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

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 4:30-5:43

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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.

Jesus was already in the boat. - Mark 4:35-36

According to 4:1 Jesus had been teaching the crowds from a boat. As it became evening Jesus urged his fishermen-disciples to take the boat to the opposite shore which would have been the eastern side. The phrase just as he was simply means that Jesus was already in the boat. The mention of other boats is not critical to the story and probably is a personal recollection that had been passed on to Mark by one of the disciples.

Windstorm - Mark 4:37

A violent windstorm was not rare on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea was 696 feet below sea level and much of the shore was lined with rugged mountains. Those mountains channeled winds down onto the lake and violent storms often resulted.

Jesus was asleep - Mark 4:38

Jesus was...asleep in the boat, no doubt worn out from the long day of preaching. This is a reminder of Jesus' full humanity. Although the fishermen disciples undoubtedly had been through many storms, this one seemed different. They feared that they were about to die. There is a great contrast between the fearful disciples and the calmly sleeping Jesus.

By the power of his word - Mark 4:39

When they awakened Jesus, he did not grab a bucket and start bailing out the boat. By the power of his word he exercised his authority over the forces of nature and calmed the storm. Since Adam's sin Satan had often used nature as his own tool. Jesus had bound the strong man and was reclaiming his rule over nature.

They feared a great fear. Mark 4:40-41

The disciples had thought that they knew who Jesus was. At that moment they realized that he was far greater than they had imagined. They were rightly filled with fear in his presence. Mark emphasized their fear with an expression that could be literally translated, they feared a great fear. But as understandable as it was to be afraid at the display of the awesome power of Jesus over the storm, that fear was not the faith that Jesus came to elicit.

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