“Imagine a sower going out to sow.”

Matthew 13:3

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Matthew 13:1-9

Today’s scripture reading tells us of Jesus teaching from a boat. “Jesus is teaching by the lakeside. There are so many people crowding around him that Jesus gets into the boat and puts out a little from the shore so that he can be seen and heard by all. We are told in the next verse that Jesus uses parables to teach people many things. There is a place around the Sea of Galilee known as the “Bay of Parables”. Whether or not this is the spot where Jesus preached from the boat is impossible to say.

Jesus begins with the story of the man who goes out to sow seed. This would have been a common sight for Jesus growing up in Nazareth, watching his father and other men (and women) sow seed in fields. He uses the image often, especially when talking about the Kingdom of God. Somehow the idea of seed planted in the ground, growing silently all on its own, and sprouting and becoming a full plant appealed to his sense of the Kingdom of God. This gave Jesus a fruitful place from where to teach about the values of the Kingdom.

In today’s parable, Jesus is talking about the kind of ground on which the seed fell. Some seed fell upon the field, some on the path, some on rocky ground, and some among thorns. We do not get the explanation of the parable (that will come on Friday), so we need to use our imagination and think how his hearers would have heard it. 

How is the Kingdom like a seed? What could Jesus mean about seed being sown on the field? On the path? On rocky ground? Among thorns? On good soil? What seeds am I sowing around me? Are they good or bad seeds?  

Lord God,

We pray today for those places where the seed of the word of God is being sown, not just missionary lands but everywhere where people hear the word of God. May we be like good soil, so that the word can grow in us and produce thirty-fold, sixty-fold and a hundred-fold.


Tim Smith

Tim Smith is Regional Director for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Southern Africa, which covers Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He lives in Cape Town with his wife Shona and son Patrick.

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