Parable of the Seed

“And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows–how, he himself does not know. “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. “But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

In this first Parable that we are looking at in the Gospel of Mark it is one that is found in none of the other Gospels. The Parable that we are studying today is the Parable of the Seed and is found in the fourth chapter verses 26-29. It appears that Jesus told this Parable at the same time as He told the Parable of the Sower, (Mark 4:1-20) and the Parable of the Mustard Seed. (Mark 4:30-32)

This Parable as the others we have studied reveals more of what the Kingdom of God is like. The subject of the Parable is how the Word of God produces fruit in the Kingdom, which causes the Kingdom of God to grow. In this Parable itself the seed is not identified as the Word of God but as we look at the Parable of the Sower we see that the seed is the Word of God. “The sower sows the word.” (Mark 4:14) This is also confirmed in the Gospel of Luke. “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)

In verses 26-28 we see that the growth produced by the Word of God is a mystery. The sower himself can see the sprout of growth come forth from the soil and grow and yet he does not know how. As the growth continues it is beyond his comprehension as it grows by itself. At the end of verse 28 we see that the growth is not an instant growth but a gradual growth. First there is the blade then the head and finally the mature grain in the head. Eventually the growth is complete and it is time for the harvest. This compares to the Kingdom of God which grows from the Word of God being planted in the hearts of men who grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ.

When we compare the Parable of the Seed with the Parable of the sower we see some differences. We see that we as the sowers bear a responsibility in that we must plant the seed. But the seed did not produce the desired result unless it fell upon the good soil. In order for the seed that the sower spreads to produce fruit it must fall upon the good soil which is a good and noble heart. “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Luke 8:15)

In this Parable, the Parable of the Seed, the divine power of the Word of God is stressed. A good and noble heart cannot produce good fruit by itself. The Seed itself, the Word of God, has to have the power within itself to germinate and grow in the good soil. The emphases of the Parable is that the sower needs to have trust and hope in the power of the seed, the Word of God.

The seed, the Word of God, does have the power for spiritual life and growth when it is received in a good and noble heart. We as men cannot understand the power that is in the Word of God but we have the privilege to use it for the growth of the Kingdom of God. For us to use this powerful seed of the Word of God successfully let us consider the application of this Parable.

The Word of God is a powerful seed that can cause a wretched sinner to be born again into a new spiritual birth. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)

It is the power of God’s Word that can cause the new spiritual birth to grow and mature by our obedience to the Word. “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:1-2)

And the transforming power of the Word of God can indeed save the souls of those who receive it. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

This is possible because the Word of God was before the beginning and from it all came into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word of God is the power that created the universe and is the power that sustains all that has been created. The Spirit of God is what gave life to man, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) it is the spirit of man that can find life in the truth of God’s Word, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63) and it is the power of God’s Word that can cut away the evil desires of the flesh which hinders man’s walk with God. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

We must utilize the power of God’s Word in two ways. First we must receive it into our own lives in a way that it is at the heart of all our actions. God’s Word must be received into our lives in a proper way with a good and noble heart. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) We must receive it in meekness knowing that we are spiritually impoverished, (Matthew 5:3) and long for it as if we were new born babies wanting of our mother’s milk. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2) We also must set aside the things in our life that would choke out the Word of God. “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” (1 Peter 2:1) Be patient in our walk with our Lord as the growth is gradual. “First the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”

Secondly we must sow the Word of God as far as we can. This is the commission that was given to us by our Lord. (Matthew 28:19-20) The Gospel is the Good News of the Kingdom of God and in our love for our neighbor we must share this good news. Never become discouraged as the growth comes only through divine power and not our own. It is God that causes the growth and we are simply the sowers of His Word. “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

Again the growth comes in stages and we must be satisfied that we have fulfilled our part in the commission that the Lord has given to us. There will be days when all we seen to be doing is sowing and days when we will just be waiting. As Christian witnesses we are farmers in God’s field for the souls of men. It is a long and patient work that we are privileged to do. “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.” (James 5:7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant January 25, 2017

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