Revival – Parables – Obligations
1:5 A revival was going on, something new was happening motivating people to repentance.
1:14-15 The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.
1:38 After healing many and driving out many demons the next day; Let us go to the nearby villages so I can preach there. That is why I have come. He went, in Galilee, preaching in synagogues and driving out demons.
2:17 … , Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
3:7-12 People came from ever greater distances to hear Him preach and/or to be healed. His revival continued.
3:20-21 Crowds continue to gather to such a point He did not eat a meal because of their needs
3:22-30 Then He continued with the strong man parable showing He was stronger than Satan and superior to him. What blasphemies was Jesus speaking of? Persistent unbelief in the face of His miracles was the unpardonable sin for them.
3:31-35 We return to His family who were seeking to get His attention. He preached a message, naming those who would be members of His spiritual family based on God’s will.
4:1-3 Introduction Note at this point the Pharisees were at a loss about what to do about Jesus who was casting out demons and healing on the Sabbath. The common people had no such dilemma as they listened and received. The crowds grew to such size He had to teach from a boat on the lake in parables.
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 path represents the those who are indifferent to the word of God and the word is stolen by Satan.
- Rocky places or stony ground represent those who agree intellectually, but not with their hearts for they fall away when they are required to conform to the word during trials or tribulations or giving up their comforts or wealth.
- Those among the thorns are those too caught up in the things of this world to give real time from their lives and eventually join the other unbelievers.
- 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.
4:21-25 Parable of the Lamp & Obligation
This parable offers balance to the one of the sower, the seed and the soil. 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!
Who in their right mind would light a candle and then hide it? Then ends with an admonishment in v23, If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Then in two short verses (24-25) we have the concept of spiritual obligation and the double law of spiritual loss and spiritual gain. 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! However, if you refuse to hear and then reject Christ’s Word, you will lose what truth you have learned and accepted up to this point. 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!
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. God plants His kingdom as a seed, hidden and imperceptible, but leading to both a harvest and judgment.
Concluding Remarks …
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.