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Mark 4:27(NASB):

and [the sower] goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know.

Who is the sower in this passage? I had traditionally read it as God, but perhaps it’s referring to anyone who shares the gospel? What does it mean that the sower does not know himself how the seed grows?

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We should first note that Jesus is telling a parable. A parable is a form of comparison to help us understand something that is difficult or abstract. The word parable means "to cast alongside." You "cast alongside" something known to help the audience understand something unknown.

In this case, the unknown is the Kingdom of God (Mark 2:26)

"The kingdom of God is like...

Particularly, this parable is addressing the mysterious nature in which the kingdom of God advances or expands. You can't see it happening. It happens while you sleep.

Ultimately, we know that plants grow - but most people don't fully understand how it happens. I suppose if you are a biologist you could teach the mechanics but even then there is still a wonderful mystery to how plants grow.

The sower is anyone who advances the kingdom of God.

When we plant seeds of the kingdom of God we can't see how growth is happening and we can't fully understand how the kingdom expands, but we can have faith that it does. We do the work in very small steps and those steps mysteriously bring about the kingdom.

Our job is not to figure out when someone will recognize Jesus as Lord. Rather, our job is to sow the seeds for the Holy Spirit to work and bring about God's desired end.

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  • Very helpful answer, thank you!!
    – Gremosa
    Sep 9 '20 at 19:10
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First understanding you need to take is that the principal of Sowing and Reaping’ is foundational to all parables ...

MARK 4:13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Second, this principle is a ‘kingdom principle’. The economy, in fact everything, in the kingdom runs on this. That’s why this parable is foundational. If you want increase, in the Kingdom, this is the principle that brings it. And the ‘what is sown’ applies to most things, although in this particular parable it applies to the word.

Now to the question ... why doesn’t the ‘sower’ know how/why the ‘increase’ happens, because that part of this ‘principle’ is not dependant on anything that ‘we’ do. Nothing we ‘do’ can stop the effect, nor speed it up, nor stop it. It just happens. And we can ‘see’ this in [literally] in everything around us. Without exception. Everything!

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