Lamp/Obligations, Growing Seed, Mustard Seed, Calming the Storm
4:4-20 Parable of the Sower, the Seeds, and the Soils followed by the explanation
- The sower represents Jesus specifically and anyone else who proclaims the Word of God – first the disciples and then through time us!
- The seed represents the Word of God, eventually the Gospel.
The last group are those in good soil who not only hear the message, they accept it fully, and acknowledge it as their own giving out the good news of God’s kingdom. Thus the parable displays God’s kingdom as both present but veiled and future, but openly glorious. Much more on this when we get to the parable of the mustard seed.
4:21-23 Parable of the Lamp & Obligation
Jesus uses the lamp to point out two import spiritual truths to the disciples and to us.
- They and we are responsible for the sharing of the truth – it must be shared.
- This parable tells them and us the truths revealed to them (and to us) are to be shared! Ends with an admonishment in v23, If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.
4:24-25 In these two short very KEY verses we have the concept of spiritual obligation and the double law of spiritual loss and spiritual gain. We must share the light! You, every single one of you, if you hear and accept the truth of the gospel and pass on to others what you have learned and believe, God will give you more truth! This is a simple truth of knowledge – the more we know, the more we are capable of knowing, the more knowledge we have the more we may acquire. In knowledge we cannot stand still – we are either gaining or losing all the time. This is also a simple truth of effort – the more we train our bodies and minds the more our bodies and minds are capable of doing. If we grow lazy with our minds or bodies they will grow flabby and we will be hindered from what we ought to be able to do. This is true of any skill or craft as well as our ability to bear responsibility. BOTTOM LINE the reward of good works is still more work to do!
Luke 19:11-27 – quoting 24-27, 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Matthew 25:14-30 – quoting 28-30, 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
4:26-29 Parable of the Growing Seed
This parable is unique to Mark and is related to the parable of the sower. Note the expression the seed sprouts and grows though he does not know how or produces crops by itself tells us once the seed is sown no human agency is involved. The growth and maturity is exclusively of God. A time lapse video demonstrates this for wheat, it is the same when we share God’s word. Like the seed in the video, the kingdom of God is present and growing, even if unobserved.
4:30-34 Parable of the Mustard Seed
Jesus asks two questions to introduce the parable that will answer the two questions. The concept of the small beginning of the kingdom of God on earth and the future pervasive growth were beyond the understanding of the disciples. Mustard seeds were the smallest planted in the fields. The image of birds nesting in its branches alludes to the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s chosen people.
4:35-41 Jesus calms the Storm
Earlier Jesus had said the kingdom is near (1:15). He demonstrates He is the reason the kingdom is near. It is one thing to have power over what ails people, but now He demonstrates power over nature. The disciples begin – barely – to understand who Jesus is.
Summary: The tie between the parables, our obligation, and Jesus calming the storm
Will we conform to the pattern of this world? Or will we do as instructed in Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 13:14 NIV
Will we clothe ourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and not waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.
Or are we merely listening to the Word, but not putting it into practice as those in Ezekiel 33:30-32 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.