The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1 – 23; Mark 4:1 – 20; Luke 8:1 – 15)

Scripture Text:

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Matthew 13:1 – 23

Mark 4:1 – 20

Luke 8:1 – 15

Questions:

1. Regarding house plants, do you:

  • talk and sing to them like friends?
  • forget about them till their leaves fall off?
  • just hope no one gives you one?

2. If you were to change careers and become a farmer, what kind of crops would you like to raise? Why?

3. What kind of luck have you had with growing things? Are you a “green thumb” or a “brown thumb”? What is your secret of success (or reason for failure)?

4. What is your initial reaction to this parable?

  • This would make a great article for Better Homes and Gardens.
  • I’m glad Jesus interprets it.
  • Why doesn’t Jesus say what He means up front?
  • Why does Jesus want to keep some people in the dark?
  • This is really a parable of the soils, more than the sower.
  • I wonder which soil I am.

5. What four types of soils does Jesus mention? What characterizes each? What happens to the seed in each kind of soil?

6. What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable reveal about the seed? About the various soils? The fruit? The farmer?

7. What do parables accomplish that simple and direct speech lacks?

8. How does Jesus’ challenge in Matthew 13:9 help explain verses 11 and 12? How does faith open you up to more and more spiritual insight?

9. How does the quotation from Isaiah explain the difficulty of understanding parables?

10. In Matthew 13:16 and 17, Jesus gives a new Beatitude. What have these disciples seen and heard that the prophets longed to see and hear? Are we included in this blessing? Why do you think so?

11. Can you see and hear Jesus at work in today’s world? If so, how?

12. How would you explain this parable to a bunch of city kids who didn’t know anything about sowing a field? What modern analogy would you use?

13. Why do so many people misunderstand the Gospel?

14. The disciples were always asking Jesus questions. How comfortable are you taking your questions to Jesus?

15. What help do you get from this parable about sharing your faith with others?

16. Why do you think Jesus told this parable?

  • so those who reject Him can be condemned as infertile soil
  • so those who reject Him can understand why they reject Him
  • so people will examine their lives
  • so disciples who sow the word won’t get discouraged by the results

17. What is the crop that the seed is supposed to produce?

  • faith
  • zeal
  • Christ-like character
  • good deeds
  • new converts

18. Which of the four types of soil best describes your response to the Gospel when you first heard it?

19. How would you describe the root system of your spiritual life now?

  • shallow like an over-watered plant
  • fairly extensive, but I worry about times of drought
  • extensive and deep, strengthened by faith and difficulties

20. In the period of your life when your spiritual life was the most unfruitful, what was the main reason?

  • I had a whole lot of problems.
  • I didn’t know Christ.
  • I knew about Christ, but I was taken up with other things.
  • I lacked a supportive community.
  • I was living life my way.

21. What was the main factor at the time you produced the best crop?

  • I had continually sought God’s will.
  • I had my priorities in order.
  • I had few distractions in my life.
  • I had a supportive community.
  • I had a strong devotional life.

22. Which “thorn of worry” is most likely to choke your faith?

  • finances
  • failure
  • family problems
  • what others think
  • health
  • the future
  • fear of death

23.  What steps could you take to improve the soil of your spiritual life?

  • plow it up and start over
  • allow troubles to be fertilizer rather than just “rocky times”
  • uproot the thorns of the worries and desires of the world
  • have a refreshing devotional life
  • surround myself with the rich topsoil of a spiritual community

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Stooped Woman Healed On The Sabbath (Luke 13:10 – 17)

Scripture Text:

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Luke 13:10 – 17

Questions:

1. Are you more of a “the rules are meant to be broken” or a “play it by the book” type of person? Why? Give an example?

2. What does verse 11 tell you about Dr. Luke’s knowledge of medicine? Of spiritual phenomenon?

3. How does Jesus expose the ruler’s hypocrisy?

4. What tensions between caring for people and keeping religious rules do you experience?

5. How do you reconcile this connection between physical and spiritual healing?

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Repentance and the Unfruitful Fig Tree (Luke 13:1 – 9)

Scripture Text:

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Luke 13:1 – 9

Questions:

1. What was the worst tragedy in your community last year?

2. What is the danger of associating someone’s misfortune with sin?

3. In verses 6 – 9, who does the tree represent: the owner? farmer? Why the urgency?

4. If you had “one more year” like the fig tress to turn your life around, what would you do?

5. What fruit do you want to be producing by this time next year?

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