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Jesus -- the Guru #23

“The Master Taught in Parables”

Mt. 13:34 -“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable.”

What is a parable? Why did Jesus use them? How does one understand them?

A. What Kind of “Ground” Are You?

Read Mathew 13:1-23

The point of a parable usually comes in the last lines. The end of the parable is the climax, the important point.

The Parable of the Sower

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.9He who has ears, let him hear.”

10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.12Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.13This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

15For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.17For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”


The point of a parable usually comes in the last lines. The end of the parable is the climax, the important point. What is the last verse of this “Parable of the Sower” (v. 8)? What, then, is the major point of the parable?

In this parable, Jesus is teaching that the seed of His teaching will produce results, tremendous results.

Note the refrain that we will often hear at the end of Jesus’ parables: v. 9

What do you think Jesus means by this? What does “ears to hear” mean? Why would one not want to hear?

Jesus quotes the Old Testament prophet Isaiah as he speaks with deep disappointment and sarcasm about the people of Israel. Why weren’t these Old Testament people willing to hear the prophet’s message?: vv. 13-15.

What does it mean that a person’s “heart has become callused?” Another expression for this in the Bible is that people have a “hard heart.”

God’s Word cannot get in and produce results. Remember the Sermon on the Mount? People don’t want to lead a life that makes a difference: people who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Mt. 5:6), people who are “peacemakers” (5:9), who are the “salt of the world” and the “light of the world” (5:13-14), and so forth. They know they will stick out; they will face opposition, they will be “persecuted because of righteousness” (5:10). They don’t want to be a disciple of the Master so they make their heart to His call.

Jesus gives several examples of this hardness of heart in the parable. Note Jesus’ explanations in vv. 18-23. What is the reason for the hardness of heart:

in v. 19? –

in vv. 20-21? –

in v. 22? –

Why could the seed produce such marvelous results in v. 23?

Can you think of times in your life when you were like each of these examples? Give an example when your heart was hardened to God’s call:

Give an example of when your heart was open to God’s call:

If people are open to receive God’s call in their life, they will have true life (remember Mt. 10:23). They will make a difference with their life “30-, 60-, and 100-fold.”

The disciple of Jesus the Master will go from strength to strength. He “will be given more, and he will have in abundance (v. 12).

What type of soil are you?

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