The word that Jesus sowed - Mark 4:13-20

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 4:13-5:43

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The word that Jesus sowed - Mark 4:13-20

Jesus wanted his disciples to understand the parable so he explained it to them. In his preaching Jesus had sowed the word of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Satan takes away the word that Jesus sowed. Tribulation persecution … the cares of the world … the deceitfulness of riches were all expressions that would have been meaningful to the suffering Christians in Rome who first received this Gospel. See WLC 195.

Jesus' kingdom will prosper. - Mark 4:20

In spite of all the opposition, Jesus' kingdom will prosper. Things may look hopeless at times; but Jesus promised that his word would produce much good fruit. There may be those who call Jesus crazy or satanic, but there are also the true members of the family of God.

Jesus will make everything clear. - Mark 4:21-22

Jesus, the Messiah, is the lamp. His identity will not always be hidden. He will not always appear to be a strange kind of messiah. A day is coming when he will be clearly seen. He will then make everything clear and obvious to everyone.

Pay attention - Mark 4:23-25

Much as he did in verse 9 Jesus urged his disciples to pay attention because if they understood and received the blessings of God, God would give them even greater understanding and blessing. Properly responding to God's revelation is the path to ever greater understanding of God's will and God's ways. (Cf. Eph. 5:8-10.)

A farmer scatters seed on the ground - Mark 4:26-29

Jesus told another parable about the kingdom. A farmer does not know how his seed grows. This little parable makes two simple but important points. First, the kingdom of God will certainly grow, and second, it will grow mysteriously. There is a period of time between sowing and harvesting and in that time the kingdom grows with certainty and it grows according to God's plan and God's timetable, not according to how human beings think it should grow. That the kingdom of God grows in this way was a challenge to the first century Jewish expectation that God's kingdom would come quickly and immediately in its full and final power and glory.

It is like a mustard seed - Mark 4:30-32

Today other seeds are known to be smaller than the mustard seed, but in Palestine in Jesus day the mustard seed was exceptionally small among seeds. It could grow into a large bush, 10-12 feet tall. Jesus used it as an example of the small beginnings of the kingdom of God in weakness and suffering and the amazing future of power and glory to which the disciples should be looking forward. (Note Zech. 4:10.) Judaism of Jesus' day expected the glory of the kingdom of God, but not such an insignificant beginning.

The Parables of Jesus - Mark 4:33-34

Mark selected these parables out of a larger number that Jesus had told. Mark exaggerated when he said that Jesus never taught at all without a parable. There is much teaching of Jesus in the gospels that is not in parables. Mark used the exaggeration to make the point that parables were a frequently used teaching technique of Jesus. Mark also made it clear that Jesus took time with his disciples and explained his public teaching to them when they were together privately.

Kingdom Power- Mark 4:35-5:43

Kingdom Power of the Messiah. This section of the Gospel is made up of three paragraphs. In each paragraph someone was terrified. Each time Jesus delivered them. Then they were terrified of Jesus. Together the three stories give a mighty display of the power of God and people's response to such overwhelming power. The three stories show the power of Jesus the Messiah over nature, over humanity, and over the demonic. His power has no limits. He rules over all creation.

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