Mark Chapter 4
The Parable of the Sower:
(Read: Mark 4:1-20)
Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual truth about the kingdom of God. They are designed to teach believers about the new life in Christ. But unbelievers found them hard to understand (Isaiah 6:9-10). Some consider this parable the primary parable. A sower went out to sow the seeds. The seeds represent the Word of God, and the sower is Christ. The soils show the fourfold response of people. The seed fell on the wayside represents the hardened heart that rejects the gospel. The stony ground shows the superficial faith that lacks depth. The seed fell on the shallow heart germinate quick but have no root. This shows the momentary emotional response. When trouble comes, they fall away. When adversity comes their faith is destroyed. The seeds fell among thorny ground shows the response of the strangled heart. The response to the Word of God is choked by the cares of the world. The deceitfulness of rich make them unfruitful. Some fell on good ground and produced huge harvest. This shows the response of the soft heart. They received the gospel whole heartedly and produce fruits. In this parable the problem was not the seed or the sower but the response of the ground. Our response to the gospel is the gracious work of God. Those who respond to the gospel will be saved and become spiritually fruitful. God expects a response from us when we hear His Word. The gospel was preached for the obedience of faith in Christ (Romans 16:26). To learn more about this parable read the notes on Matthew 13:1-17. Those who obey the gospel will be saved. They are not sinless but sinning less. Our understanding of God is the result of his gracious revelation to us.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed:
Jesus encourages his disciples to trust that his purpose will be accomplished in the end. He wanted the truth to be proclaimed to anyone who is willing to listen. A lamp is not placed under a basket or under a bed but on a lampstand. To those who are opened to the Word, more will be revealed. But those who are not willing to obey, even what they have will be taken away. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Though the seed is small, it will grow and become one of the largest of plants where birds come and find shelter. The initial growth of the kingdom of God appears unimpressive, but its influence increasingly displays God's glory. The birds speak of the powers of the world to overshadow the power of the kingdom of God. Despite all the setbacks in the kingdom of God, Christ will restore and conquer all things through his death and resurrection at the end. Jesus said to his disciples to go to the other side of the lake. But soon a storm arose, and their boat was full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat. Disciples were frightened and shouted, "Teacher don't you care that we are perishing". Jesus rebuked the wind and there was great calm. Then Jesus asked the disciples "Why are you so afraid. Do you still not have faith in me? Christ cares about each one of us. They were filled with awe and said among themselves "Who is this man even the wind and waves obey him? Jesus thus proved that he has control over nature. Only Christ has the power to save this broken world. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without his knowledge. He promised to deliver us from all our fears and troubles. He is the present help in times of our need. He is our Savior who will finish the work he has begun in our lives (Philippians 1:6). Jesus knows our situation and he has power to heal the brokenness of our lives. This does not mean we are immune from problems and difficulties in this fallen world. Although we are not promised smooth sailing, we are assured of a safe passage. Though we are sinful, we are forgiven. Though we are broken, we are restored. Do you trust the Lord Jesus Christ and know for sure that your sins have been forgiven? Only Jesus will bring complete restoration to his Children.