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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Mark
Chapter 4

Themes: The sower; candle and bushel; seed growing; mustard seed; stilling the storm.

In chapter 4 of Mark we find several parables, and then the miracle of Jesus’ calming the storm. This is all in the Gospel of Matthew, except for one parable, which Mark gives, that is not found in Matthew, and it is the only part that makes it different and outstanding.

First Mark gives the parable of the sower as a declaration and then we have the exposition of the parable of the sower. This is followed by other parables and then one miracle.

We said in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark that this is a Gospel of action; yet here the emphasis is upon parables with only one miracle. But you will notice that the parables which Mark gives are parables of action. Each one of these parables is really a very moving thing. The emphasis is still upon action, even when Mark is giving the parables.

Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-9)
(Mat.13:1-9; Lk.8:4-10)

Mark's report of this parable is almost identical to Matthew's, differing only in choice of words, and only slightly in this.

Mark 4:1 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. (KJV)

And he began again to teach by the sea side . . . Jesus went out of the house where He had been at Capernaum, the same day that He had the dialogue with the Scribes and Pharisees, and on which His mother and His brethren came to speak with Him. From there He went where He had been before, and taught the people; that is, to the sea side, the shore of the sea of Galilee, or Tiberias. The Saviour so often preached by the seaside, where He had there the convenience by a boat or ship to remove Himself from the multitude crowding upon Him. He was now in Galilee, which bordered the sea.
And there was gathered unto him a great multitude . . . the people followed Him from the house. They followed Him no matter where he went.
So that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea . . . in the ship, a little distance from the shore. The Sea of Tiberias was a lake, within land, so it had no tide, and was still and quiet.
And the whole multitude was by the sea on the land . . . stood or sat on the land, all along the sea shore (Mat.13:1-2).

Mark 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, (KJV)
  
And he taught them many things by parables . . . some of the things which our Lord taught His people by earthly likenesses are later expressed, but most likely He taught them many more things than the Gospel writers  left us as a record.
And said unto them in his doctrine . . . Jesus used parables as a way to teach the people many things. At this time, He is about half-way through His three years of ministry. He had used certain symbolic illustrations before, such as telling the woman at the well about the water of life (Jn.4:4-15); He had told His disciples that He would make them fishers of men (Mk.1:17; Mat.4:19) and that the fields were white unto harvest (Jn.4:35). He also had talked about salt and light and foundations of rock and sand in the Sermon on the Mount. But those were not parables. Now He has embraced the parabolic method and begins with the parable of the sower.                                     

Mark 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:  (KJV)

Hearken, behold, there went out a sower to sow . . . the Sower is the Son of Man (Mat.13:37). The image here is taken from something known to all men, and therefore understandable to all. There cannot be a more striking illustration of preaching the Gospel, than placing the seed in the ground to spring up and bear fruit. Sower is one who sows or scatters seed, a farmer. (Mk.4:3; Lk.8:5). Luke adds, "his seed", and Mark introduces the parable, "hearken, behold!" It is a matter of great importance and concern, which is expressed by this parable, it deserves the diligent attention. "The sower" is "the son of man", as may be learned from the explanation of another parable (Mat.13:37), which is Christ Jesus Himself, the seed He sowed is called "His seed", meaning the Gospel, of which He is the Author, Publisher, Sum and Substance.  He is by way of authority and excellence, called "the sower"; which must be understood of Him as a Prophet or Preacher of the Word, who was by divine authority sent by God. He was abundantly qualified for such an office, and was most diligent in it, and yet His success was small (Mat.7:13-14). Every minister or teacher or believer of the Gospel may be called a sower, because they bear precious seed and sow spiritual things.                        

Mark 4:4 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. (KJV)
 
And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side . . . meaning the hard ground that the plow had not touched, and where there was little or no chance for it to sink into the earth. The  wayside symbolizes people with no understanding and do not want any.
And the fowls came and devoured it up . . . the other writers say, "the fowls of the air", and mean the devils, called so because their habitation is in the air; hence they are said to be "the power of the air" (Eph.2:2), and because of their greedy and devouring nature, their speed to do mischief, and their flocking in multitudes where the Word is preached. Satan and his cronies (fowls of the air) hinder the Gospel usefulness, just as fowls of the air do where seed is being sown. Satan and his principalities and powers (Eph.6:12), roaming about in the air, come down on Earth, and seek whom they may devour. BEWARE! They often mix themselves in religious gatherings, to do what mischief they can (Job 1:6-7). There is some difference in the terms used by Mark and Luke concerning this parable (Mk.4:3-8; Lk.8:4-8), but nothing to contradict Matthew.

Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: (KJV)

And some fell on stony ground . . . barren, stony places, where it is not fit to plant anything, where there was little good soil, but was hard and rocky; so that the roots could not reach down into the earth for enough moisture to support the plant, and when the sun got hot, the tiny plant withered away. This symbolizes those who have little concern about their sin, and have low awakenings of the conscience, very little light, and uncertain ideas about the Word of God, in their understanding and opinions. There may be a brief flash of natural affection for it, and some outward expressions of delight and pleasure. Some even show signs of grace, and a form of godliness, but NOTHING real or sincere from the heart. Stony places symbolizes rocky ground with very little good soil, and no depth. These receive the Word at first warmly and emotionally, but when any persecution or tribulation comes their way, they back away from Jesus quickly.   
Where it had not much earth . . .and so could be received only in a superficial way, but could not take root, so as to produce any good effect:
And immediately it sprung up . . . Matthew says forthwith, which means immediately. They did not sprout and grow any quicker or faster than the others, except they were just quicker in reaching the surface . . . but having little root, they soon withered away. Some of these seeds fell upon such hearers, in whom the natural hardness of their hearts continues, and who remain unbroken by the Word (Ps.34:18; 51:17), and are without any true sense of sin, and repentance of it.
Because it had no depth of earth . . . the ground was so rocky, it had little good earth for the seed to take root.
 

Mark 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. (KJV)

But when the sun was up, it was scorched . . . as soon as any persecution arose because of the Gospel, it was like the noon-day sun which was very hot and intense. The tine plant could not survive the heat.
And because it had no root, it withered away . . . remember, the little plants are symbols of people. So, many people are offended with what they meet up with, for the sake of Christ, and confessing His Word, for they are not rooted deep enough in Him, nor in the love of God. Luke says, "lacked moisture" (Lk.8:6), of divine grace, and of the waterings of it, and these fall away finally and completely.
This is NO instance of the apostasy of TRUE saints, or any proof of TRUE believers falling away finally and completely, because these are well rooted and grounded in the everlasting and unchangeable love of God! These could NOT be separated from God by tribulation, distress or persecution. NOTHING can separate TRUE believers from God (Rom.8:38-39).  

Mark 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. (KJV)

And some fell among thorns . . . some of the seed sowed, fell on ground which was full of thorns and briars, which was not cleared as it should have be. Thorns symbolize the world, riches and material things that choke out the Word.
And the thorns grew up, and choked it . . . thorns come up on their own, they do not need to be sown or planted. And the thorns grew faster, and higher than the seed planted.
And choked them . . . the little seed plants came to nothing . . . hence the advice, "sow not among thorns" (Jer. 4:3). Thorns are a part of the Earth's curse for the sin of man (Gen.3:17), and so it is with such persons in whom thorny cares and immoral lusts reign, as they are like unto the Earth which bears thorns.
And it yielded no fruit . . . faith did not come by it, nor any other grace; nor did it produce good works in the life and conversation.
 

Mark 4:8 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. (KJV)

And other fell on good ground . . . not hardened by being trodden on by the feet of men, not stony, not thorny, but well broken up, fertilized and tilled. This is a symbol of the good, sincere hearers who become so by the Spirit and grace of God. These have a spiritual understanding, and appreciate, enjoy and value what they hear.    
And did yield fruit that sprang up, and increased . . . this soil has in its qualities that are opposite of the other three soils. It receives and cherishes the seed; from its depth, allows it to take firm root, and will not lose its moisture; and from its cleanness, gives life to the plant. In this kind of soil the seed "brings forth fruit." And Brought forth some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred . . . some seeds produced a hundred, others sixty and others thirty times what was planted. I think in this parable, these various increases mean the different degrees of fruitfulness in gracious souls; for although the fruits of grace in believers, are of the same quality, yet NOT all are of the same quantity. Some believers reach maturity quicker than others; while some are but little children, some are young men, some are fathers (1 Jn.2:13-14).

Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.   (KJV)

And he said unto them . . . to the multitude of hearers that were on the sea shore listening to the Word preached, and among whom, there were all those sorts of hearers mentioned in this parable:
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear . . . take special notice of what has been said, for it is of the greatest importance. See: Matthew 13:9.

Why He Spoke in Parables (Mark 4:10-13)
(Mat.13:10-17)

Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.  (KJV)

And when he was alone . . . after the multitude was dismissed, and He either remained in the ship, or left it, and went to some private place, possibly to Simon's house in Capernaum.
They that were about him with the twelve . . . here in Mark, it seems there were more than His apostles that were still there. Both Matthew and Luke state just the “disciples” (Mat.13:10; Lk.8:9).
There is no controversy here. I am sure that there were many disciples of His, besides the twelve apostles (disciples), who constantly attended Him. Maybe there were some of the seventy disciples (Lk.10:1,17).
Asked of him the parable . . . asked the meaning of it, and WHY He chose to speak this way to the people.

