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And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word.”
Jesus had, a short while earlier, taught the crowd a parable – a seemingly ordinary story with a parallel. He did not give the crowd any explanation.
Interestingly (for us) the twelve closest followers of Jesus didn’t know what the parable of the sower actually meant. When his followers asked him to explain, he emphasized their lack of understanding. And followed that with his own concern that they might remain ignorant about all the many parallels.
Only then did he explain. The sower who went out to sow was sowing “the word”. What is this “word”? On a later page of his biography: Mark records this “With many such parables he spoke the word to them [the crowd], as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.” It seems from this that the “word” sown by the sower in the parallel included, at the very least, the words of Jesus – if not the complete message of “word” of his whole life on earth.