The Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Sower | Sunday School Solutions
by Emily Heflin
There’s nothing like a good story. They not only captivate our attention, but they help us understand truths that we know so well in a new and valuable way. Jesus knew this, so He often spoke in parables to teach His followers important lessons. Parables are fictional stories that teach a spiritual truth. Jesus told over 30 of them. These included the parables of the mustard seed, the lost sheep, and the good Samaritan, to name a few.
However, understanding the spiritual meaning underneath a parable was sometimes difficult for the disciples, and it can be for us, too. We need to make sure we have a clear understanding of what the passage means so we can correctly teach it to children. In this series, we will show you how you can help the kids in your Sunday school understand some of the Bible’s most well-known parables.
The parable of the sower can be found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Read the parable from any of these passages. Point out to the kids in your Sunday school class that the parable is very important since it is written in three different places in the Bible!
Like any good storyteller, Jesus set the background for the story. We should do the same for the children. In the parable, a sower went into his field. Jesus’ followers would have easily understood this picture since farming was a common job during that time, but will the children in your Sunday school understand? Ask the children if they know what a sower is. You can show them pictures of a sower in the field to help them imagine what the scene would have looked like. This will give them some context for understanding the parable.
Like any good storyteller, Jesus set the background for the story. We should do the same for the children.
In the parable, the kids will learn about what happened to the seeds that fell along the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, and in the good soil.
The seed represents the Word of God. The path represents the people who are lured away to a sinful life by Satan. The Bible tells us that our hearts are wicked; we are naturally selfish and disobedient.
The rocky ground represents people who say they follow Jesus but are not genuine. They haven’t accepted Him as their Savior. They can’t grow in their faith because they do not have faith. When they are challenged with a difficult situation, they do not know how to respond, so they often listen to the sinful world’s advice instead of listening to God’s wisdom in the Bible.
The soil in the thorns represents the people who care too much about what they want and don’t care enough about what God wants. They are so distracted with the world that they do not make time for God.
But the good soil represents the people who listen to the Word of Jesus. They accept Him as their Savior and live their lives to have a relationship with Him. Since they listen to Jesus, they go and tell other people about Him, too, and those people accept Jesus and tell more people about Him. Do you see the pattern?
There are a few important lessons that the children in your class can learn from this parable. First, ask the children in the class which type of soil they might be. Maybe the seeds landed in the rocky soil of their hearts. Maybe the seeds landed in the thorny soil of their hearts or maybe they were the soil where the seeds were eaten by birds. This is a perfect opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
You can present the Gospel to the children by using The Wordless Book wristband. Each pack you order will come with a free explanation leaflet or tract. You can order these on the CEF Press® website.
If there are saved children in your class, encourage them to tell other people about Jesus. The sower knew the seeds would grow in the good soil, but he threw seeds on the path, on the rocky ground, and on the thorny ground anyway. Use this point of the story to explain to the children that they should tell everyone about Jesus. Jesus can make any soil into good soil. We cannot do that ourselves. They should not share just with the people they think have open hearts towards Jesus. They should try to tell as many people about Him as they can to plant spiritual seeds in the lives of those around them.
You can reinforce the parable of the sower with this fun craft:
- Seeds – chive, basil, thyme, and sage sprout quickly
- Plastic spoons
- Styrofoam cups
- Give the children a Styrofoam cup and marker. Let each of them write what they will do this week to grow in their relationship with God. Be sure to give them specific goals, like, “Read five verses in the book of John each day” or “Pray for a lost friend before going to bed every day.”
- When the children are done writing on the cups, pour soil into the cups so they are about two-thirds full.
- Give the children a couple of seeds and plastic spoons. Instruct them to use the spoons as shovels to plant the seeds in their cups.
- Send the planted seeds home with them to water throughout the week. They should be excited to report that they found spouts in the cups by the next Sunday.
Now you’re ready to SING!
If you need song ideas, you can find visual aids, CDs, and music downloads at CEF Press.