Home » Advanced Search » Parable of the Soils 4/4 (Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23)

Parable of the Soils 4/4 (Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23)

View Download and Print Options

The seed that fell on the ‘good soil.’

The ‘seed’—which Jesus tells us is the ‘word of the kingdom, 13:19 —is once again depicted as the crucified and risen Jesus Himself. The only saving word that ever has or ever can be spoken, is the word of Who God Is, declared in the flesh of the crucified Jesus Christ, who Lives forevermore. And so to seed, the word, the totality of the kingdom, is represented as Jesus Himself who descends as a flowing scroll into the soil of the human soul.

Unlike the other pictures in this series, the soil is not pictured as a man laying on his back, still in the death of his un-sown soul. Rather, the ‘good soil’ is alive and fruit-bearing, having received *and held fast* the word—who is Christ—in an ‘honest and good heart’ (Lk.8:15). In Matthew’s version of the parable, the crop sown is grain (v.8), but Luke does not tell us what it is. In this image, I’ve presented the crop as a fruitful grapevine.

God’s true people are presented as a flourishing vine in the Prophets (c.f., Is. 27:2-3), thus the inclusion of the vine reminds us that the true people of God are those who receive the word who is Christ (Gal.3:26-29). We see the imagery of Israel-as-Vine fulfilled when Christ presents Himself as the True Vine (and so True Israel) in which His people are branches (John 15:1-6); therefore the vine imagery here also points to the fact that our fruitfulness comes only through union to *the* Vine. Finally, the grape vine also anticipates the wedding supper of the Lamb when Christ and His Bride (who is the ‘good soil,’ to mix metaphors) will share the nuptial wine of God’s covenant faithfulness in the Kingdom of the New Creation (Is.25:6-9).

As I finish up this series, let me just say that the question we ought to leave with is not, ‘am I the good soil?’ But, ‘will I open myself fully to receive Christ as Lord, God, and Life?’ You are not ‘locked in’ to be one soil or the other…the grace of God is an adamantine plow that will scatter the ravens and shatter the stones and uproot the thorns and turn even the hardest souls into rich, receptive soil…do not look inside, but look outside, to the resurrection illumined cross, and their behold and receive Him who is your life (John 6:37).