“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23)

Jesus used parables to convey truth in story form. Many people tend to learn more readily from stories and images rather than from straightforward lectures and didactic teaching. Stories, at least those that are noble, disquieting, or comforting contain items that catch our attention and so are easy to remember.

The parable of the farmer sowing seed is one of those stories. Yet in one sense it is a parable about parables! Jesus used it to explain why not all those who heard His parables understood the ideas He was trying to convey. Not all who heard His words believed in Him. They heard the truth but did not heed it. Their eyes, ears and hearts were closed to it. Jesus interpreted the parable of the farmer sowing seed so His disciples (including us) might learn the reasons why people do not believe the gospel, why so many reject Christ, His grace and His mercy. This parable also explains why many of those baptized as Christians, catechized, confirmed and brought up in the church fall away from the truth.

Some ignore the truth because they are spiritually dull, too enamored of worldly allures and values, too sold out to the lies of Satan to recognize it. They think Jesus’ teaching to be just so much unrealistic nonsense on the level with fairy tales. Some are so attracted by Jesus at first because they think they understand or because the word of God speaks to them. And yet when they find out what the cost of discipleship is, self-sacrifice and persecution, they refuse to pay that price and so depart. Finally some people are initially attracted to the gospel but then the desires of the flesh, peer pressure or the cares of life take away their joy. Since the gospel never had any root, they too hear but do not heed or obey. These all stand condemned and without excuse for they have heard the word but chosen to disregard it.

So as we go forth to preach the gospel of faith in Christ, we have to be patient and loving. Not everyone we present the gospel to will accept it. And that is sad for they are choosing a tragic end: eternal separation from God. And yet the Lord does promise that His word will not return void. For some that word means judgment, while for many others who do believe that word means they will share in the joy of eternal life in Christ.