READ: Matthew 13
BACKGROUND: Jesus explains in this chapter why he teaches in parables so often. Basically he says that, as Isaiah prophesied, people are so spiritual dull that they can’t even grasp the things of God. But those who truly seek him will understand at a deeper level. Also, Jesus speaks in parables because they are illustrations that are real to life and easy to remember. The word “parable” comes from the Greek parabole which means “a placing beside.” Parables use a comparison like “The Kingdom of God is like…” And the hidden meaning in Jesus parables allows him to communicate deep truths to his followers without saying anything that directly violates the laws of the Pharisees and Sadducees so he cannot be arrested and killed before it’s his time. In Matthew 13 he speaks to the large crowds in parable form, and then later explains what he meant to his followers – the ones who understand that the message of God’s Kingdom he’s bringing is that he is the Messiah.
THINK: Read verses 18-23 one more time slowly. Take some time to think about your life story. Take some time to think about your faith journey. Be honest with yourself about where you’re at right now. Read verses 18-23 once more – pausing briefly to consider how each type of soil that Jesus describes relates to you. Maybe some of the soils don’t describe your journey; maybe you relate to only one of them. Maybe you can see times or seasons in your life when different soils have fit your spiritual life.
ASK: What type of soil am I? Is my faith yielding fruit in the lives of others? What specific steps could I take to get to the point where I am the good soil?