So large was the multitude, that Jesus sat in a boat on water. The natural echo amplification from the sea would ensure that even the furthest members of the crowd could hear.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Jesus begins to teach using parables, a parable is like a lantern with an outer story surrounding an inner spiritual light.
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Farming was such an everyday activity that immediately the crowd could identify with the story. Jesus now begins to explain how seed time and harvest operates in the Kingdom of God using a parable story (see notes in Mat 7:1).
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
The sower does not sow his seed sparingly from a packet but from a large basket and he scatters it over the ground, as he does some falls on uncultivated ground. This speaks of those who are unable to receive the seed, the Word of God. They hear the Word but it goes no further than their ears. Like a bird Satan soon comes and snatches it away
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
Speaks of those who hear and are moved by their emotions. They receive the word straight away with great joy and they seem to flourish for a while. But the Word never reaches their heart, but remains in their head affecting their emotions. Because they have not taken the Word into their hearts when trouble comes and they are persecuted, they have no foundation and fall away and are seen no more.
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Thorns speak of hearers who are so tied up with the world's system and the way the world operates, that they never become separated from it. They continue to walk in the ways of the world and to desire and fill themselves with it until the Word is crowded out and there is no room for spiritual fruit to grow in them (see 1 John 2:15; Rom. 12:2 )
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
Good ground, a prepared and receptive heart. This is the person who receives the Word in the very depths of their soul where it abides and matures. The person grows into Christ and in the knowledge of Him and the fruit of the spirit abounds in them (2 Pet 1:8).
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
The mystery of the kingdom, or how the kingdom operates. God has mysteries , or secrets in His Word (Deut 29:29) but these mysteries are not secret, but are laid up to be revealed to the believer by the Holy Spirit.
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
If given without a parable they would not be able to see the meaning or understand its' message. The parable is received along with the spiritual truth which they are able to receive. This provides opportunity to repent, believe and be forgiven.
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
(Mat 13:19) If they hear this parable and not understand, how will you know all parables? Alternatively, if we can understand this parable we can understand the other parables. This parable is a key to receiving the Word of God and walking in the kingdom of God's way (2 Cor 9:6). The word understand refers to spiritual understanding which comes from revelation by the Holy Spirit who is understanding (Is 11:2, Prov 4:7).
14 The sower soweth the word.
The sower in this case is Jesus, however any that speak the Word of God become sowers in Him. Jesus illustrates this using the illustration of a farmer sowing seeds received by the ground that grow, the seed is the word of God.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Satan's intent is to steal the word immediately before it can reach the soil (the ground of the heart or soul) and has time to germinate to grow (receive Holy Spirit understanding of the word of God). He steals from those with no understanding by the Holy Spirit. Those whop receive understanding, he begins to set obstacles to block the word seed and stop the seed from growing in the heart. and producing fruit in the life of the believer.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
The ground is the heart (Mat13:19) The first requirement for faith is spiritual hearing which comes from the Word of God. From the Word of God we are able to receive the faith of Christ (Rom 10:17, Rom 3:21-22).
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
The first requirement for a seed to grow is a root system, likewise the seed of the Word requires a root to grow in the heart. Here is the first obstacle to the growth of the Word of god, persecution and affliction
The second obstacle to the Word growing in the heart is offence.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The third obstacle to the Word growing in the heart is care , the fourth is the deception of riches. the fifth obstacle is a choking of the Word, creating difficulty in receiving.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Those who stand firm in the faith of Christ, begin to bear fruit from the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22, according to the measure of faith produced from 60-100 fold) and begin to walk in the true light of God (1 John 1:7). The Word is the sword of the spirit, providing victory and protection (Eph 6:17)
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
Refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who came as the "Light of the World". He did not come to hide Himself away but to reveal the Father, to be "lifted up", like a lamp on a lamp stand, that He might 'draw all men unto Him' (John 12:32). But as we dwell and abide in Him, we dwell in the "Light" and we are to come out into the open and make known our belief in Jesus by word, deed and behaviour.
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
As light shows up everything , so the Lord reveals the Father and by the Holy Spirit all things concerning Him so that we may tell others.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
Without the Word, satan will take away all our Christ bought privileges, such as healing, soundness, safety, protection.
1. Prophesy grows from the Word
2. Faith grows from the Word
3. Holy Spirit understanding grows from the Word.
25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
The more we receive from God the more He will give to us, but if we are not faithful in the little that is given to us then even that will be taken away from us. The enemy will begin to steal the word using obstacles (Mark 4:15-19) and prevent spiritual growth into Christ.
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
Like the farmer, for the seed to grow it must be cast, not left in a bag in the barn. The way the word seed is received to the ground of the heart is through the ears, eyes (Prov 4:20-27) , and the Word is activated in faith by the mouth (Rom 10:8-9)
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
How the seed, the Word of God grows in the heart no one knows. How the seed germinates and grows, no one knows but the soil and seed work together to produce fruit (2 Pet 1:5-8).
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
As outlined in (2 Pet 1:5-8), faith and the anointing of God is progressive.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
If we allow the Lord by the Holy Spirit to bring us to full spiritual maturity, then He will gather us to Himself. As the farmer harvests his field when the corn is fully ripe. Like Enoch who walked with God, he reached the goal of spiritual maturity, so he did not see death but was transformed and transported to heaven (Gen. 5:24).
30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
Here again is the illustration of the word of God seed sown in the heart through the eyes, ears and spoken on the mouth, no matter which part of the word is sown it will produce. God sees the full tree, Christ in us our hope of glory.
32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
The growth of the Word springs from the Word on the mouth, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45), when received by others it begins to grow and form a tree network with many branches hanging from the true vine (John 15:1).
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
Jesus had expounded all things to the disciples and they should now be full of His teaching and empowered by His faith. However, they are about to be sorely tested by the elements. How will they react in fear or faith? Fear contaminates faith as we shall see.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
Which of satan's obstacles will now rear its head within the disciples, to steal the word preventing them from fully walking in faith, and prevent spiritual growth?
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
Offense immediately arises, the disciples are indignant, don't you care that we perish? They are at this point dependant upon Jesus as their charismatic leader, terrified by the physical evidence, they have not made the cross into walking by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
The Word arises in Jesus and He begins to sow peace by commanding the wind and waves to cease, His harvest is immediate, there is a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Offense has produced it's harvest, of the wrong kind of fruit, namely fear, Jesus says why has fear arisen in you, when faith should arise to empower you to command. After all that Jesus has expounded to them, they turned to their own fear to solve their dilemma. Fear had robbed and paralysed them of the faith required to deal with adversity.
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
All day they had seen Jesus do the impossible , yet they reasoned that from their experience no -one can do this (Mat 8:27). They were correct, no one can do this, except a man anointed of God with the Holy Ghost and power (Acts 10:38). The disciples had no inner image of themselves commanding the wind and sea.