Holy Land Tour Feature from the Swindoll Study Bible
Scripture, Science, and geography converge at the Cove of the Sower, also called the Bay of Parables. As its name suggests, this small cove beside the Sea of Galilee is possibly the location where Jesus told the parables in Matthew 13. B. Cobbey Crisler’s study of the natural acoustics at the site estimated that between five thousand and seven thousand people could have clearly heard a lone speaker on the shoreline as they gathered on a slope that forms a natural theater above the cove.
When Jesus performed miracles of healing in Capernaum, amazingly, the people did not respond with repentance (Matt. 11:20-23), and the religious leaders attributed His miracles to Satan (Matt. 12:22-29). On that same day, Jesus anticipated that the nation of Israel would reject Him, so He began to teach the crowds in parables because the stories would conceal the truth from those who were unable to hear it but would reveal it to those ready to accept His Kingdom (Matt. 13:1-3, 34-35).
When Jesus’ disciples were alone with Him, they asked Him to explain the meaning of His parables (Matt. 13:36). He did, and then He declared, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (Matt. 13:43). He told them that His parable of the sower who scattered seed on various soils represented the various responses to God’s Word—that
of the hard heart that ignores the truth, the soft heart that hears and applies it, and others in between.
Jesus’ story also calls all of us to examine our own responses to the Bible. Do we hear God’s Word in order for God to change us? Do our hearts long to bear much fruit for the Lord? Or, like the crowd around the Cove of the Sower that day, do we just gather with others to hear stories from a gifted teacher? This Sunday, you’ll likely hear another sermon to add to the thousands you’ve heard already. How will you listen?