-Jesus teaches from the boat in the sea many parables for the masses that were gathered as curious observers in these times of Messianic fulfillment. Most did not recognize Him, but they knew He was something special, even abnormal, given to them. Jesus explained everything to His followers and disciples. He wasn’t trying to hide things with His parables, but He did want people to seek out the deeper meaning and explore what the Truth was all about. That is why He would say, “To you has been given the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven (Mark 4:11-12, 33-34).” He spent time giving agricultural parables (an earthly story with a heavenly/spiritual meaning). Some got it, when they asked, sook, and knocked (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9). Others left their misunderstandings alone and walked away still clueless and unforgiven. Christ’s mission centered on the belief of the individual answering His call for change in the heart.
-He gave them a fundamental parable at the beginning concerning the sower and the soils (Matthew 4:13). The sower sows the Word of God. Some seed falls on the hardened road where Satan comes and easily takes away the Word which has been sown in them. Some seed falls on shallow places where rocks are underneath. The Word is received immediately with joy, and springs up looking like a healthy plant. But, it has no firm root to nourish it to make it last. This person has a temporary experience of tasting the Word of the LORD (Hebrews 6:4-8), but when persecution or affliction comes their way, they fall away as apostates. There was really never any relationship here in this second type of soil. Some seed falls on a third type of soil that is infested with thorns, or contaminants, to a healthy plant. The thorns, which are described as the worries of the world (or age), the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things rather than God, choke out the Word and these individuals become unfruitful. There is great debate on whether or not these will enter the Kingdom of God. On one hand they could be carnal Christians (1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:1-16). On the other, they may not actually have a real-authentic relationship with the Savior (Matthew 7:21, John 15). The last soil is the desired good soil. These people hear the Word of God, accept it in repentance and life change by faith, and bear fruit according to their giftings and talents, some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold (Mark 4:3-20).
-Jesus went on to teach about letting the Light that we have in Him shine for all to see using the analogy of a lamp in relation to a lampstand. No one would put their light under a bed, but expose that illumination for all to see. Jesus went on to say that He would be the One to bring all things to light, nothing in the end will be hidden or secret; it will all be revealed. “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear (Mark 4:21-23).”
-The next line of reasoning has Jesus telling the crowd to “Take care what you listen to.” Obedience to His Words will begin a growth process that will grow the Kingdom of God. Whoever wants more and more of it will be rewarded. Those who reject it, though they be religious, will never have and in the end have eternity taken from them (Mark 4:24-25). The Kingdom of God is like a man who puts his seed out on the soil. He doesn’t have to work for his increase. He goes to sleep while the divine process takes effect. The seed spouts and grows, but the person really has no clue as to how it happened. The soil (the Holy Spirit) produces the results by itself (Itself), the blade first, then the head, and then the mature grain in the head. When the crop is ready, it is harvested with the sickle of judgment because the harvest has come. Only those who have a Savior, which is Christ the Lord, will survive this (Mark 4:26-29). Another picture of the Kingdom of God is given with the analogy of the mustard seed. A mustard seed begins very, very small when it is cast upon the soil, but it grows into a mighty tree larger than all the garden plants that surround it and form large branches so that birds can nest (rest) in its shade (Mark 4:30-32).
-Now on that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” They would cross the Sea of Galilee that night with another lesson from the Creator. A fierce gale came upon them as they crossed over, and Jesus, probably from exhaustion, was sleeping in the stern of the boat. The disciples thought they were perishing and woke Him up. Jesus simply rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” The wind died down quickly and the sea became “perfectly calm.” To bring home the point, Jesus looked at His followers and asked, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The fact that they still had no clue that this indeed was the Messiah is evident from the last verse of the chapter. “They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him (Mark 4:35-41)?’”
-*Application* What an amazing Savior we have. Think about all of His wisdom and power today as you do life. Seek, ask, and knock to find His answers and open door into the everlasting abundant life. What a good, good, good God!
Verses to Memorize: Mark 4:22, 28