Mark Chapter 4

 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.  And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Just as Jesus had every right to go into a synagogue to teach, and taking advantage of the opportunities to do so, He most often preached in areas where the masses could gather to hear.

He taught at the synagogues for the upper class, trying to reach the rich and influential with the Gospel, but it was in the ‘wild’ places, outdoors, by the sea side, on the sides of hills, open fields where the masses could feel free to come gather to hear.  It’s not that they couldn’t always fit into a full and busy synagogue, but that they weren’t always made to feel welcome there either.  Much like a lot of the people in our society today, would feel uncomfortable, or not very welcomed because of either past experiences or perceived ideas of closed minds and closed hearts.

It reminds me of a story about an old cowboy.

At our church and many others that focus on outreaches, the sign over the doors leading out reads, “entering the mission field” and the message is, that church is not the building. We’re to go OUT, and share the message. Church is to welcome those who’ve heard and want to know more, or for those who’ve received it, and for corporate worship and fellowship.

Jesus preached and taught to all- and yet those on “the outside” seemed to not only need the message more, but many more could have a way to accept the message more than those who sat in comfort every sabbath.

The rest of the chapter deals with parables we’ve seen from the gospels and once again I am grateful that the disciples had to ask Jesus what they meant. The first few times I read them, I wasn’t sure either until He described them.

People always retain better when it’s in simple form and stories that are related to every day life, and yet, the messages are put in a way that those who are willing to see and hear, will understand without needing interpretation.

Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?   It’s not necessarily the disciples weren’t willing to hear, but it was important that they understand He was teaching them the deeper meanings than what most would hear from simple stories.  If they didn’t understand the simplicity of the sower, how would they understand the weightier parables of the Kingdom which were to follow?

If we can’t understand the simplicity of the Gospel, how would we manage to understand the deeper more complex parts of God?   One of the main things which some of the biggest cult offshoots of Christianity occurred was because of ignorance of God’s word and His Nature.  When people don’t understand the complex, they create their own god, in a way that sounds plausible to them.  The enemy then uses that ignorance, scripture twisting, and pride to create a following.

He that has ears…. Most people then and still today have ears for what they want to hear, or understand.  Whatever is comfortable, whatever is simple, whatever tickles your ears, think on such things.  (Sorry for the play on Philippians)

Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given…  We ought to value what knowledge and believers’ privileges that the Lord gives us, as if it’s a treasure- and more will be given.

All Christians, as they have received the gift, must minister the same to others. We are candles lit by the Lord, not to be hidden, but shared as the great commission tells that we go into the world, with the Light of the Word.

The last part of this chapter, we see again one of our favorite parts, where Jesus sleeps through the storm while the disciples despair.   If one trusts that Jesus is no ordinary ‘prophet’ and that He truly is from God, how then could we be so afraid when He himself is sleeping in the midst of the storm?   Be still and know that I am God… if Jesus can relax through storms, then we should not worry through them- because He is with us in them.

Have a blessed Wednesday all!

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