The Holy Oak stood next to Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in New Jersey for more than six hundred years until it had to be removed. At its prime, the twisting branches spanned high and wide. Cool breezes rustled its green leaves and acorns. The sun peeked through wind-blown gaps, creating dancing glimmers of light in the shade below its canopy. But beneath the ground’s surface lay its true magnificence—its root system. An oak’s main root grows vertically, securing a reliable supply of nourishment. From that taproot, a mass of roots spreads horizontally to supply the tree with a lifetime of moisture and nutrients. This intricate root system often grows more massive than the tree it supports and serves as a lifeline and an anchor for stabilizing the trunk.
Like the mighty oak, most of our life-giving growth occurs beneath the surface. When Jesus explained the parable of the sower to His disciples, He emphasized the importance of being firmly planted in a personal relationship with the Father. As we grow in the knowledge of God as revealed through the Scriptures, our faith roots are sustained by His Spirit. God helps His followers thrive through ever-changing circumstances, trials, persecution, and worry (Matthew 13:18–23).
Our loving Father nourishes our hearts with His Word. As His Spirit transforms our character, He makes sure the fruit of our deep-rooted faith becomes evident to people around us.
Loving Father, please change me from the inside out and anchor me in faith rooted deep in the unchanging Scriptures.
Unlike the teachers of the law, Jesus taught with wisdom and authority (Mark 1:22; 6:2; Luke 4:32) and often used parables (Mark 4:2). Mark tells us that “[Jesus] did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything” (4:34).
Matthew 13 contains eight parables (sower, weeds, mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure, pearls, net, and prophet without honor). Verses 10–17 explain that Jesus spoke in parables to separate His genuine followers from those who were not.