And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
Insights: Jesus was a master story teller. He took the natural world and wielded it as a weapon of great precision in instructing spiritual truth. He took something they could understand, laid it alongside something they did not understand and the one explained the other. Jesus was on familiar territory as He spoke in this regard because there was much agricultural life in that part of the world. Everybody understood the sowing of seed, and everybody understood what was involved in that process. In fact, it is highly probable as Jesus stood on that sea shore that he looked on a nearby patch of ground and saw a man sowing seed and from that visual example this parable was told. Now we need to understand in Palestine the fields are crisscrossed and are usually long, narrow strips and men would cultivate those fields. The strips were separated from other strips and other fields by paths. The paths were about three feet wide. These paths were used by the farmer to get in between the fields to get to whatever field he wanted to reach. They were also used by the travelers who were going from one part of the country to another. And no doubt this is what the Lord has in mind when He talks about the road or way side soil. The dirt would have then been packed down, beaten hard, uncultivated, never turned over, never loosened, and by all of the continual pounding and pounding and because of the dryness of that part of the world, it would be compacted to the point where it was like a road, it was as hard as pavement. And when the farmer came along and threw the seed and it went beyond the furrow and landed on that hard surface and it could not penetrate the ground. It would lie there on the top and birds would hover, no doubt, until the farmer turned his back and as he started down the next furrow, they would land on the hard surface and they would eat the seed. And what they did not eat, Luke says, was trampled by the feet of men who were passing through the fields. That is the road or way side soil—the birds and the men removing the seed which cannot penetrate the soil.
- Does this soil describe you?
- If it does, are you willing to ask Jesus to cultivate your heart so you could be receptive to Him?
Prayer: Father, work on my heart. I do not desire to be hard and uncultivable. I desire to be productive and grow in Your grace. Do what is necessary to make my hard heart soft in Your hands. Amen.