Read Matthew 13
The chapter breaks but the events are contiguous. Jesus had told the Pharisees that the only sign they would get would be the sign of Jonah, he had told the crowd that those who do the will of the Father are his mother, brother, and sisters even as his biological family waited to see him.
We don’t know if Jesus squeezed in a quick visit or not. We are told that he headed out to the shore of a lake, got in a boat and sat down as the people stood on the shore, and he started teaching in parables.
The first was the parable of the sower, which Jesus later explained to his disciples.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
What can we add to this explanation by our Master and Teacher?
When we share the word of God with someone, we must understand there is urgency. We pray that the soil of their heart is good soil, ready to receive the word of God and produce good fruit.
When we testify among other believers, understand that there may be worrisome weeds and carnal temptations working against the abundant life of some believers. We must be encouragers, true friends, and speak the truth in love to
these souls without rest.
When we share the word of God, we should be like Paul, desiring to reach everyone with words of salvation, so much so that we become everything to everyone just to deliver our assigned message, but knowing that only some are likely to receive the word and be saved.
When we share the word of God, we must understand that this is not a greater burden than we can bear. The receptiveness and response of the one who hears is not dependent upon how well-rehearsed our witness is. We do our part. We are genuine. We are commissioned to deliver the good news to the world and do the very best that we can to bring glory to God.
The response of the one who hears is between the condition of their soil—their heart—and the Holy Spirit who stands ready to enter in to the one who professes Jesus is Lord!
That does not mean that our job is done. Once a person responds and is a believer we are to be a part of their discipleship and learning, as well as leading them to baptism; but as to their response, we do not carry that burden.