A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
– Matthew 12:3-4
I’m really excited to finally share this first poster in a series of four based on the Parable of the Sower! The idea for this series was planted in me years ago when listening to my pastor preach through the book of Matthew, and it is finally bearing fruit in my artwork. The sermon was preached in June of 2011, however it was not until my salvation took place in September of 2014 that I fully understood the depths of this parable. I remember after God saved me, thinking through Christ’s parable and trying to discover which soil I was before God changed me, and it has been a blessing to rethink through this parable again in preparing to create and share this series.
This parable has been viewed by people over the years in many ways. So I want to be clear at the beginning. In this parable, Christ uses the soils as examples of four types of people, four types of responses to the gospel, four types of hearts. Three of these hearts reject the seed of the gospel. This is by either a hard hearted willfulness to reject (Romans 2:5), a shallow appearance of faith that does not endure persecution or hardship (Matthew 24:12-13), or a superficial desire for God that is unmasked by a deep abiding love for the things of the world (1 John 2:15–17). Then a fourth type of heart that receives the gospel deeply, with joy, endures to the end, and produces fruit (John 15:5).
This parable of Christ is not about one lost person, two struggling believers, and one ideal believer. It is also not about four conditions of a Christian’s heart. It is about three hearts that are lost, and one that is redeemed. There is only one soil, the good soil, that is a picture of salvation in this parable. As the series develops, I will be sharing about each soil to show and discuss this more.
So with that, lets look at the first soil.
The pathway in this parable represents the hard heart of the willful rejector of Christ. This is the person who does not understand or offer any acceptance to the things of God, nor does he seek or desire to.
Listen to how Jesus explains this soil later in Matthew:
Hear then the parable of the sower: 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 what was sown along the path. – Matthew 13:18-19
This is a heart that is so calloused and full of scoffing that the seed of the gospel not only bounces off, but is then taken away from them. He hears it, rejects it, then the scripture says that Satan comes and devours it. This is a chilling thought! Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4 about those who are perishing in their rejection of the gospel:
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:4
For this heart, it sounds like a rather hopeless state. And it would be, if it were not for the fact that with God all things are possible. He is able to overcome our enemy, and the hardness of our hearts!
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. – Ezekiel 36:26–27
God is able to take what is hard and dead, and replace it with something alive and beating! Then also consider what Paul said about those who had their minds blinded by Satan:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6
Before God spoke things into existence, there was darkness (Genesis 1:1-3). He spoke into existence where there was no light, and overcame the darkness by bringing forth that light. He is the one who is able to pull off the veil, and speak the understanding of the gospel into the darkest heart! There is always hope, because there is always God, and there is power in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
I hope you don’t find yourself with a hard heart tonight. But if you do, cry out to the Lord to break up the hard ground, to give you a heart of flesh! Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born of a virgin, lived the sinless life you and I could not, died in our place under God’s wrath as he took on our sin. He was buried, then rose again to defeat death on behalf of all those would trust and follow him, then ascended to be with God the Father, and will return to welcome his people into his presence forever, and judge those who rejected him.
Don’t harden your heart! Today can be your day of salvation. Surrender to him, and let God scatter the birds and break up the hard ground!