was the con- frontation that Jesus’ own family wondered about His sanity (Mark 3:21).” Thomas and Gundry
This confrontation brought about the religious leaders deliberate and public rejection of the Holy Spirits’ wit- ness of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus used the events of the religious leaders rejection and even the questioning of His own family to speak of the Kingdom of God. At this point in time, Jesus entered a new phase in His teach- ing ministry. Jesus begins to use parables as a teaching tool as he instructs His followers. With these parables He would bring light and illumination to the minds and hearts of His followers. To His followers, Jesus’ para- bles would reveal truth but to those that rejected Him the same parables would bring frustration and conceal the truth.
Matthew 13:1 states. “That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.” “It is interesting to note that, during His earlier ministry, Jesus seem to spend more time inside, in houses and synagogues. As His ministry progressed, however, and He was more and more rejected by the Jews, He spent more time minister- ing outdoors-on the seashore and mountainside and in the countryside, highways and streets. Although the religious leaders had rejected Him, Jesus remained immensely popular with the common people, and great multitudes still gathered to Him to hear Him speak and see Him heal, and some to be healed themselves.” John MacArthur
Questions: Why was Jesus popular with common, ordinary folks?
What led to the Jewish religious leaders ultimate rejection of Jesus?
In God’s purposes and plans when Israel rejects Jesus what then happens?
Jesus moves outside to the lakeside, as He does this. many follow Him and others are still coming to hear Him. Luke tells us that they were coming from many places to hear Him (Luke 8:4). As the crowd grows larger, Jesus gets into a boat and pushes it out a bit from the waters edge (Mark 4:1). In this manner Jesus sat down and began to teach them. Matthew 13:3, Mark 4:2, Luke 8:4
I would like to offer one final point of thought before we address the parables of Jesus. As Jesus taught and the multitudes gathered we must remember that in those multitudes were both believers and non-believers, those who had accepted and received Him and those who had resisted and rejected Him. Jesus did not attempt to literally separate the crowd arranging a section for believers and a section for non-believers. Matthew 12:2 states, “Then He spoke many things to them in parables”; Mark 4:2, “Then He taught them many things by parables”; Luke 8:4, “He spoke by a parable.”
Jesus taught in such a way that those who had believed would find and gain understanding and those who had not believed even though they heard the same teaching, would not understand Jesus. Please read Matthew 13:11-17.
The Parable of the Sower
“Listen” Mark 4:3, Jesus wants the attention of those that have gathered on this particular afternoon. He be- gins with a word of instruction that also brings its own wonderful invitation.
Please explain how Jesus’ word “listen” is both a word of instruction, as well as, a word of invitation. Please give thought to your answer!
When Jesus uses the word “listen” prior to offering His words of teaching He is calling for those that will be hearing to give their focus and undivided attention to His words that will follow. Stop all other conversation!
Have you ever heard a teacher or preacher use words such as: “stay with me”, are you following me”, “don’t loose me”, or “hang in there?” Why were this phrases stated?
The words that Jesus was about to speak were very important words to His followers. He did not want them to miss them. He wanted them to hear and listen to Him for His words were valuable to them in their life as a follower of His.
”Behold a sower went out to sow.” Matthew 13:3
With our understanding that a parable takes something that is familiar to the listener and by transference gives meaning to a truth that otherwise may remain hidden; the scene that Jesus was describing in parable form was one that certainly His listeners would be very familiar with. The listeners were familiar with farmers in Pales- tine sowing their seeds. In their day and time the sowing of seed (planting) was done by hand not by machin- ery. The farmer would walk all about his field reaching into a bag of seed and sowing (casting, throwing, scat- tering) those seed over and throughout the field. He would sow the field by sowing a handful of seed at a time. The farmer would walk up and down the field sowing seed until the entire field had been planted.
As we read these verses, something interesting and important to us becomes visible. We commonly refer to this parable as the Parable of the Sower but perhaps it could best be understood as the Parable of the Soils. Upon examination of these verses, we find both the sower and the seed remaining constant, they never change. Throughout the story (parable) the key variable is the “soil.”
The fields in Galilee were of various types. Most of the fields had hardpacked walking paths (roads) connect- ing one field to another. Travelers often walked through fields using the walking paths hardened by the con- stant flow of travelers. Found also in many of the fields were rocks and rock formations. These ranged from large rocks protruding through the soil to formations of rocks that were hidden just beneath the visible soil.
Question: Before a farmer plants his field, what does he do beforehand?
How did farmers prepare their field in the Southeastern United States forty
years ago? (If you have someone in your class with an agricultural and farming background ask for their in- put).
How do farmers in 2018 prepare their fields for planting?
How would the farmers of Jesus’ day prepare their fields for planting?
As we look forward toward next Sundays’ lesson and the continuation of this study of the Parable of the Sower (Parable of the Soils) how as God been preparing the soils for centuries for the spiritual sowing of the spiritual seed of this parable? Please give prayer and thought to your answer.
Before we close our books and dismiss classes may I personally invite you and encourage you to take just a few minutes this week and read your lesson. Take a few minutes to look up the Scripture passages. Read and study a few minutes over these passages.
I am personally inviting and asking you to give God just a few minutes to prepare your heart by reading and studying the lesson. May the Word fall on the good and fertile ground of your heart! This week please pre- pare your heart by studying your lesson. You might be amazed at what God will teach You!