29 April 2013

Mark 4:3-8

"And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away." (v. 6)


The Parable of the Sower is a story that is linked with the understanding of how the good news of the love of God is spread. Jesus is using this story to talk to a large crowd, before explaining it later to his small group of followers (verses 13-20).

Jesus uses such a parable with its agricultural theme because it is likely that the crowd around him would have had a connection with farming and sowing seeds, either for a personal/family garden, small holding or as a living. The parable describes the different types of soil and the continued care of that seed.

The seed demands the right sort of soil to grow strong and healthy; if there are no roots then it will not gather enough food and water to grow. Disaster may strike - as seen in this passage as either birds (verse 4) or thorns choking the weeds (verse 7) - these incidents take away the roots' ability to grow in a good environment, and the weeds also block out any sunlight - vital for full growth.

This passage helps us to understand how the spread of the good news that Christ shared can be hindered. There is a need for a sower, someone willing to put in the hours of work. The heart in which the seed is sown needs to have the right conditions, be open to receive, be able to build strong spiritual roots, allowing the community of God to pour light on the seed and not to be choked by things that will strangle the new faith that is being grown. For the soil or hearts that are good, that do not get choked or the seed stolen, then the harvest will be immense (verse 20).

This story however is not explained straight away, the crowd are left to ponder on its meaning, before the disciples get to hear its understanding and meaning later from Jesus in private.

To Ponder

  • How can you sow seeds of good news?
  • How can you help prepare people for the good news of God?
  • What ground is there in you that you need to prepare before seeds are laid? 

Bible notes author

Bx Belshaw

Bx Belshaw is currently serving as a families and youth worker for St John's Methodist Church Conwy. This is her first role having completed her degree in theology at Cliff College last year.