Mark 4:11 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:  (KJV)

And he said unto them . . . His disciples;
Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God . . . or the Kingdom of Heaven. It was a mystery in the Old Testament, and brought to light in the New Testament, as well as the secrets of the Gospel dispensation . . . the mysterious doctrines of grace, which was made known to them, but not unbelievers.
But unto them that are without . . . or strangers, who were not the disciples of Christ, nor admitted to any closeness with Him. The majority of the multitudes consisted of these, who came only to see what they could see of Jesus and His miracles. Most of them were not interested in the message He was bringing.
All these things are done in parables . . . wrapped up in dark sayings, and symbolic terms, the sound of which they heard, but did not understand the spiritual meaning of them.

Mark 4:12 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. (KJV)
 
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 . . . the words are a prophecy concerning the Jews, which began to be accomplished in the times of Isaiah; and were again fulfilled in the times of some of the prophets (Isa.6:9-10; Eze.12:2), and had been in part fulfilled under the ministry of Christ (Mk.4:12; Lk.8:10; Jn.12:39-40), and was to have a further accomplishment under this parabolical (obscure, unclear) way of preaching under the ministry of the apostles (Acts 28:26-27; Rom.11:8-9). The judicial blindness here predicted was to go on among them, until the land of Judea was utterly destroyed by the Romans, and their cities and houses were left without any inhabitants. All of this came to pass, for that this prophecy refers to the times of the Messiah and to the Jews, is clear from this one observation made by Christ Himself, that Isaiah foretold those things when he saw the glory of the Messiah, and spoke of Him (Jn.12:40-41), and because it was to have, and had, its fulfillment over and over again in the Jews.

Parable of the Sower Explained (Mark 4:13-20)
(Mat.13:18-23; Lk.8:1;15)

Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (KJV)
 
And he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable? . . . remember  that the Lord is speaking to the disciples alone (verse 10). Jesus gave them the interpretation of the parable; for they wanted an explanation of it; which, although not mentioned by Matthew, is, by the other writers (Mk.4:10; Lk.8:9), and since it was given to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, therefore the Lord Jesus calls upon them to listen and hear, so they might understand the spiritual meaning of this parable. Do ye not understand the meaning of it? It seems that He rebukes them for their dullness of hearing, in spite of the grace given to them, and the advantages they enjoyed. He tells them that if they do not pay attention, they would not understand all that He had spoken so far, or would speak after this, which would be more difficult to interpret, and not so easy to be understood as this one.
And how then will you know all parables? . . . if you do not understand this one, which is so plain, how will ye be able to understand the numerous parables hereafter to be related, and which will be much more difficult?

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word. (KJV)

The sower soweth the word . . . or, as Luke says: Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (KJV) But WHO is "the sower?" This is not stated here because if "the word of God" is the seed, everyone that scatters that precious seed must be thought to be a sower. It is true that in the parable of the tares it is said, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man," as "He that soweth the tares is the devil" (Mat.13:37-39). But these are just the great unseen parties, struggling in this world for the possession of man’s soul. Christ Jesus has His agents among men, and His agents are busy in the sowing of the good seed (the Gospel Truth), are the preachers of the Word, or anyone who scatters (brings) the Truth to people . .  . whereas the devil has his agents also among mankind, in the sowing of tares (weeds, false doctrine).     
Let us remember, that in all the following cases, the sower is the same, and the seed is the same . . . BUT the result is completely different. The difference lies in the soils, meaning the different states of the human heart. There is indeed, a great universal lesson in this parable of the sower, and that is, no matter how faithful the preacher, and no matter how pure his message is, the end result of the preaching of the word depends upon the state of the hearer's heart.

Mark 4:15 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.  (KJV)

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown . . .the hearers here are represented by the way side, a firm, hard packed ground, in which the seed fell. They may have come to hear the Gospel preached, stopped and heard it, but they did not retain it. The great truth here is, that hearts unbroken and hard are no fit soil for saving Truth. (Mat.3:19). They do not receive it as God's means of restoring them to Himself; it penetrates not, makes no impression, but lies loosely on the surface of the heart, until the wicked one . . . afraid of losing a victim "lest they believe and be saved" (Lk.8:12) . . . finds something to attract and draw their attention away, and straightway (immediately, so quickly) what they heard is gone. Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (KJV) . . . BEWARE!!!      
But when they have heard . . . and actually while they are hearing, even before they have left the place of hearing,
Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts . . . the devil, symbolized by the fowls of the air (verse 4), immediately takes notice of such hearers, and is very busy with them. He fills their minds with other things, more suitable to their dispositions, and sets before them other things, and their minds are at once, taken away from what they have been hearing. So, all that they have heard, and laid up in their memories, is lost at once, and never thought of any more.  

Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  (KJV)

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground . . . Immediately the seed in such a case "springs up". . . quickly because of the shallowness of the soil . . . "because it has no depth of earth." But the sun, beating on it, as quickly scorches and withers it up, "because it has no root" (verse 6), and "lacks moisture" (Lk.8:6). The great truth here taught is that many: “receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away” (Lk.8:13). The heat of troubles or persecution because of the Word, or the testing that their new profession brings upon them, quickly dries up their desire for the Truth, and withers the promise of fruit which they first showed.
Who when they have heard the word immediately receive it with gladness . . . these hearers seem pleased and greatly delighted with the Word when they first hear it, because of the wonderful things which the Word brings, such as Heaven and eternal happiness, which they, because of self-love, want to enjoy. These hearers of the Word are meant by the stony ground, on which the seed were sown, who are regular hearers of the Word, and have some understanding of it, and some affection for it, but their hearts simply are not really broken by it. They just are not brought to a full understanding and sense of sin, and of their need of Christ, and salvation by Him. Their stony hearts are not taken away, and no hearts of flesh given them (Eze.11:19). The disappointing problems of a faithful and arising ministry are indeed frequent.            

Mark 4:17 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. (KJV)

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time . . . the Word has no root in their hearts, only in their natural affections, so the grace of God cannot take hold in them. There is NO heart work, only speculative notions, and gaudy affections of Heaven. These are like the Jews, who rejoiced in the ministry of John the Baptist for a while, and then left him.
Afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended . . . as soon as any tiny trouble comes upon them, and especially when it concerns their profession of Christ, because of the Gospel they have embraced; these hearers stumble and cannot bear the loss of anything, or endure anything severe for the sake of the Word they have professed. Their pleasure ends and they abandon their profession of it.

Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, (KJV)
 
And these are they that are sown among thorns; such as hear the word . . . these hearers of the word are intended by the thorny ground, upon which other seed fell. Thorns represents worldly riches and material things that choke out the seed (Word).
This is not a wicked sinner, nor one who despises and condemns religion, and not a persecutor of the saints. This is someone that not only shows a love for the Word, but who seems to have his mind renewed by it (Rom.12:2). This is someone whose conscience seems tender, and his life seems outwardly renewed. This hearer seems settled, diligent, understanding and affectionate, a believing receiver and professor of it. He seems to have a thorough work of God’s grace upon him, seems to have the fallow ground of his heart plowed up, and seems to be truly contrite. The thorns cannot yet be seen, but afterwards do appear.

Mark 4:19 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. (KJV)
 
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 . . . Thorns represent the cares, anxieties, and the deceitful lure of riches. The lust for riches can affect ANYONE! This LUST is a chaotic desire to be rich, and it is very deceitful! BEWARE!!! This sinful lust takes away the time and attention that should be paid to the Word of God. This lust simply makes a person forget all about their soul! My friend, riches attract and promise what they CANNOT give! They promise to make us happy; but, when gained, happiness does NOT come. The soul is not satisfied. There is just the constant repeated desire to possess more and more wealth. BEWARE!!! To this, there is NO end "but death" (Pro.11:4). These hearers are of worldly dispositions; who are excessively careful and anxious about the things of this life, and are bound and determined to acquire worldly riches, and gratifying their carnal and sensual appetites.
Worldly riches are in total opposition to the riches of God’s grace and glory, where there is absolutely NO deceit. Worldly riches deceive and mislead, leading people out of the right way (God's way) . . . and causes them to go the wrong way (Satan’s way), and to err from the faith. Riches NEVER give permanent satisfaction, but are as thorns, sharp to the owners of them, who pierce themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim.6:10), in getting and keeping them. Mark adds, "and the lusts of other things" (Mk.4:19), and Luke adds, and "pleasures of this life" (Lk.8:14); meaning many other worldly lusts and pleasures, such as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn.2:16), which too, just like thorns, distract and afflict sooner or later. They are vain, unprofitable and lead to destruction (Mat.7:13). BEWARE!!! (Mat.13:22)
See:  http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch13.html
                                               

Mark 4:20 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.  (KJV)

