In this research paper, the teachings of Jesus using parables are explored.
A parable is a Greek word meaning a story told for the sake of comparing circumstances. It has a mysterious and religious meaning (Ross par. 4). Parables are brief narrations that describe moral, ethical and religious directions to certain situations. They are vivid and easy to remember, just like proverbs. They are used to inspire people and influence them to follow a certain direction as far as religious affiliations are concerned.
This is by applying the teachings in the parables to the day to day experiences. Parables are contextual; the teaching of one parable is independent of another. Jesus used different parables to explain distinct circumstances.
Parables cover various aspects of life like nature, wisdom, knowledge, relationships, morality and ethical standards among others. In the bible, Jesus used about 40 parables and approximately 102 proverbs. Parables were particularly used in the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Proverbs are explained in detail in the Old Testament in the book of ‘Proverbs’. Parables are narratives that pay attention to individuals and certain situations where the lesson is generalized to a broader scope. Parables are vivid, strange and challenging. They are also very paradoxical but at the same time realistic.
They usually take a twisted turn of events. Jesus used parables as stories that indirectly explain a situation and behavior (New International Version, Mat. 13:1-58). People’s morality, integrity, spirituality and wisdom are upheld if the teachings of parables are followed. Humankind is warned about the things and behavior to stay away from against the ones to embrace. God is never happy with sinners and so people are encouraged to be their own judge.
They ought to interpret and use the parables of Jesus accordingly. Those who follow the teachings thrive well and live in harmony with each other. The best practices involve, control of anger, humility, kindness and others (McKenzie 6978-80).
Parables can be used to correct deviant behavior, explain a phenomenon or sensitize the importance of acting in a certain manner. One common aim of parables is to prove the sovereignty of God to people; to show that God is most powerful and His teachings should be followed in all circumstances. Jesus used them to support his teachings. Therefore, no other spiritual power is beyond that of God and it is bound to fail if used by human beings. His goodness, powers and mercies surpasses all human kind (McKenzie 6976-78).
The particular parable to be analyzed in this research paper is the parable of the sower. Jesus used the parable of the Sower to explain his ways and show the sovereignty of God. In Matthew 13:18-3 and Mark 4:1-9, He used the parable to a gathering of people from all over the city. He explained that there once lived a Sower who went to sow his seeds. He scattered the seeds in the land and in the process, four circumstances were experienced.
Firstly, some seeds landed by the wayside. These were trodden down and swept away by the winds and the passersby. Secondly, other seeds landed on the rocks. These ones dried up with time since the rocks lacked adequate nutrients for the seeds’ survival. Thirdly, some seeds landed on thorns. The thorns grew among the seeds but chocked them with time hence hindering their thriving. Lastly, some seeds landed on good land.
These survived well because the land was fertile with enough nutrients to ensure survival of growing plants. They bore good fruit (“The Parable of the Sower” par. 1-5).
The hearers only
For those who only hearers the word, it falls on the wayside. It does not have a lasting impact on them. The devil snatches the word from them immediately they try to get it. Therefore, they do not bear any fruit. They have dull minds. These people go to the church, for various reasons e.
g. because it is a must, because they do not want to look disobedient, they have no other places to go to, they want to see a friend in church and many other reasons. Therefore, they do not have an intention to practice what the word says. They do not expect a blessing to come their way or to get any positive impact from what the preacher says. They just hear the word because they are in the church where the gospel is being preached. What goes into the mind is slowly washed away with time because it was not given much thought in the first place. The heart is crowded with thoughts.
Therefore, just like a super highway, there is traffic in their minds. This makes it hard for the word of God to be fully incorporated into the hearts of these people (Spurgeon par. 15).
The rock represents the word falling on deaf ears.
These people do not make effort to listen and practice the gospel. They joyfully receive the word at first, but are not keen in implementing. They have a negative attitude towards the gospel, and so the word does not make any impact on them. These kinds of people have blocked the ears from the word of God. The devil has made them completely blind. They easily fall into temptations of the earth because they do not have a strong religious foundation. As soon as they assimilate the word, the devil grabs it away from them. Demonic spirits have taken control of their hearts and minds and they no longer worship God.
They rebel against the word of God. The word falls on hard land; a hard heart. The word reaches close to the heart but it is not able to completely get in. No positive effects happen in the hearts of such people; the word withers as soon as it gets into their hearts. They do not confess their sins as they have a heart of iron that is not moved by any emotions. Even though Christians pray, fast and cry for these people, their hearts are still hardened.
They go back to evil practices immediately. This is a major challenge to Christians as the word falls on deaf ears. These people need divine intervention which can only be received by prayer and fasting (Spurgeon par. 7-9).
In the case of the thorns, they receive the word well and practice it for a short while but the evil one snatches it from them.
That is through vices like, pride, greed for more property, lust, lying, blasphemous acts, life’s pleasures and jealousy among others. The evil one snatches away whatever good word gets into the minds and hearts of such people. The people may be willing to pray and practice the will of God but the devil is not happy and so he uses his spirits to confuse these people. This land is good since even thorns thrive in it. Good people mix with evil ones, who prick and chock their religious actions.
The good try their best to struggle with the gospel, but the evil overpowers them. This leaves them with no option or opportunity to practice the word of God. They receive blessings from God at first; they buy big cars, have beautiful homes, they wear expensive clothes, they tithe and they get good education. However, this is short lived. Soon, evil thoughts and deeds dominate their character (Spurgeon par. 10-11). The good become wealthy and forget that it is God who provides their fortune.
This makes them seek more wealth. In the process, they lose God and engage in sinful acts. They start drinking alcohol, steal property, take drugs, commit murder, engage in corruption and prostitution, make others suffer, visit witchdoctors among other vices. All these are done in the name of gaining more wealth and earthy power. Sometimes God gets angry and punishes such people. He brings diseases to them, makes their businesses fail and other kinds of punishment just to humble and remind them that His power surpasses all.
