When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (Matt. 13.19 NASB)
Matthew 13 can easily be called the kingdom chapter. In this chapter Jesus disseminates seven parables that unveil the message of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is compared to a costly pearl, where everything should be sold to obtain it. The Kingdom of God is like leaven. That is, it’s influence starts small but soon grows and infects everything. The first parable that Jesus compares the kingdom with is about a farmer tossing seed and it falling on various surfaces. The farmer’s seed lands upon four surfaces: the road, the rocky places, the thorns, and the good soil.
Jesus identifies that the seed the farmer is tossing is really “the word of the kingdom”. In other posts on Matthew, we have seen that Jesus has been preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (the terms ‘kingdom of heaven’ and ‘kingdom of God’ are identical to each other click here). Thus, “the word of the kingdom” that Jesus is speaking of is the gospel of the kingdom.
Notice what Jesus says about this ‘word of the kingdom’. Anyone who hears it and does not understand it, the evil one, the adversary, the enemy comes and snatches away the kingdom message that has been sown in their heart. The verb translated “snatch” has the image of taking something by force or taking something violently. In short, the enemy wants to rip the gospel of the kingdom out of the hearts of those who hear it. We also learn other important bits of information concerning this parable in the parallel accounts of Mark and Luke.
According to Mark:
And [Jesus] said to them, “Do yo not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. (Mark 4. 13-14 NASB italics mine)
We learn two details from Mark’s account:
- The parable of the sower is the most important parable that Jesus teaches. We must understand it or we can’t understand the other parables.
- Not only is Satan violent in taking the kingdom message, but also he reacts immediately to it.
According to Luke:
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. (Luke 8. 11-12 NASB)
We learn two details from Luke’s account:
- The “word of God” as defined in the gospels, is not the bible, but the gospel of the kingdom of God.
- This message of the kingdom is a matter of life and death.
The parable of sower, found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is the most important parable Jesus taught and it was about the kingdom of God. In short, we learn that kingdom message is meant for all, but the enemy does not want you to have this life giving message of hope.