Sunday, March 27, 2011

Understanding biblical parables: The Sower

Jesus
The parables of Jesus are a rich source of religious and ethical wisdom. Unfortunately, however, they take place in a cultural and historical context that can make them difficult for people in modern societies to understand. I have therefore decided to give you, my readers, the benefit of my extensive biblical knowledge (even vast knowledge, some might say, though others have suggested half-vast knowledge is a better description) and explain one of these parables every week once in a blue moon.

Today we will cover the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3-9).

Jesus sez (NIV):

The Parable of the Sower
"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times." Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

The cultural context

This is one of the simpler parables. It specifically addresses a farming practice of the times, namely, manual broadcasting, or, in layman's terms, throwing your seeds all over the effing place and hoping some of them land in the right spot.

Obviously, this didn't work very well. Since Jesus was God and thus omniscient, He knew that people in the future would invent efficient mechanical devices called "seed drills" that would put seeds in exactly the right spot at exactly the right depth. He also knew that the Sumerians and Chinese had already respectively invented basic seed drills 1500 and 200 years previously. Yet His own Chosen People were somehow not up to the task.

Jesus found this stupidity and waste (which often led to famine) very frustrating, but He couldn't just give the people seed drills. He knew that He mustn't disrupt the time line or Reapers would appear and devour the entire human race within hours.

Jesus knew what would happen if He disrupted the time line

The meaning of the parable

So the meaning of the parable, i.e., what Jesus really wanted to say, is "THE SUMERIANS INVENTED THE SEED DRILL 1500 YEARS AGO, ME DAMN IT! WHY THE HELL CAN'T YOU?! AT LEAST LOOK WHERE YOU'RE PLANTING YOUR SEEDS! DON'T JUST THROW THEM ALL OVER THE F***ING PLACE! THROW THEM ON THE GOOD SOIL, YOU F***ING IDIOTS!"

And the final line of the parable, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear," was simply Jesus' way of saying, "YOU PRIMITIVE F***S HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, DO YOU?!"

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