Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that
‘looking they may not perceive,
and listening they may not understand.’
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
I love that Luke takes the time to mention the women who traveled with Jesus and the disciples, and who use their own limited resources to care for them. And he mentions them by name where the other gospels don’t mention them at all! It is Luke’s way, I think, of offering his thanks. Much like the woman in the last passage, these women were healed by Jesus and game Him thanks by giving Him everything in return. They are great models, though mentioned only briefly, of how we should be living our lives. Jesus has healed us too! I think it’s harder for us to respond so whole-heartedly because we didn’t literally witness this experience they way they did. But really that’s just an excuse, and our response should mirror theirs anyway.
I think I already said pretty much everything there is to say about this parable in Matthew and Mark (and Mark again). The only real difference is that in this version the people trample the first seeds, rather than a bird carrying them away. But it still means the same thing.
How important this parable is! It it was recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels it must be something worth reading and taking to heart!