“March 20–26. Matthew 13; Luke 8; 13: ‘Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“March 20–26. Matthew 13; Luke 8; 13,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
Record Your Impressions
Some of the Savior’s most memorable teachings were in the form of simple stories called parables. These were more than just interesting anecdotes about ordinary objects or events. They contained profound truths about the kingdom of God for those who were spiritually prepared. One of the first parables recorded in the New Testament—the parable of the sower (see Matthew 13:3–23)—invites us to examine our readiness to receive God’s word. “For whosoever receiveth,” Jesus declared, “to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:10 [in Matthew 13:12, footnote a]). So as we prepare to study the Savior’s parables—or any of His teachings—a good place to start is to examine our hearts and determine whether we are giving the word of God “good ground” (Matthew 13:8) in which to grow, blossom, flourish, and produce fruit that will bless us and our families in abundance.
Why is it that sometimes our hearts are receptive to truth, while at other times we’re tempted to resist it? Reading the parable of the sower can provide a good opportunity to think about how well you receive truth from the Lord. It might be helpful to match verses 3–8 of Matthew 13 with the interpretations provided in verses 18–23. What can you do to cultivate “good ground” in yourself? What might be some “thorns” that keep you from truly hearing and following God’s word? How can you overcome these “thorns”?
Your study of this parable could also influence how you read the parable in Luke 13:6–9. What is the “fruit” that the Lord seeks from us? How do we nourish our ground so we will “bear fruit”?
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the parables in Matthew 13 describe the growth and destiny of the Church in the latter days. You might review the Prophet’s words in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 293–303, as you consider what the following parables teach you about the Lord’s Church:
The wheat and the tares (13:24–30, 36–43)
The mustard seed (13:31–32)
The leaven (13:33)
The hidden treasure and the pearl of great price (13:44–46)
The net (13:47–50)
The householder (13:52)
After pondering these parables, what do you feel inspired to do to participate more fully in the work of Christ’s latter-day Church?
One way to analyze this parable is to draw a picture of it and label it with the interpretations in Matthew 13:36–43 and Doctrine and Covenants 86:1–7. A tare is a “poisonous weed, which, until it comes into ear, is similar in appearance to wheat” (Bible Dictionary, “Tares”). What truths in this parable inspire you to remain faithful in spite of the wickedness in the world?
“Female disciples traveled with Jesus and the Twelve, learning from [Jesus] spiritually and serving Him temporally. … In addition to receiving Jesus’s ministering—the glad tidings of His gospel and the blessings of His healing power—these women ministered to Him, imparting their substance and devotion” (Daughters in My Kingdom , 4). Women who followed the Savior also bore powerful testimony of Him (see Linda K. Burton, “Certain Women,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 12–15).
As your family members read the Savior’s parables, they might enjoy thinking of their own parables that teach the same truths about the kingdom of heaven (the Church), using objects or situations that are familiar to them.
Matthew 13:3–23; Luke 8:4–15.
After reading the parable of the sower together, your family might discuss questions like these: What can make our “ground” (our hearts) “stony” or “choke” the word? How can we make sure our ground is good and fruitful?
If you have younger children in your family, it could be fun to invite family members to act out different ways to prepare our hearts to hear the word of God while other family members guess what they are doing.
How can you help your family members understand the importance of willingly receiving Christ’s word? To demonstrate “ears [that] are dull of hearing,” you might cover a family member’s ears while you quietly read Matthew 13:13–16. How much did that family member understand from the verses? What are ways that we can open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the word of God?
What do the two men in these parables have in common? Are there additional things we should be doing as individuals and as a family to put the kingdom of God first in our lives?
Have family members had experiences that caused them to feel that they could not “lift [themselves] up”? Do we know someone else who feels this way? How can we help? How does the Savior “loose” us from our infirmities?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested hymn: “We Are Sowing,” Hymns, no. 216.