Mark 4 v 3 - 9

Tomorrow we will look at the interpretation of this parable by Jesus, but today we will remind ourselves that the story of the Sower is a great example of the method of speaking in parables to get across certain spiritual truths.

The scene is the lakeside, the beauty of the Sea of Galilee stretching out before the listeners. Jesus is sitting in a boat just off the shore and the gradual slope of the ground into the water makes for a perfect ampitheatre so that when Jesus spoke, everyone could listen, certainly at least hundreds of people without the need for amplification. There was no background noise that we are used to experiencing wherever we go! Jesus spies a sower busy sowing seed in the field beside the lake and brings him and his action into His teaching. What do we learn about this method of teaching?

1. Jesus starts from the present to arrive at the far distant spiritual reality. From a commonplace event, He brought peoples' minds to eternity; He started from what could be seen to remind His listeners of the concrete realities of the invisible. Everyone would have know what the Sower was doing, but He brought to their minds things of which they were not aware.

2. This emphasises that Jesus knew that it was possible to see God in the everyday, routine things of life. The same is true for us today as it was for the first century Jew living off the land. This world was not a lost and evil place for Jesus, a place to hide away from, but it was the garment of the living God!. Jesus proclaimed: ''If you want to see God, look around you!''

3. The telling of parables for Jesus was spontaneous and unrehearsed. He was a master storyteller. They were produced in the mind of Jesus by the occasion's demand.

4. It is vital that we keep in mind that the parables were obviously designed to be HEARD rather than READ. They were spoken to produce an immediate reaction and response, not to be dissected word by word and pored over endlessly. They were never intended to be allegories, so every detail didn't stand for something: in contrast, Jesus intended that one great idea should leap out. The question we should ask ourselves when we are ideally listening to someone read this-there are lots of Apps involving someone like David Suchet reading through the Bible-is what flashes into our mind when we hear the parable?

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