The Parable of the Sower

Jesus told a short parable about the Kingdom of God, recorded in the book of Mark. He said:

This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

Watch this video and let’s break down this parable into each of the individual parts to understand it better:

Question: What are the stages that the field goes through in this parable?

Discuss this question together as a group and then click on this box and read the answer below.

The field goes through four different stages:

The first stage is the empty field. This is the stage where the man enters into the field where there are no plants.

The second stage is the sowing of the seed within the empty field. The man scatters the seed onto the ground.

The third stage is growth of the plant. We see that the plants grow in stages until they reach maturity.

The fourth stage is the harvest. The man enters the field with his sickle to cut and gather the grain once the plants have reached their maturity.

Question: How can we use our understanding of this parable in our disciple-making efforts?

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Jesus helps us to understand God’s plan for how the Kingdom of God grows. It is important to remember that Jesus starts this parable with this sentence:

This is what the kingdom of God is like.

If this is how Jesus says that the Kingdom works, then we should pay close attention to what he says.

We see that the man is planting a field. He sows the seed where the plants do not currently exist. We must go to those who do not yet believe and sow seed among them!

We see that the man is sowing seed. It is important for us to tell people the message that God has given us. We must not keep the message to ourselves, but instead we must proclaim it, helping others to know the truth of what God has done in our lives and what he wants to also do in their lives as a result of what he has already done for them!

The plants grow! Jesus said that we must make disciples. While the man doesn’t understand how the growth works, he does know that the plants grow. The growth of these plants is a process of discipleship, a process that we can participate in, fulfilling the command that Jesus gave us to make disciples who will obey what he has commanded.

And finally, we see a harvest. It is a gathering of the disciples that make up what we call the church. Whether small or large, we have a role to play in the building of the Church.