Matthew 13:1-9 The same day
went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
This parable is called the parable of the sower. The sower goes out to sow seeds. In verse 4 some fell by the wayside and the fowls came and devoured them. Some fell upon the stony places where there wasn’t much earth and they withered under the scorching sun. Some fell among thorns and were choked out. Others, though, fell upon good ground and brought forth fruit, some a 100-fold, some 60-fold, and some 30-fold.
Jesus gave this agricultural parable to an agricultural people. They would understand that the fruitfulness would depend upon the kind of soil where it was sown. Jesus, though, is relating a spiritual truth. The sown seed represents the Word of God. The Word is ministered and the heart determines how it is received. If the heart is stony, the Word doesn’t get rooted. If the heart is overly concerned with the cares of this life, then the Word is choked out. Neither are these spiritual principles hard to understand.
Half of the people that receive the Word lose it. In verse 4 the seed fell by the wayside and was eaten. In verses 5 and 6 it fell in stony places and in verse 7 the seed fell among the thorns. So there are three different classes of problems that hinder the hearers from becoming fruitful. Then in verse 8 there are three classes of hearers that do become fruitful.
Verse 9, though, is the one catches my attention. It says: Who hath ears to her, let him hear. I remember a lady who said, “For years I didn’t understand that verse. Of course, I have ears.” What Jesus was really saying was, “If you have the capacity to hear what I am saying, then understand it.” The fact that He said this causes us to understand that this parable holds a truth beyond our natural ability to receive. You could say, “Well, I understand it. I understand the process of the seed in various kinds of soil. I also understand the seed as the Word of God and that the attitude of my heart determines whether it is fruitful or not.” I agree, that spiritual principle of the Word is not difficult to understand either. However, there is something more here! “If you have ears to hear” means there is something more than what can be understood with the natural mind.
Often we go to the Scriptures and get caught up in the excitement of understanding spiritual truths and principles. I have seen churches that had tremendous revelations of types, shadows, and symbols. They could tell you what they represent, but they weren’t growing spiritually. That is why Jesus said, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” It is not just knowing spiritual principles; it is knowing Him. The important thing is to experience His life.
In Genesis chapter thirteen is the account of Abraham and Lot. Abraham was called out of the land of Ur of Chaldees and Lot went with him. As Abraham journeyed he was also journeying in his relationship with the Lord. He was told to come out by himself but he left with his father and his nephew Lot. The time came when it was necessary for Abraham and Lot to separate. Abraham told Lot to choose the area of land he wanted for himself and his herd, and he would take what was left. So Lot chose the fertile valley of the Jordan and they separated. After their separation Abraham had a meeting with the Lord. The Lord told Abram, “Abram, Lift up your eyes and look to the north, south, east, and west. All that you see I’m going to give you.” Abraham looked and he saw what God had in mind. That is where many preachers are today. They look in the Scriptures and the see the promises and principles of the Kingdom. They get excited about it and they preach their revelations, but they don’t experience them. The revelations do not become a reality of life to them. What else did God tell Abraham? “Abram, all that you see I’m going to give you. Now walk through the land.” Abraham had to walk through the land; he had to possess them. Next, he broke camp, picked up his tent and moved his dwelling place. He saw the promise, he walked in it, and then he lived in it. It became life for him.
It is not enough to see a spiritual truth. If it doesn’t take you into His life, it doesn’t do you much good. The most important thing is your relationship with God. Every promise and every revelation should bring you into more of His life. That is what this parable is all about. Spiritual principles and truths are wonderful, but there is something more here.
Copyright © 2004 by Henry DuBose