More Thoughts on the Parable of the Sower

Mark 4:1-20

This is the passage where Jesus tells the crowd gathered by the lake of Galilee, the parable of the man who sowed seeds. Now we all know the parable and the explanation is also included in this passage. Other than the parable itself, there are a few things that struck me today when I read this passage for a second time.

The first is the setting. Jesus was sitting in a boat that was out in the water and the people thronged on the shores to listen to him. This was the time when there were no loudspeakers or amplifiers. It must have been quite the task for both the speaker and the listeners, to be participants in this event. It could not have been easy. And yet there were many people gathered there to listen to him. 

Jesus spoke to the crowd in the form of a parable. The explanation was offered only later, to his disciples and a group of people who had stayed behind to understand what the parable meant. This indicates that, of the multitude who gathered there, not all were genuinely overtaken by the desire to learn from him or understand the import of his message. There were many who would have left without understanding what the parable meant. For them it was just another story that they had heard. 

Lastly, it struck me that the parable was tough even for his disciples to understand. His disciples were with him all the time. And yet they often didn't understand what Jesus meant to say. And Jesus chides them in this passage about their lack of understanding. Let's think about that for a bit. They were with him always, he was with them always, and yet they had difficulty in understanding his words. 

In life we are often like the crowd that gathered on the shores of the lake that day. Some folks want to listen and study his word, some others are curious about what the word of God is all about. They go through the motions to figure out why so many are drawn to it. Few try to understand the significance of the word of God and what it really means. Despite claiming to be his children, we often fail to understand what he is telling us through his word.  


Lord Jesus, enable us by the grace of your indwelling Holy Spirit, to understand the word of God. Help us to receive and understand your word and your message to each one of us, amen. 

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