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such who hear the word, and receive it . . . the hearer compared to good ground where the seed fell, is the person that hears the Word, believes and receives it and understands it. These hearers have a new and spiritual understanding given to them. They feel the power of God in their heart, that enlightens them. These hearers have the grace of God applied to them by the Spirit of God (Rom.8:9), and they realize the worth and quality of it (2 Cor.1:2; 9:8; Eph.6:24). They can distinguish the Truth of it from all other deceptions, and we need to "receive it"; as the Word of God in faith, and with the love of it, and with all readiness and meekness; and "keep it"; holding it fast against all opposition and never to part with it in any way, nor depart from it in any way. These hearers have NO doubt about God’s Word; they abide by it, stand fast in it, and are bold for it (Pro.28:1); and does this with "an honest and good heart" (Lk.8:15); which NO man has naturally; and NO man can make his heart good. An honest and good heart can come ONLY by the work of God, and that is because of His effective grace. A heart of flesh is made into a new and right heart, and this heart fears (reverences) God, loves Him, and trusts Him in ALL things. This new heart is where Christ dwells and where the Spirit of God has His temple (1 Cor.3:16-17). It is where the grace of God is implanted. These hearers hear with a strong and honest intention, and in the exercise of God’s grace, and these hold fast the Word that he hears, believes, receives and understands with faith and sincerity.
Which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty . . . no two people are alike; and the fruit each TRUE believer bears differs. BUT, with certainty, a TRUE child of God will bear GOOD spiritual fruit! (Ps.1:3; Jer.17:8; Jn.15:2,5; Rom.6:22; Heb.12:11; Gal.5:22-23; Eph.5:9; Phil.1:11; 4:17; Col.1:6; Jam.3:17). The fruit these bear is the true fruit of grace and righteousness, and is ALL from Christ, under the influences of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22-26). This fruit comes forth from the glory of God; and although it is not brought forth in the same quantity in all, it is all of the same quality. This fruit is brought forth, as Luke says, "with patience" (Lk.8:15); continuously and constantly, in all seasons, from youth to our old age, until our death. The good ground symbolizes those who hear the Word, receive it, understand it, and bear fruit. This parable tells us that only one-fourth of the sown seed ever got into good ground. The other three-fourths never did produce anything because those who heard the Word did NOT respond to it. In other words, they were NOT saved. I honestly do not think the percentage is that high. I think it would be closer to one out of ten, if that. Look around! What do you see? With all the tornadoes and acts of violence and terror that has recently taken place, how often do you see anyone thank God that they were spared? VERY seldom!  This is just my opinion.

Parable of the Candle and Bushel (Mark 4:21-25)
(Mat.5:14-16; Lk.8:16-18)

Mark 4:21 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? (KJV)

And he said unto them . . . this was after He had explained the parable of the sower.  Although He delivered the mysteries of the Gospel in parables to them that were without, yet it was not His plan that these things should be always kept secret, and as the Gospel might be compared to seed, so too, a candle might be to give light to men so He asks:
Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick? . . . this parable, like the one of the sower, shows us that we can profit from the Word of God. The Word there is represented by the seed sown, and here it is here represented by the lighted lamp. Just as a lamp, when brought into a room, is not covered up, but placed on the lampstand, so too, the Word of God is intended to enlighten men. It is NOT to be left, hidden under a bushel or in a closed closet, but should be held up before the world. (Mat.5:14-16). http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch5.html

Mark 4:22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.  (KJV)

For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad . . . nothing in the counsel and purpose of God concerning man is kept secret after Jesus came. To some extent these had previously been hid and kept secret, in the Old Testament, but now all that had been hidden was to be made clear, and all that had been kept secret was to be openly shown.
This parable of the candle and its action is before us. My friend, light creates responsibility. Anyone who receives the Truth, must act. We all shall be held accountable to the amount of light we have had given to us. The LIGHT is shining. Your response to the light is extremely important. You and I were in darkness until the light of the Gospel got through to us. Man is a sinner because of his weakness or his ignorance. The apostle Paul says very bluntly in the first chapter of Romans, that men, when they knew God, glorified Him not as God. Man is a willful sinner. That is the kind of sinners all of us are. We are lost, and if we do not accept the Light, if we do not accept Him, we stay lost and condemned to Hell (Jn.3:18). See: (Mat.10:26).

Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear . . . what He says is very important. Open your ears and listen! (Mat.11:15).
Christians are also the light of the world (Mat.5:14). Undoubtedly in the Kingdom, the believers are going to be the light of the world. We should be a light in our neighborhood and wherever we go. We have NO light within ourselves, but the Word of God is Light and the more we probe the Bible, the more light we will have to extend to others. Being a light means giving out the Word of God . . . in one way or another. This does NOT mean to quote Scripture all the time, but it does mean to share the light that God has given you. It is very easy to quietly and graciously introduce people to a Bible-teaching church or radio program. There are many ways in which you can be light in the world. If we live for Christ, we will glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like.
Can we hide our light? YES! We hide our light by: #1. being quiet when we should speak, #2. going along with the crowd, compromising with the world, #3. denying the light by being ashamed of Christ (Mark 8:38), #4. letting sin dim our light, unbelievers are watching us, #5. not explaining our light to others. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (KJV) or #6. ignoring the needs of others. Be a beacon of truth! Do NOT shut your light off from the rest of the world. This verse says that you and I are to let our light so shine in this world that we may glorify our Father which is in Heaven.

