Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 2: "The Sower Went Forth to Sow"
Based on Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
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The Sower and the Seed
By the parable of the sower, Christ illustrates the
things of the kingdom of heaven, and the work of the great
Husbandman for His people. Like a sower in the field,
He came to scatter the heavenly grain of truth. And His
parable teaching itself was the seed with which the most
precious truths of His grace were sown. Because of its
simplicity the parable of the sower has not been valued
as it should be. From the natural seed cast into the soil,
Christ desires to lead our minds to the gospel seed, the
sowing of which results in bringing man back to his loyalty
to God. He who gave the parable of the tiny seed is the
Sovereign of heaven, and the same laws that govern earthly
seed sowing govern the sowing of the seeds of truth.
|The Sower and the Seed.—Davis Collection.|
By the Sea of Galilee a company had gathered to see
and hear Jesus—an eager, expectant throng. The sick
were there, lying on their mats, waiting to present their [p. 34] cases before Him. It was Christ's God-given right to heal
the woes of a sinful race, and He now rebuked disease,
and diffused around Him life and health and peace.
As the crowd continued to increase, the people pressed
close about Christ until there was no room to receive them.
Then, speaking a word to the men in their fishing boats,
He stepped into the boat that was waiting to take Him
across the lake, and bidding His disciples push off a little
from the land, He spoke to the multitude upon the shore.
Beside the sea lay the beautiful plain of Gennesaret,
beyond rose the hills, and upon hillside and plain both
sowers and reapers were busy, the one casting seed and
the other harvesting the early grain. Looking upon the
scene, Christ said—
"Behold, the sower went forth to sow; and as he sowed,
some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and
devoured them" (R.V.); "some fell upon stony places,
where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung
up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the
sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no
root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns;
and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell
into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an
hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."
Christ's mission was not understood by the people of
His time. The manner of His coming was not in accordance
with their expectations. The Lord Jesus was the
foundation of the whole Jewish economy. Its imposing
services were of divine appointment. They were designed
to teach the people that at the time appointed One would
come to whom those ceremonies pointed. But the Jews
had exalted the forms and ceremonies and had lost sight
of their object. The traditions, maxims, and enactments of
men hid from them the lessons which God intended to [p. 35] convey. These maxims and traditions became an obstacle
to their understanding and practice of true religion. And
when the Reality came, in the person of Christ, they did
not recognize in Him the fulfillment of all their types, the
substance of all their shadows. They rejected the antitype,
and clung to their types and useless ceremonies. The Son of
God had come, but they continued to ask for a sign. The
message, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand," they answered by demands for a miracle. Matt. 3:2.
The gospel of Christ was a stumbling block to them
because they demanded signs instead of a Saviour. They
expected the Messiah to prove His claims by mighty deeds
of conquest, to establish His empire on the ruins of earthly
kingdoms. This expectation Christ answered in the parable
of the sower. Not by force of arms, not by violent
interpositions, was the kingdom of God to prevail, but by the
implanting of a new principle in the hearts of men.
"He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man."
Matt. 13:37. Christ had come, not as a king, but as a
sower; not for the overthrow of kingdoms, but for the
scattering of seed; not to point His followers to earthly
triumphs and national greatness, but to a harvest to be
gathered after patient toil and through losses and
The Pharisees perceived the meaning of Christ's parable,
but to them its lesson was unwelcome. They affected
not to understand it. To the multitude it involved in still
greater mystery the purpose of the new teacher, whose
words had so strangely moved their hearts and so bitterly
disappointed their ambitions. The disciples themselves had
not understood the parable, but their interest was awakened.
They came to Jesus privately and asked for an explanation.
This was the desire which Christ wished to arouse,
that He might give them more definite instruction. He [p. 36] explained the parable to them, as He will make plain His
word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart. Those
who study the word of God with hearts open to the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, will not remain in darkness as
to the meaning of the word. "If any man willeth to do His
will," Christ said, "he shall know of the teaching whether
it be of God, or whether I speak from Myself." John 7:17,
R.V. All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of
the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries
will be understood by the heart that longs to know the
truth. A heavenly light will shine into the soul temple, and
will be revealed to others as the bright shining of a lamp
on a dark path.
"The sower went forth to sow" (R.V.). In the East
the state of affairs was so unsettled, and there was so great
danger from violence that the people dwelt chiefly in
walled towns, and the husbandmen went forth daily to their
labor outside the walls. So Christ, the heavenly Sower,
went forth to sow. He left His home of security and peace,
left the glory that He had with the Father before the world
was, left His position upon the throne of the universe.
He went forth, a suffering, tempted man; went forth in
solitude, to sow in tears, to water with His blood, the seed
of life for a world lost.
His servants in like manner must go forth to sow.
When called to become a sower of the seed of truth, Abraham
was bidden, "Get thee out of thy country, and from
thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that
I will show thee." Gen. 12:1. "And he went out, not
knowing whither he went." Heb. 11:8. So to the apostle
Paul, praying in the temple at Jerusalem, came the
message from God, "Depart; for I will send thee far hence
unto the Gentiles." Acts 22:21. So those who are called [p. 37] to unite with Christ must leave all, in order to follow Him.
Old associations must be broken up, plans of life
relinquished, earthly hopes surrendered. In toil and tears, in
solitude, and through sacrifice, must the seed be sown.
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