Our study of Matthew takes us to chapter 13 this week. In Chapter 13, we find Jesus resorting to the use of Parables to effectively communicate the message of the Kingdom. A Parable is defined as, "a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson." The disciples were curious to know why Jesus used parables when he talked to the crowd. Maybe, they thought it was a little childish for their rabbi to tell stories. But, Jesus had an answer waiting for them as always. Jesus said, "The knowledge of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them." In other words, Jesus was saying that these stories had so much meaning contained in them, but this meaning can only be grasped by the serious listener and the person humble enough who cares to listen. Therefore, Jesus hid the gospel from the "know it alls" of his time just like He does today. The parables were grasped by the humble who thought of themselves not as intellectuals but normal everyday people with everyday minds. Jesus remarkably, made the kingdom message simple enough for the humble and too simple for the proud. In this, the prophecy of Isaiah 6:10 was fulfilled.

Now that we know why the Lord spoke in parables, we can turn our attention to the very first parable listed in the Scriptures. The Parable of the Sower is an allegory that explains to us the method by which the message of the kingdom takes root in the life of the listener. If you have not read the parable before, you can read it in Matthew 13. To understand the meaning of this parable, we do not have to do any hard thinking but just turn to the Lord for answers as always. The parable lists 5 types of listeners of the Kingdom message. All these types of listeners are present in this age too. The Lord compares the messenger of the Kingdom with a sower who went out to the field and sows some seed. If we look deeply into this parable, we see that the sower was lavish in dispensing the message. He just threw it out, not caring where it will land. This is how we believers should spread the gospel, freely and lavishly. Then the Lord shows us the five types of listeners of the kingdom message by comparing the listeners to different types of ground. The path represents the believers who listen to the message but do not understand what it means. Because the seeds do not take root, the evil one snatches away the word that was sown. Next, we see that some seeds fell on rocky places. This represents the listeners who are momentarily touched by the Gospel. Again, the message has not taken root in the mind of the listener. As a result, when trouble comes he forgets what he has heard and forgets the message in due time. Then there are the seeds that fell among the thorns. This is the most unfortunate kind of listeners we can see. For them, the message has taken root but the "worries of this life" have kept them from being fruitful. Unfortunately, this represents majority of the listeners in the world today. Since the lack the joy of the world, they lack strength and since they lack strenght they lack fruit. Finally, we find that some seed fell on "good soil". This is the kind of listeners that we all want to be. This is the man who has recieved revelation and understanding of the message. He understands the Gospel and he his confident of his salvation. This man/woman "yields a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." The seed that was sown in his life produces fruit which produces more seed. It follows that this listener can't help but sow the same seed that was sown in his life in other people's lives. This is how the message of the Kingdom spreads and grows