18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it,then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
does not understand it (v.19) — rejects it by choice — it was sown in his heart, but he would not receive it
stony places (v.20) — those who put on the form of godliness but with no power
Thus we see in these three classes, in which the seed perishes and brings no fruit, the Devil, the Flesh and the World represented. The Devil snatches up and devours, the Flesh attempts and fails, the World surrounds and chokes. — Gaebelein, page 273
My commentaries were of no further help. What follows is my take on this parable.
The Lord was talking to a Jewish audience. He explained His teaching to His Jewish disciples who will one day sit on the thrones over the 12 tribes in the Millennium. He was talking about that Millennium, just as He had been since He began His ministry by declaring that the Kingdom was at hand because the King was at hand.
The seeds that fell in the wayside and are eaten by birds (the Devil) are like the Pharisees, who would have no part of the Lord’s message and of whom He said, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do (John 8:44).
The seeds that fell on stony ground are like the Jews who were impressed by the Lord’s miracles but fell away when He didn’t behave the way they wanted a King to behave. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more (John 6:66).
The seeds that fell among the thorns are like the rich young ruler who wouldn’t forsake the things of the world to follow the Lord. Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:21-22).
The seeds that fell on good ground are those who accepted Him as Messiah and continued to believe even when He went to the cross (although many of them had doubts).
The Lord knew that many in that generation would not accept His message and trust Him, and He was preparing His disciples for that fact. They still didn’t understand about His coming death and resurrection or that the Kingdom would be postponed.