Webster’s dictionary defines a parable as a story that illustrates a moral lesson. In Mark 4: 19, 13-20, Mark depicts Jesus preaching The Parable of the Sower, by the sea, to a crowd so enormous that Jesus was forced to preach in a boat to give himself space. In Marks’s’s version of The Parable of the Sower, Jesus’ moral lesson or main point was to show how different people respond to his word (Teachings) and to show what happens when good Christians receive the word of the Lord and act accordingly.
There are many different interpretations of the purpose of this parable; however, all consist of the same moral lesson. The Moral lesson of The Parable of the Sower can be applied to today’s society in many ways. The parable could relate to the way people refer to themselves as Christians, but do not act accordingly. It could also be applied to Christians, who attend mass, but do not apply Christ’s teachings in everyday life.
A proper example of the parable is portrayed in the lives of missionaries and ordained members of the church. The sower (Jesus) casts out numerous seeds (Teachings), but how many of the surfaces (Listeners) of which they are cast upon allow the seeds (Teachings) to prosper and grow?
In Marks’s version of The Parable of the Sower, Jesus’ moral lesson or main point was to show how different people respond to God’s Word and to show what happens when good Christians receive the word of the Lord and act accordingly. Jesus taught his moral lesson by comparing himself to a sower, his word to seeds, and different types of people to soil (Mark 4: 1-9,13-20). Jesus spread his seeds (word) to all types of soil (People). Jesus spread his seeds (Word) on the path, rocky soil, thorns, and good soil (Mark 4:3-8).
The first two soils of the parable symbolize problems that prevent the seeds (Jesus’ word) from growing. In the parable, the seeds that were cast upon the path were eaten by birds (Mark 4: 4). The path upon which the seeds were cast is supposed to represent people, who upon hearing the word have it taken away by Satan (Mark 4: 15). The seeds that were sowed on the rocky ground grew quickly, but because the ground had no root, the seeds were scorched away by the sun (Mark 4: 5-6). In this part of the parable, the rocky ground is supposed to represent the people who receive the word with joy, but because their faith has no root, whenever trouble arises, they immediately lose faith in God (Mark 4: 16-17).
The third soil of the parable again shows a problem that will prevent the seeds (Word of God) from growing; however, the fourth soil exemplifies the possibilities of the seeds (God’s word) if it falls upon the right soil (Good Christians). In the third part of the parable, the sower’s seeds fell onto thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked the seeds, yielding no grain from the seeds (Mark 4: 7). The thorns, in this section, symbolize people who let the cares of the world, the desire for wealth, and the desire for other things choke the world and prevent it from growing (Mark 4: 18-19). When the seeds finally fall upon the good soil, it allows the seeds to bring forth grain yielding thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold (Mark 4: 8). The good soil, present in that verse, represents the Good Christians, who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold (Mark 4: 20). The fourth soil in the parable proves that the Reign of God is abundant when the word falls upon the ears of those who listen and spread God’s word.
There are several different interpretations of The Parable of the Sower that explain what I just summarized in the two paragraphs above. The interpretations of the parable are most likely the same, because Jesus explained the meaning of the parable in Mark 4: 13-20. However, the interpretations did have different purposes for The Parable of the Sower. In C.S. Manns interpretation of The Parable of the Sower, he explains the purpose to be to encourage the twelve disciples and to emphasize the responsibilities of the hearers of the word (Mann 1986, 261). There is also an interpretation that states the purpose of the parable is Jesus asserting that the time has come when the blessings of the Reign of God are available for all men (Black 1962, 804). A third purpose for the parable is to show a connection between the harvest and the Reign of God; as surely as the harvest comes after planting, just as certain is the culmination and manifestation of God’s Reign being initiated (Planted) in the words and deeds of Jesus (Farmer 1998, 1344). In James Mays interpretation of the parable, he sees the purpose as a warning for the pitfalls of discipleship (Mays 1988, 907). The final interpretations purpose of the parable is to use it as an explanation for the mixed receptions accorded to Jesus preaching and a source of encouragement in the face of opposition: Gods kingdom will come with marvelous abundance (Brown 1990, 605). Even though there are numerous possible purposes for The Parable of the Sower, all interpretations share the common belief in the fruitful harvest of Gods word.
The Moral lesson of The Parable of the Sower can be applied to todays society in many ways. One application of the parable in todays society can be used to evaluate our own faith. Does our faith yield fruit? Do we attend mass weekly, or give back to the community what we have received? Or is our faith a tool that we go looking for in times of emergency, hoping that we remember how it used to work (Keck 1995, 574). Is our faith a quick-fix that we rely on whenever life brings us a problem that we believe is to hard to overcome on our own? Peoples faith is frequently a comforting solution (Keck 1995, 574) that solves the problems and pain in life that we encounter. Many people call themselves Christians and never attend mass or participate in helping others beside themselves. Yet, those socalled Christians still rely on their faith to help them through hard times. It is also common that people, who rely on their faith and arent satisfied, lose their faith due to the fact that they dont get what they wish for. Often those people are taken over by demands of success and church becomes a holiday ritual. A perfect example of The Parable of the Sower is reflected in the lives of missionaries and ordained members of the church around the world. Even despite of the pitfalls that accompany being a disciple of God, these sowers of the word study and spread the word of God.
In conclusion, the moral lesson or main point of Marks version of The Parable of the Sower, is to show how different people respond to Jesus word (Teachings), and to show what happens when good Christians receive the word of the Lord and act accordingly. Although there are many interpretations of the purpose of The Parable of the Sower, all interpretations of the parable explain Mark 4: 1-9, 13-20 just as Jesus did in the Bible. All interpretations also share the belief in the fruitful harvest of the word of God. The Parable of the Sower is applied to todays society in many negative and positive ways. The sower (Jesus) has spread many seeds (Teachings), some soils (People) have not allowed them to grow, but many others (
Good Christians) have allowed the seeds to grow.