This is the largest group of people in the world. They eventually bear bad fruit (Spurgeon par. 11-13).
The Good ground
Lastly, for those that the word lands on good ground, the good ones, the word bears good fruit. These are the minority that the gospel seeks to multiply. They receive the word well and the final effects are positive too.
They exhibit fruits of the Holy Spirit in the end. These are love, joy, peace, humility, faithfulness, patience, righteousness and self control among others. They hold tightly to the virtues of God. They are sincere intercessors and so God is always willing to bless them. They stand through life’s temptations and always trust God with their problems (Spurgeon par. 15).
Today, when people go out to till their land and sow, the same procedure that Jesus explains happens. Some plants grow while others do not survive to the fruit-bearing stage. The same reasons that Jesus used in his teaching are the same reasons as to why some do not survive. This parable is therefore applicable to the modern world. Jesus tried to mean that Christians, who are his followers, are just like sowers. They use the seeds given to them by God, to spread the gospel.
Christians seek to learn the gospel from the bible. Then, they go to the rest of the world to preach the teachings of the bible. The world/people is the land/soil while the word is the seed. Christians however are not aware of which kinds of people are ready to assimilate the teachings. The people are different at heart and so it is up to the preachers to do their best to make sure the word moves to change the hard ones to be softer and reinforce the beliefs of the good ones (Spurgeon par. 3-4).
The Christians throw the word to every creature on earth and the word may fall on people who hear but don’t practice the word (wayside), those with hardened hearts, (rocks), the greedy (thorns) or on those who are ready to listen and live by the word of the lord (good ground). In all this, Christians have to be careful to preach the word according to the teachings of God. It is their business to ensure that people try to understand the word. However, sometimes it is beyond their control because the people cannot be forced to practice what they are taught (Spurgeon par. 4-5). The real value of parables has not been fully appreciated by human beings and this is a disappointment to Jesus. Therefore, Christians have been called by the word of God as farmers, through this parable to preach the gospel and make sure the seeds are planted in the hearts of the world.
They are called to prepare the land well so that the fruit bore is good. Those on the rocks must be willing to remove any barriers that block the word of God from getting into their hearts. People must pray so that the word is internalized in their hearts and that they do not annoy God. Prayers can break the soil and make the land fit for survival.
Prayers humble the proud and strengthen the weak at heart. Christians should be firm in their faith to avoid being shaken by the evil one. Christians must pray hard that their faith is not shaken by earthly desires and that they remain strong in the word of God. Prayers ensure also that people practice what they hear and that the wisdom they receive from God will enable them to differentiate between the vices and virtues. The soil needs to be kept rich and this is by seeking more of the word of God (“The Parable of the Sower” Par.1-5).
Jesus warned that if people did not practice the gospel of God, God’s wrath would be cast upon them. In today’s world, it is evident that the wrath of God is taking toll on the people. This is through punishments that show God is angry with humankind. Humankind has not heard and practiced what God demands; the people have not perceived and received the teachings of God. God punishes the people by sending earthquakes, fires, storms, diseases, poverty among others (Ross par. 1). Due to the various personality traits, the word receives diverse responses from different people. Although the world has cultural and religious diversities, the teachings of God’s gospel, are acceptable to all cultures and religions.
Preachers must be ready for rejection, just like Jesus, in the process of preaching the gospel. They must be ready to face temptations and stand firm with the word of God. What people are experiencing today is a fulfillment of the word that Jesus used to preach, using parables like the parable of the Sower.
Jesus therefore used these parables as a way of revealing the truth of life, which is what is being experienced today. Those who have heeded to the teachings of the parable have been enlightened and their faith strengthened (Ross par. 4 -6). For human beings to be able to interpret the parable of the Sower effectively, they must understand that parables are simple and straight forward and also that parables are different and they do not work in the same ways. They must be interpreted in a contextual manner. Human beings must be willing to leave behind the earthly riches and desires and practice what God has called them to do (Fuller 3543-47). The devil uses false preachers to confuse people, making them turn against the will of God.
Sects and illegal groups have been formed so that people may not receive God’s word. The sects and cults ensure that people do not get salvation and thus their faith is shaken. This makes people weak. People should endeavor to be at peace with one another and this can only be possible if the word of God is properly understood and practiced. Moreover, Christians should practice what they preach. Otherwise God will be angry at them and punish them. This is because they have been called to be leaders and so they should act as role models to the sinners.
Human beings should always love one another, share with the needy, sacrifice for their neighbors, practice humility and seek salvation (Luther 1483-1546). Jesus came to save and redeem humankind from the devil’s evil intentions. He paid the sinners’ ransom when he was crucified and so it is only fair that people live according to the doctrines of the gospel; to pay back the good deeds of Jesus.
People are called to be imitators of Jesus’ works. Jesus was criticized and his faith tested, but he still remained firm. Such, is what human beings should emulate. His parables always left the people perplexed. Everyone could not believe that a carpenter’s son could have such powerful teachings.
He urged all his followers to carry on with his teachings (Allison 4843-4845). In a nut shell, the reason why Jesus used this parable of the sower is that, he wanted to fulfill Isaiah’s prophesy: people shall hear and not understated and they shall see and not perceive. Also, he used the parable to conceal the truth about the ways to be followed by all the people. These are the ways that make them bear good fruit. The process of bearing good fruit is slow and gradual. Therefore, Christians should not give up but should allow people to receive, interpret and practice the word. Christians should pray for the sinners so that they don’t get lost in the process of bearing good fruit (Ross par. 15-16).
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