We now have a cluster of parables about God’s kingdom with farming imagery dominating. The most famous of these is the parable of the Sower (or perhaps more accurately ‘soils’) where seed lands on different types of ground bringing different outcomes. There are things that prevent seed from taking root, growing and bearing fruit reflecting Satanic opposition and distraction, persecution and the daily cares of life. However, in the right soil there is growth just as God’s Word in our lives produces fruitfulness (4:1-20).
Parables are used because now is not yet the stage for full revelation (4:10-12). God’s kingdom is revealed to some -those who are hungry, those who have faith but hidden from others, there is judgement happening against the proud and hard hearted too. However, revelation is unavoidable – the truth will come out completely (4:21-25). God’s kingdom is growing even though it may seem small and fragile to start with (4:26-34).
Big Theme: The revelation of God’s Word brings a response. The response we are looking for is life changing fruitfulness and growth
Questions to think about
- Digging deeper into the Isaiah 6 reference and the function of parables as a filter. Why are some excluded and judged by the same words that bring hope and welcome to others?
- What does this mean in terms of the work of God’s Word in our own lives in terms of spiritual growth? Are we bearing fruit?
- What does this mean in terms of our expectations of kingdom growth in response to Gospel proclamation?
 A prophetic function -c.f. Isaiah 6 quoted in verse 12.