The Gospels record dozens of Jesus’ parables—stories Jesus told to help people understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. Each parable taught a lesson and revealed secrets of God’s kingdom for those who would understand. (See Matt. 13:10-13.) Unit 22 of The Gospel Project for Kids will examine several of Jesus’ parables over six sessions. Teach to help boys and girls grasp the deeper meanings behind the stories, beginning with the parable of the sower. Jesus’ parables show what it looks like to live in God’s kingdom where Jesus reigns supreme. One day, these stories will become our reality when Jesus returns and reverses the curse of sin.
When Jesus told the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23), those listening would have been familiar with the practice of sowing or planting seed. Make sure the kids understand that a sower would toss the seed across the ground. Seed would land throughout the area, not in one specific spot. In the parable, a sower’s seeds fell in four different places. Some of the seeds fell along the path, where they were eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on rocky ground. Those seeds had no roots, so they withered in the sun. Other seeds fell among thorns, and they were choked out. Other seeds fell on good soil, and they produced a crop—a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was planted.
The deeper meaning of this parable surrounded a lesson about God’s Word and the responses of those who hear it. After Jesus told the parable, He explained it to His disciples. The soil represents people’s hearts, and the seed is the word about God’s kingdom.
The person whose heart is like the hard soil hears the good news about God, but he does not understand it or he rejects it.
The person whose heart is like the rocky soil is quick to receive the truth, but when life gets hard, he falls away.
The person whose heart is like the thorny soil cares more about the things of the world than the good news about God, and the seed cannot grow.
The person whose heart is like the good soil hears the good news about God and receives it. He bears fruit, more than what was planted. In the life of a believer, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is evident.
Still today, people respond to the gospel in various ways. As you prepare to teach the parable of the sower, pray for the kids you lead. If the kids you teach are unbelievers, pray that God would give them receptive hearts to hear, understand, and be changed by the good news about Jesus. If kids are believers, encourage them in their sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Not everyone who hears the gospel believes it, but God calls us to share the gospel with everyone and trust that He is mighty to save.
What responses to the gospel have you personally witnessed? Leave a comment below. Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the June 4, 2017 session (Unit 22, Session 1) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Alyssa Jones has been a content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids since 2011. She lives with her husband, Nate, and their two kids in Nashville, TN. Alyssa volunteers with the kids’ ministry at Refuge Church, a church plant in Franklin, TN.