The crowd of people listening to Jesus was huge, so much so that he had to get in a boat and go out on the water to teach the crowd. But Jesus knew that not everyone listening wanted to hear the truth of his message. Some came for healings or other miracles. Some came from curiosity. Some came to carry word back to those who became Jesus’ enemies of what he was saying.
So Jesus did something that may seem strange. Instead of stating clearly everything he wanted to explain, he taught in parables, stories that used everyday images to convey a message that was not so obvious. Anyone could understand the surface story, but only those who pursued its deeper meanings heard his real message.
Even today, people disagree on the meaning of some of Jesus’ parables. What exactly do the four soils represent? Who is the farmer represent in the parable of the growing seed? What are the birds that are attracted to the mustard plant?
One thing we can see clearly from all these stories is that seeds grow because God makes them grow, not because of human efforts. We often don’t understand what God is doing or where God is working, or why one ministry prospers while another does not. But when God’s work comes to fruition, we will see it and we will probably be amazed.