In many cases Christ taught his disciples through parables. In this manner His lessons carried a deeper purpose because you could apply them to many situations of life. One of my favorites is the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:11-12. Though the disciples walked with Christ they still didn’t completely perceive His teachings. He explained to them:
“To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’ ” (NKJV)
Through this parable Christ explained to His disciples how people receive the word of God. Mark 4:3-8 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. As he sowed some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had not depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up and chocked it, and it yielded no crop. But the other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced; some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” And then He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (NKJV)
Christ was rather astonished that his disciples did not understand the parable so He explained it to them. Mark 4:14-20 “The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (NKJV)
Even though the 12 heard with their ears and saw with their eyes but still they did not completely perceive or understand the message. Likewise here we are two thousand of years later trying to receive the word and still so many people do not understand the message. Is the word that difficult to understand?
This particular parable should make the lesson quite clear because it reveals to us how we need to study the word often until it penetrates into our hearts and become our way of life. If it is only in our minds the cares of this world could distract us where we would soon forget what we learned and turn our attentions to our daily problems. When the word take root in our hearts, where God lives in us… we would realize that God would be right there with us along with our problems. Therefore we would not face them alone, but instead would have a Helpmate.
Now also imagine that if we who believe in the word have problems from time to time because our weak faith, we are like the 12 who were right there with our Lord having eyes to see and ears to hear, but not fully perceiving or understanding. We are today’s disciples. We are responsible for sharing the word with unbelievers in order that they might one day know God. It was to us the message of the kingdom of God was given but to those who are on the outside… even thou they have eyes to see and ears to hear, they do not perceive nor understand what they are given. So… how can they even know to seek forgiveness of their sins when they don’t even know to ask?
Believers have a role to play as disciples of today. We are to live the word so others can see how it produces righteous fruit. We are to speak the word to those who want to understand why we live according to righteous ways. We are to let them see us and hear us, but realize that only God can open their hearts and minds where the seeds can fall upon fertile ground producing souls worthy of the kingdom of heaven. It is not our jobs to do the saving but only to do the revealing… God will do the rest.
This one parable is so deep and so clear once you get it. After you learn this one there are many more that Christ shared with us that are equably as revealing. Let those who have eyes see and ears hear the teachings of Christ, our Lord.
NOTE: I chose to copy much of the text directly from the New King James Version of the bible rather than summarize it so there is not confusion in my translation of the Parable of the Sower as written in the book of Mark.