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  • For those who are participating in the Lent reading plan, do you have any highlights or thoughts to share from the past week?

We will be reading and discussing a parable today: a short, simple story used to teach a lesson or principle. Jesus didn't invent the concept of a parable - they were common teaching tools in his day. But he did use them a lot, and he used them for a particular purpose in his ministry.

  • As a group: see how many different parables of Jesus can you think of (without looking them up!)

  • Why do you think Jesus taught using parables?

Read Matthew 13:1-9

  • You might be quite familiar with this parable - but imagine for a moment what it would have been like to be in the crowds beside the lake that day:

    • What aspects of the parable do you think they would have understood or related to?

    • What questions do you imagine they were left with?

    • Do you think there is any aspect of the true meaning of the parable that would have been understood to at least some of them?

Read Matthew 13:10-17

  • According to his words here, why did Jesus teach in parables?

  • In what sense was Jesus' news of the kingdom of heaven 'secret'?

  • Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10. How does this quote illustrate Jesus' purpose for using parables?

  • Is all of this different to your answer to the introductory question earlier, "Why do you think Jesus taught using parables"? If so, in what way is it different? How do you feel about this?

  • How would Jesus' words in verses 16-17 have made the disciples feel? And how do they come across to a reader reading Matthew's Gospel years later? (consider the original audience as well as us today)

Read Matthew 13:18-23

  • The four types of soil in the parable (path, rocky ground, thorns and good soil) are four types of listeners. What are the factors that Jesus says stop a person from growing and bearing fruit?

  • Have these things been present in your own life? Did they make the sort of impact Jesus is describing?

  • What makes someone like the good soil?

    • And consider the context here - Jesus only explains his parables to his followers, so only they can really understand. So what does this tell us about those who are 'good soil'?

Spend some time in prayer for ourselves, that we would be receptive to the seed in spite of opposition or hardship or distractions. And pray for those we know who don't yet know Jesus, that the Sower would sow seeds and find fertile ground in them.


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