Mark 4:24 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. (KJV)
 
And he said unto them . . . at the same time, although He had said what follows at another time; still continuing His discourse with his disciples:
Take heed what you hear . . . in Luke 8:18, it is, "Take heed how ye hear." They both mean the same thing, and both teachings are very weighty.
With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you . . . a common saying among the Jews, used on various occasions, and to different purposes (Mat.7:2). Here it seems to mean, that if the disciples carefully listened to what they heard from Christ, and seriously tried to understand it, and faithfully distributed it to others, in return, a larger measure, and greater degree of spiritual knowledge, would be bestowed upon them.
Uunto you that hear, shall more be given . . . those who hear and understand and make a good use of what they hear, more shall be transferred to them. They shall have an increase of knowledge in the doctrines of grace, and mysteries of the Gospel. Many are inclined to hear only what was agreeable to their feelings and predetermined notions . . . thus this warning. With what measure you mete . . . this was a proverbial expression, and it applies to our dealings with God, and to our dealings with one another. IF we give God good measure by taking heed to hear all that He says to us, we have His Promise of good measure from Him. "To you that (really) hear, shall more be given."

Mark 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (KJV)

For he that hath, to him shall be given . . . he that has Gospel light and knowledge, and makes a proper use of it, more shall be given. It is like love, the more we love, the more love we have installed within us. We will never run out! It is the same with God’s Word! The more we spread it, the more abundant it will be in us.      
And he that hath not, from him shall be taken, even that which he hath . . . Jesus' words possibly could have been directed to the Jews who had no understanding of Jesus and would lose even what they had . . . their privileged status as God's people. Personally, I think Jesus meant that when people reject Him, their hardness of heart drives away, or renders useless even the little understanding they did have. I think that any chance to share in God's Kingdom will eventually be taken away completely. To understand Jesus' message, people MUST listen and MUST respond. Being a “Christian” is NOT an inactive, passive thing! All those people who listen with an indifferent and uncaring mind and heart, will miss the point (Lk.8:18). From him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have! Everything except the TRUE grace of God, is a mere show, a put on! If a person does not have Jesus in their heart and life, they have nothing that will last, and eventually, all that they have (or think they have), shall be taken away. (Mat.13:12).

Parable of the Seed (Mark 4:26-29)

This next one, is an unusual parable that our Lord Jesus gave and Mark is the only one who records it. It is another parable of action. It is about the "Kingdom of God." The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are two terms that are used. Actually, here they are the same, but the Kingdom of God is not identical with the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of God includes the whole universe; the Kingdom of Heaven is God's rule over the Earth, which is, of course, IN the Kingdom of God.
Consider: the state of Texas is in the United States, but it is NOT the United States. It is IN it. Any time that I am in Texas, I am also in the United States.
Our Lord Jesus talks about the growing of seed here. Even in today’s world of technology, very little is known about planting a tiny seed, which then grows into a plant or tree. It really is a mystery to this day, because we do NOT know HOW God does this. This parable is another of power and action. The old saying is very true: "Great oaks from little acorns grow."

This next parable illustrates the power of the Word of God working in our hearts and lives, and what a wonderful parable it is.

Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; (KJV)

And he said . . . He continued with the following parable, which was delivered at the same time that the parable of the sower was, although it is omitted by Matthew. The plan of it is to state the nature of the Word of God, and the presentation of it; the conduct of the ministers of the Gospel, when they have dispensed it; the invisible or unseen state of its springing up and growth; the fruitfulness of it, when it has taken root, without the help of man, and the continuing increase of grace under the tool of the Gospel; and the gathering of righteous souls, when grace abounds.              
So is the kingdom of God . . . such is the nature of the Gospel dispensation; and such are the things that are done in it, as may fitly be represented by the following;
As if a man should cast seed into the ground . . . "the man" is not Christ, for He does not sleep. In the other parables the man or the sower, IS Christ Jesus, but here, it is NOT. I think that here it is any Gospel pastor, who is sent forth by Christ, bearing precious seed (the Gospel). 
By "casting" the seed into the Earth, the preaching of the Word is meant. These cast the seed, and then commit it to God to raise it up, make it grow. The faithful dispensers of the Word of God do NOT spread damnable doctrines (2 Pet.2:1); they sow the same precious seed, with NO mixture of the tares of error and heresy. They do not restrain and conceal any part of Truth, speaking good things like love, pardon and Heaven . . . BUT they also tell of God’s hate, wrath and Hell. They declare the whole counsel of God; and even though there may be many discouragements attend them, many temptations arise to put off sowing the Word; the weather bad, storms and tempests arise, reproaches and persecutions come thick and fast, still they go on; using all that heavenly skill, prudence, and discretion God has given them, preaching the Word in season, and out of season (2 Tim.4:2).

Mark 4:27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. (KJV)

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how . . . go about his other normal jobs, leaving it to the well-known laws of vegetation under the warm influences of heaven. And rise night and day . . . revealing their diligence and hard work, and their constant attendance to other parts of their work, rising up early, and sitting up late, to prepare for, and discharge their pastoral work; and their continued expectation of the springing-up of the seed sown, which it does in proper time.
And the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how . . . this is a mystery in nature, how the seed lies under the clods, where it dies before it is quickened (brought to life), and then would spring and grow up, and bring forth fruit.  Something too deep for me! So too, is God’s grace! How the Word of God first lodges in a sinner's heart, and becomes grafted in there. The time when it lodges, and too, HOW . . . God’s grace too, by this means, is implanted in the heart. This is not even known to our soul, much less to the preachers of the Word, who sometimes never know anything of it; and if and when they do, it will be some great time afterwards.  This work is done secretly and powerfully, under the influence of God’s divine grace, without their knowledge, although they were the instruments. My friend, although the sowing and planting is of man, ALL the increase is God's!

Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. (KJV)

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear . . . "the earth bringing forth fruit of herself" . . . meaning it is done WITHOUT the power of man, WITHOUT his help; it is done while man is doing other things. This Passage does not mean for us to suppose that our Lord Jesus meant to say that the Earth had any productive power of itself, but only that it produced its fruits NOT by the "power of man." God gives it its power. It has no power of its own. So conviction in the heart is NOT by the power of man. How it happens, we cannot tell how, and we know that without divine aid, it will not happen. It is by the power of God. BUT, we must remember, #1. that without man’s work, there would be no harvest, and #2. Without man’s active energy, man would have no conviction, no faith in God. Both these are connected with man’s effort; both should be measured by his effort (Phil.2:12). Both grow and both increase in ways we cannot explain when the proper means are used, and both depend on God for increase. 

There is a law of logical development in natural growth, so too it is in spiritual growth (1 Jn.2:12-14).  Some growths are quicker than others, but in all there is growth. We must remember that we have absolutely NO right to look for the end when the growth just peeks through. We cannot see the ripened, or perfected Christian in the young convert (little children). The full ripened corn does NOT appear in the first tiny blade that appears! Also, we cannot know that there is growth in a person by the results. With each stage of growth, there is more  progress than the preceding stage. Spiritual growth: (Eph.4:15; Col.1:10; 1 Thes.3:12; 4:10; 1 Pet.2:2; 2 Pet.1:2-9; 3:18; Jude 1:20).                        

Mark 4:29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (KJV)

But when the fruit is brought forth . . . when the fruit is ripened unto perfection, or fully ripe; meaning that when grace is brought to maturity, and faith is applied with power, and the good work begun is perfected; then, as the husbandman,
Immediately he putteth the sickle . . . cuts it down, and gathers it in.
Because the harvest is come . . . at death or at the end of the world, which the harvest represents: when all the elect of God are called by grace, and grace in them is brought to its perfection, and they have brought forth all the fruit they were meant to bear, they will then be all gathered in; either by Christ Himself in the clouds at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18), or when He comes and gathers His people by death (2 Cor.5:1,6,8); or by the angel reapers, at the close of time (Mat.13:30,39,49; Mk.13:27), who will gather the elect from the four winds (Job 1:19; Jer.49:36; Eze.37:9; Dan.7:2; 8:8; 11:4; Zec.2:6; Mat.24:31; Mk.13:27; Rev.7:1). Harvest, end of the world: (Job 4:8; 24:6; Pro.9:10; 10:5; 20:4; 22:8;  Jer.8:20; Joel 3:13; Hos.10:13;  Mat.9:37-39; 13:30; Mk.4:29; Lk.10:2; Jn.4:35; 2 Cor.9:6; Gal.6:8; Rev.14:15).         

This beautiful parable is found only in Mark. Its plan is to teach the Unnoticeable Growth of the Word of God sown in the heart, from its earliest stage of development to the ripest fruits of righteousness.


 Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32)
 (Mat.13:31-32)

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? (KJV)

And he said . . . Jesus is still continuing His discourse on parables, and in order to convey to the minds of His disciples clearer concepts of the Gospel dispensation, the success of the Gospel, and how useful their treatment of it was.
Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God, or with what comparison shall we compare it? . . . it was common with the Jewish doctors, when they were about to illustrate anything in the form of a parable, to begin with such like questions.  

Mark 4:31 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: (KJV)

It is like a grain of mustard seed . . . meaning the kingdom of God, is like a grain of mustard seed; by which is meant, either the Gospel, or the Gospel church, or the grace of God in the hearts of His people, and possibly all of them. The Gospel is so called, because it brings life and immortality to light, by pointing to the kingdom of God, directing the way to it, and shows what qualifies persons for it. The Gospel gives people a claim to Heaven! The Gospel church is so called, because it is where Christ dwells, and rules as King; the members of it are His subjects, and the ordinances of it are His laws, to which they are obedient: The grace of God in the hearts of His people may be so called, because it governs them, reigning through righteousness unto eternal life. It is by the amazing grace of God, by which Christ reigns in and over them. At this present time, the kingdom of God in each of these senses, could be compared to a grain of mustard seed, because of its size.
Which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth . . . not that there are seeds smaller than this; but it seems that the meaning is, that this is one of the least of all seeds that were commonly known in Judea; and too, this very small seed which grew to a very large size shrub. A grain of mustard seed is often used, proverbially, for the least thing, as it is by Christ (Mat.17:20; Lk.17:6). The grace of God, in the ministry of the Word is implanted in the hearts of the Lord's people, is at first very small, like a grain of mustard seed. Faith in Christ is very weak when a person accepts the Lord Jesus, but increases with sincere prayer (Lk.17:5); spiritual strength is small, comforts little at first, but grows and comforts much before long, and the love of God does not seem large at first, but indeed grows and is felt within; light and knowledge in the doctrines of grace are slim and very obscure at first, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, become bright and understandable; fruit of the Spirit is small at first, but the Holy Spirit produces more and more and more with each passing day (Gal.5:22-26).

