The Review and Herald


September 26, 1899

The Parable of the Sower


By parables Christ revealed the mysteries of redemption. His hearers were familiar with the things of nature, and these he used to represent the spiritual truths he wished to communicate. All had an opportunity to hear his appeals as they were made in sympathy for men. In the synagogue, by the wayside, and in the boat thrust out a little from the land, he spoke to the people, feeding their famished souls with the bread of life. Christ presented his truths in parables, in the form of a story. The Pharisees would not listen to direct truth; but parable teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention not only of the Jews, but also of the people of other nations. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 1

Christ knew there were many who would keep these lessons in mind until their hidden meaning should be discerned, but that others would never reach to their deep meaning. The disciples would come to the Great Teacher to inquire, and he instructed them. Christ gladly taught all who had interest enough to say, Explain to us the meaning of your words. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 2

These lessons of Christ were to be repeated by his disciples. When Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called by Christ to forsake their nets and follow him, the promise was given them, “I will make you fishers of men.” Those uneducated peasants of Galilee were to fulfil the divine commission. Through them Christ's lessons were to be carried to all peoples, nations, and tongues. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 3

In his zeal Christ was indifferent to his need of food and repose, and on one occasion his mother and brothers sought to draw him from his work. They thought if they could speak with him, they could draw him away from the multitude. But they could not reach him for the press, and they sent word to him that they were without, desiring to see him. But Christ was absorbed in the solemn and awful warnings he was giving to the people. He desired that his words should find a lodgment in some hearts. He could not be interrupted; his relatives could not draw him away. Under such circumstances, his duty to them was secondary. He did not rebuke them, but he seized upon this incident to convey a lesson that would be of great benefit to his mother, his disciples, and the concourse of people before him. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 4

In answer to the message, he said, “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” Christ never manifested any lack of respect for his mother or his brothers; but this was a point where he could fix the attention of the people, and answer the question, which was agitating many minds, as to what they should do if they received Christ. He knew that some present would accept his words, and that this course would bring to them determined opposition from fathers and mothers and relatives. He read the hearts before him; and stretching forth his hands to his disciples, he earnestly said, “Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 5

This is the assurance given to all who follow the teachings of Christ that they shall become members of the heavenly family. Says Christ, Obedience to my Father in heaven is filial obedience. This is the bond of union between me and all who shall become members of the heavenly family. All who accept the word of truth will enter the hallowed circle that binds to me every believer as brother or sister or mother. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 6

On the shore a company has gathered to see and hear Jesus,—an eager, expectant throng. The sick are there, lying on their rugs, waiting to present their cases before him. It is Christ's God-given right to heal the woes of a sinful race, and he now rebukes disease, and diffuses around him life and peace and health. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 7

But the crowd continues to increase. They press close about Christ until there is no room to receive them. Then, speaking a word to the men in their fishing-boats, he steps into the boat that is waiting to take him across the lake, and bidding them push off a little from the land, he speaks to the people as they stand upon the shore. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 8

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty-fold, some thirtyfold.... RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 9

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.” RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 10

Did Christ blind the eyes so that the people could not discern? He gave them great light, and from time to time added to the light by the exposition of prophecy. What, then, eclipsed the light?—The answer is given: “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 11

In heaven it was said, by the ministering angels, The ministry we were commissioned to perform, we have done. We pressed back the army of evil angels. We sent brightness and light into the souls of men, quickening their memory of the love of God expressed in Jesus. He attracted their eyes to the cross of Calvary. Their souls were deeply moved by the sense of the sin that crucified the Son of God. They were convicted. They saw the steps to be taken in conversion; they felt the power of the gospel; their hearts were made tender as they saw the sweetness of the love of God. In all this they heard the Father's call, but it was in vain. Their hearts were given to covetousness; they loved the associations of the world more than they loved their God. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 12

Christ tells the disciples the meaning of the parable. It is the kingdom of God that is represented. His word is the seed. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower,” says he. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 13

Christ is the sower of the seed. He came to sow the world with truth. Not one tiny seed of error does he cast into the ground. He sees that the precious seeds of truth do not have a fair opportunity when seeds of a perverted character have taken deep root. The plowshare of truth is needed, not merely to cut off the tops of the thorns, but to take them out by the roots. Therefore he makes the doctrines of his kingdom so plain that the truth appears in contrast with error; for truth, if planted and cherished in the heart, will uproot error. And all who have the privilege of hearing the Word, and who receive it not, must render an account for their rejection of the instruction and warnings given. They are represented as those who, “seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 14

Some who heard the parables of Christ came to him privately, and asked for an explanation. This was the desire that Christ wished to arouse, that he might give them more definite instruction. Those who study his word, with hearts open to receive the impressions made by the Holy Spirit, will not complain that they can not see clearly the meaning of his word. All who come to Christ and inquire for a clearer knowledge of truth, will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth. A heavenly light will shine into the soul temple, and will be revealed to others as the bright shining of a candle on a dark path. RH September 26, 1899, Art. A, par. 15