What does Mark 4:14 mean?Mark 4:1–9 records Jesus' parable of the sower. In it, a farmer spreads seed over a hardened path, rocky ground, land filled with weeds, and fertile soil. He is not stingy with his seed, but spreads as much as he can to ensure the biggest harvest.
In the parable, the "seed" is actually the "word." "Word" is from the Greek root word logos. Logos has a rich definition that includes speaking, instruction, decrees, moral precepts, prophecy, and reason. In John 1, however, logos is specifically identified as Jesus. Jesus is God's Word. He is God's truth. The sower sowing seeds is a metaphor for anyone who teaches the gospel of Jesus (Luke 8:11), and by extension, those who teach further truths found in God's Word.
The parable goes on to describe how different types of soil react to the seed in different ways. Mark 4:15–20 explains the metaphor of hearing and acting on the gospel. In Mark 4:20, Jesus exhorts His disciples to be the good soil that readily takes the seed and nurtures it to maturity where it produces thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was sown. But He doesn't expect them to merely spread the gospel. These are the people who will become the leaders of the church after Jesus dies, rises, and ascends into heaven.
Later, Paul will say, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:14). All good preachers start as good soil that takes in Jesus' logos and allows it to change their hearts. Only by accepting the seeds of the gospel can we be effective sowers of the gospel.