As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. (Matthew 13:23)





Third sunday in apostles’ tide

Sermon Starter

Today’s Gospel is commonly called The Parable of the Sower.  The parable is found in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8.  In each case, the Gospel writers not only record the parable itself, but its explanation as well. Because we have Jesus’ explanation, this parable is valuable on two levels. Jesus’ explanation not only gives us the spiritual truth of this parable, but it also gives us guidelines that help interpret other parables.

Of course, a parable is the explanation of a Divine truth using the word picture of an earthly story. As many of us learned in Sunday School, it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

The story in today’s Gospel is simple enough. As I read or hear Jesus’ words, I imagine this first century farmer walking in a field with a bag of seeds slung over his shoulder. As he walked he rhythmically grabbed a handful of seeds from the bag and scattered them onto the field. The idea of course was to distribute the seed over the whole field so that it would grow and produce a crop. It was probably a scene that was quite common during the planting season in that day.

What is different here is that this farmer seems to be indiscriminate about where he sows the seed. I could see a farmer coming to the edge of a field and trying to cover every square inch of the field with seed. It is entirely possible that a few seeds might overshoot onto the soil surrounding the field. In this parable, however, the farmer seems to be throwing the seed everywhere – not only on the good soil, but also on the road, the rocks, the thorns – everywhere. This farmer doesn’t seem very accurate in his distribution of the seed.

As Jesus explains the meaning of this parable, He asks His disciples to concentrate on the activity of the seed as it interacted with this variety of soils. The seed represents the word of the kingdom – the proclamation of the salvation that Jesus Christ earned for us on the cross. The scattering of the seed represents the preaching of the word of the kingdom.  The soil types represent the different responses of people who hear the preaching of the word of the kingdom.

Collect of the Day

Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.