1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying:“Behold, a sower went out to sow.
4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.
6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
On this day, Jesus gave several parables — seven in Matthew and four, including one not mentioned in Matthew, in Mark. The total number of parables in Scripture is generally considered to be 34.
seaside (v.1) — Sea of Galilee
Subsequent verses in this chapter explain why the Lord began speaking in parables and what the parable in this chapter means, so I’ll leave those issues until then.
Literally, [a parable] is a throwing or placing of things side by side, with the suggestion of comparison. Something is placed by the side of something else, with the intention of explaining the one by the other.
Invariably in the teaching of Jesus a parable was a picture of tings seen, intended to revel and explain things unseen, and a rapid glance over this chapter will show how the King made use of the things that were most common in the experience of those amongst whom He was teaching for this purpose. — Morgan, page 140.
In considering the interpretation of parables, it is important to observe the following words of Christ: “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you” (Matthew 13:11). The parables were designed to teach truth concerning the kingdom program. Again and again our Lord used the formula, “The kingdom of heaven is like” (vs. 24 et al.). Truth is always applicable to believers, and truth may be gained from a study of the parables and applied to persons living today. Yet it must be noted from the Lord’s own words that His parables were designed to convey truth concerning the kingdom program. — Pentecost, page 213.