The setting of the kingdom parables of Mark 4 (parallels in Mt. 13 and Lk. 8) is on the Sea of Galilee.
One of the parables was the “Parable of the Sower:”
And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 “And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 “so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’ ” 13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 “The sower sows the word. 15 “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:1-20).
A photo of a sower sowing seed is featured on the wall inside an orientation room at the Nazareth village.
Things to remember regarding the parable:
The kingdom is the Lord’s. He is the king. The seed of His kingdom is the word of God.
When the seed is sown there are different results. Some people never respond. They are the wayside soil. Others respond enthusiastically, but fall away. These are represented by the rocky soil. Some are preocccupied and distracted and never bear fruit for the Lord. These are portrayed by the thorny ground. Then there are honest and good hearts that hold fast the word and bear fruit. This is the good ground.
Click on image for larger view.