Parable of the Sower

Did you know...

that a parable is a simple story that is used to teach people lessons?

This story is about two parables - the sower and the mustard seed.

Jesus wanted everyone to understand what He taught, so He used simple stories using earthly things to teach a moral or spiritual lesson. The stories that Jesus used are called “Parables”.

With His disciples, Jesus went from village to village, town to town preaching to people about the Kingdom of God.

One day Jesus was beside the sea and a huge crowd had come to hear Him speak. So that everyone could see and hear Him, he went out onto a boat and faced the crowd.

Jesus told the parable of the sower. 

Jesus boat

A sower is someone who plants crops, like a farmer. The farmer scatters seeds over the ground so that they will grow. This is called “sowing”. 

Jesus said, “A sower went out to plant some seed.

And as he scattered the seed across his field, some fell by the footpath, and birds came and ate them. 

sower

Some seeds fell on shallow soil with rock where they had not much earth. The plants sprang up quickly but soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. Some seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them. 

But some seeds fell into good, fertile ground and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.

And Jesus said, “Anyone that has ears to hear, let him hear.”


seeds

The disciples were not sure that this meant so they asked for an explanation. “Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?”

Jesus answered, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. 

Jesus

I speak in parables, because people see what I do, but they don’t really see. They hear what I say, but they don’t really hear, and they don’t understand.”

Jesus then explained the parable saying, “The seed is the word of God. Those people who hear the news about the Kingdom of Heaven are like the seeds on the hard path. Evil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

Jesus

Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy. But just like young plants in poor soil, their roots don’t go very deep. They believe for a while, but in time of temptation fall away.

Those which fell among thorns are they who, when they have heard, go forth and are chocked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, so that their faith never ripens.

Jesus

But the seeds on the good ground are the people with honest and good hearts who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest.”

Then Jesus told another parable about a mustard seed.

Jesus gave another example, He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and planted in the field. It is indeed the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the largest among plants, and grows into a tree, where birds can come and find shelter in its branches.”

What do you think the parable of the mustard seed means?

Fun fact:

A mustard tree is sometime called a toothbrush tree (Salvadora persica) and is an evergreen shrub species that growns in Africa, India, and the Middle East. The mature size of a bush depends on its environment, but when fully grown, can reach heights of 6 and 20 feet with branches spreading out 20 feet. Some really big plants have grown to be 30 feet tall!

Salvadora persica
Images are the copyright  Sweet Publishing (The Parable of the Sower) for teaching purposes only, all rights reserved, and are used according to their terms of use - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.  Distributed under a license with FreeBibleimages. Mustard tree image distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.  Pharmacognsoy Review 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 2019-214 “Salvadora persica”.
Bible lesson activities

Learning Activity Extensions

Read the story in the Bible:   Matthew 13:1-23, 31-32; Mark 4:10-34; Luke 8:9-18.

Courtesy of supercoloring.com, download and colour, or colour online:
The sower scattering seeds

The Parable of the Farmer and the Seeds

Saddleback Kids   (1:14 min)

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