Jesus’ Explanation of the Sower
Matthew 3:18–23 (see also Mark 4:13–20, Luke 8:11–15)
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom, and does not understand, the wicked one comes, and seizes upon what was sown in his heart; this is he that was sown along the way.
And that which was sown upon rocky places is he who hears the Word, and straightway with joy receives it. And he has no root in himself, but is temporary; and when affliction or persecution comes because of the Word, he is straightway caused to stumble.
And that which is sown among thorns is he who hears the Word, and the anxieties of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
And that sown upon the good earth is he who hears the Word, and understands, who also bears fruit, and does, indeed some a hundred, and some sixty, and some thirty.
The Word of the kingdom
AC 9987.4. That “the Word” here is truth Divine is evident without explication. It is said “the Word of the kingdom,” because it is the truth of heaven and the church, for “the kingdom” is heaven and the church.
Seed upon the way
Doctrine of Life 90. The “seed upon the way” exists with those who do not care for the truth.
AC 9222. The very first thing with the man of the church is to believe the Word; and this is the chief thing with him who is in the truth of faith and the good of charity. But with those who are in the evils of the love of self and of the world, the chief thing is not to believe the Word, for they reject it the moment they think about it and likewise blaspheme it. If a man were to see the magnitude and the nature of the blasphemies against the Word that exist with those who are in the evils of these loves, he would be horrified. While the man himself is in the world he is not aware of this, because these blasphemies are hidden behind the ideas of that active thought which with men passes into speech. Nevertheless, they are revealed in the other life, and appear horrible.
Seed upon rocky places
Doctrine of Life 90. The “seed upon stony places” exists with those who do care for the truth, but not for its own sake, thus not interiorly.
AC 8993. The genuine affection of truth wills and longs to know the veriest truths of faith for the sake of good use as the end, and for the sake of life. But the affection of truth that is not genuine desires and longs for truths for the sake of self, thus for seeking honors and for hunting gains. They who are in the affection of truth from this origin do not care whether the truths they know are genuine, provided they are such as they can pass off as truths; and therefore they stick in the mere confirmation of the doctrinal things of the church in which they were born, whether these be true or not true. They are also in darkness in respect to truths themselves, for worldly ends, which are gains, and bodily ends, which are honors, completely blindfold them.
Seed among the thorns
Doctrine of Life 90. The “seed in the midst of thorns” exists with those who are in the lusts of evil.
NJHD 86. So long as a man does not shun evils as sins, the lusts of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind on the part of the will, being like a thick veil there, and like a black cloud beneath the spiritual mind, and they prevent its being opened. But in very deed, the moment a man shuns evils as sins, the Lord inflows from heaven, takes away the veil, dispels the cloud, opens the spiritual mind, and so introduces the man into heaven.
Seed on the good earth
Doctrine of Life 90. The “seed on the good earth” exists with those who love the truths that are in the Word from the Lord, and do them from Him, thus who bear fruit.
TCR 245. That the church is according to her doctrine, and that the doctrine is from the Word, is known. But still it is not doctrine which establishes the church, but the wholeness and purity of doctrine, consequently the understanding of the Word. But the specific church, which is in man in the singular, is not established and made by doctrine, but by faith and a life according to it. Similarly the Word does not establish the church in specific in man, but faith according to truths, and a life according to goods, which he draws from [the Word] and applies to himself.
Questions and Comments
- The explanation of the parable says, “When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom, and does not understand, the wicked one comes, and seizes upon what was sown in his heart; this is he that was sown along the way.” What should we do when we don’t understand something in the Word? (AC 6479 is helpful.)
- NJHD 86 says, “the moment a man shuns evils as sins, the Lord inflows from heaven.” Does this match your experience?
- TCR 245 is about the church being established—the seed in the good ground. What does the “wholeness and purity of doctrine” mean? And how does that make a difference in the establishment of the church individually and collectively?