Mark 4

So far, Peter has told us explanations given by Jesus. Today, he tells us parables, which are stories designed to help us grasp larger concepts. 

  1. The Parable of the Sower (1-20)- Israel was primarily an agricultural society, so everyone understood the mechanics of this parable. There are four basic categories into which people fall concerning the Gospel;
    1. Seed that fell on the path: birds came and ate it up. A mind that is unwilling to consider God and His plan of salvation can never receive the Gospel. He is a mocker. We must sit back and wait for him to soften his opinion. Often, life is a pretty good tenderizer for hearts.
    2. Seed that fell on rocky places: the seed had no root system and wilted. People who “try Jesus” never really give Him their heart and life. Consequently, the Gospel never takes root in their lives. Are they actually saved to begin with? I doubt it. I believe that He stands at the threshold of their heart until they are willing to give Him the deed to their “house” and the master key to every room.
    3. Seed that fell among thorns: The weeds choked the plants and they bore no fruit. Trusting Jesus is a daily thing–not unto salvation, but unto sanctification, which is becoming like Christ. When we are concerned with “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things,” we take our eyes off of Jesus and lose our way. We become unproductive and must have our lives “trimmed” (see John 15:2 concerning pruning).
    4. Seed that fell on good soil: It produced fruit according to its environment (calling). Genuine salvation involves a personal, continuous relationship with the Risen Christ. We become His disciples, wanting to be just like Him, obeying His every command, and being His hands, feet, arms and mouthpiece to the world. We produce according to the environment in which we are placed. Some people have a great harvest, some a moderate harvest, and then others a hard-fought, hard-won harvest. Don’t be fooled by numbers; God knows how difficult some fields are!
  2. The Lamp on a Stand (21-23)- Jesus is indirectly telling them that He has come to disclose sin in their lives. NOTHING is hidden from Him. Later on, He will announce Himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12), which was another way of claiming that He is God, for only God knows people’s hearts. See 1 Chronicles 28:9, Proverbs 5:21 and 15:11.
  3. The Measure (24-25)- What measure? Faith! Believing that Jesus is Messiah and trusting Him enough to do what He says is how we will be judged. In fact, the more we are faithful, the more faith we have, which allows us to be even more faithful, etc. This parable pertains to what Jesus said in verses 11-13. Those who were looking for Messiah with open hearts received the interpretation of the parables through His Spirit. What they learned increased their faith. Those who were looking for a certain kind of  Messiah, one that fit their idea of what a Messiah should be and do, missed their opportunity to become the true Messiah’s disciple and whatever faith/hope/desire they had was snatched from them (see verse 4 and 15). It’s the same today.
  4. The Parable of the Growing Seed (26-29)- There are two truths that I see:
    1. The kingdom of God is growing in the hearts of people. God is working in us and in the world growing His crop of souls. 
    2. There will come a time of harvest. May we “consider carefully” our faith in Jesus. We want MORE of Him, and not have “even what we have taken away” (v25).
  5. The Parable of the Mustard Seed (30-32)- This parable is a picture of how the Gospel is infiltrating the entire world. It started with 120 disciples in an upper room and exploded across Europe and is headed to every corner of the world! We certainly want to be part of His expanding kingdom.

Verses 35-41 tell of an event that illustrated Jesus’ Lordship over nature. It’s a proof of His divinity. WE know it to be true because we read it in Colossians 1:15-17 and Hebrews 1:2-3. He is implied in Proverbs 8:30 as the Craftsman. Jesus was urging His disciples to put their faith and trust in Him. It was their little miracle! I have always wondered what would have happened if they hadn’t awakened Jesus. Would the boats have swamped? Would they all have walked on water back to the shore? I guess we’ll never know.

What can we take away from this chapter?

  1. Everyone has a choice concerning Jesus.
  2. Our preconceived ideas of the Messiah make a world of difference in how we interpret Jesus’s words and actions.
  3. Our faith is built by believing Jesus and acting on His promptings in our hearts. Our faithfulness increases our faith, which increases our faithfulness, which increases our faith, etc.
  4. Jesus is Who He says He is. Believing THAT will change our lives!

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