Home » Advanced Search » The Parable of the Soils 2/4 (Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23)

The Parable of the Soils 2/4 (Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23)

View Download and Print Options

This second image exposits the seed that fell ‘on rocky ground.’

The ‘seed’ that Jesus tells us is the ‘word of the Kingdom’ (13:18), is ultimately the crucified and risen Jesus Christ Himself. The essence of the ‘Good News’ that Jesus proclaimed (and which His disciples continue to proclaim) is not some*thing*, but some*one*, namely God Himself as He is for His people in Jesus Christ who endures their sin, shame, curse and death, and rises again into and as the New Creation. For this reason, in this picture, Jesus Himself becomes the scroll of the word that descends into the soil of the soul.

The soil is pictured as a man lying on the ground with his face toward the air. All souls, like soil, lie helpless and devoid of life until the life-bearing seed (the word who is Christ) enters in. Jesus tells us that the rocky soil is the one who initially receives this word with joy, but who does not allow it truly to take root, and when the heat of trials comes, the word withers away.

So here, the parchment of Christ’s word lies only on the surface of the rocky soul (or soil). It *looks* like this soil has received the word (13:5), however, that is because the word is only draped over the surface. For this reason, when the blazing sun of hardship rises, the word—exposed to the elements—is burned up (thus the fire and charred ends of the parchment in the image).

Unlike the thorny soil or the soil from which the birds steal away the seed, at first, the rocky soil *seems* to be doing well. The word has come into its life and it *looks* like real change has happened (13:5). But, like the scroll in this image, the change is only on the surface (like a mannequin draped with regal clothing). No deep-level transformation has taken place. It is not until the mercifully revelatory heat of hardship dawns that the reality of the soil’s word-reception is truly put to the test. Am I the rocky soil? Does hardship drive me more deeply into dependence upon and hope in Christ? Or does it strip Him from my life like leaves consumed in a fire?