Mark 4:32 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. (KJV)

But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches  . . . but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree . . . Luke says, "a great tree" (Lk.13:19). Although this mustard tree grew to this height and size, it was considered an herb, not a tree, as stated here by Christ.
And shooteth out great branches, so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it . . . the fowls of the air have been interpreted by Jesus in Matthew (Mat.13:19). The birds are the devil and his children. This parable reveals the outward growth of Christendom, while the parable of the leaven speaks of the internal condition of Christendom. My friend, the church has NOT, and will NOT convert the world, but it does have a huge influence on the world. Anywhere that Christianity has gone can be called Christendom.
This parable reveals the outward growth of the organized church. The church and the world have become appallingly mixed. There has been real integration between the man in the church and the man in the world. They live and act very much in the same way in our day. The Christian should be salt in the world, NOT sugar!
"The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Birds do not mean different denominations. That is a dire contradiction of our Lord's own interpretation of the birds in the first parable. My friend, the birds in the parables of this discourse do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, represent the EVIL of the devil. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside (verse 15). The Lord Jesus said that they represent the enemy who is Satan. This tiny mustard seed, grew into an unnaturally large tree. This does NOT represent TRUE Christianity, but rather FALSE Christendom, that profess the Name of Christ Jesus . . . BUT . . . which Jesus? (2 Cor.11:4). And they teach another gospel (Gal.1:6-7). They teach damnable doctrines (2 Pet.2:1). They PROFESS the Name of Christ, but have NEITHER Christ Jesus or the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). Birds are the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10), finding refuge in the church originally started by the Lord Jesus (Rev.18:2). Christendom today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds! . . . . . . "The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof" . . . we can be SURE that the birds in this parable absolutely do NOT speak of anything good, but rather represent evil, sin and wickedness. I think that this parable reveals the outward growth of the so-called Christian church in the Kingdom of Heaven. I say "so-called" because there are millions who PROFESS they are "Christians" but in fact, they are hypocrites, because they do not POSSESS Christ in their heart. The church and worldly mankind have become incorporated, acting very much the same in most of the world. The TRUE Christian should be salt (Mat.5:13) in the world, NOT mustard!

Just because a person PROFESSES to be a "Christian," or PROFESSES to trust the Lord, or PROFESSES to make a "commitment" to the Lord . . . does NOT mean they are sincere. IF a person does not POSSESS Christ in their heart . . . and only God knows that Truth . . . they are a HYPOCRITE! (Matthew 23). Jesus pronounces '14' WOES on hypocrites there. Please do NOT be a hypocrite.
There are millions of Hell-bound souls who CLAIM to be born again and trust Christ. For instance, there are so many Catholics, who do not completely trust Christ, and Christ ALONE. They also trust Mary, their priests, baptism, religion, works, and their sacraments to save them. So a big question arises: "Can a person who refuses to believe in eternal security be saved? Or is it unbelief in the Bible?" Again, quoting Darien: "You either believe the Bible or you don't." SO TRUE!
http://www.hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm

So the Gospel, when it was preached, spread even aside all the opposition made against it by the Jews and Gentiles: there was NO stopping it; although the Jewish Sanhedrim charged the apostles to speak no more in the name of Jesus, they did not obey them; even though Herod stretched forth his hands against the church, and killed one apostle, and put another in prison, yet "the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:1-3,24).

For more on the mustard seed, see end of this chapter.

 
Other Parables not Recorded (Mark 4:33-34)
 (Mat.13:34-35)

Mark 4:33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.  (KJV)
 
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it . . . such as those of the tares, of the leaven in three measures of meal, of the treasure hid in the field, the pearl of great price, the net cast into the sea, and of the Scribe instructed unto the kingdom of God. None of these are in Mark’s Gospel. To see these, go to Matthew. http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch13.html

Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. (KJV)

But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples . . . the multitude being dismissed, He unfolded and explained all these parables to His disciples, and gave them a large knowledge of Himself, and the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; thus they were equipped for the work He had called them to, and planned for them. (Mat.13:36).

Jesus Stills The Storm (4:35-41)
(Mat.8:23-27; Lk.8:22-25)        

Now we find here, that when our Lord stops teaching, they go out into the sea. He wants a rest because He is tired. He goes to sleep. And then we find this miracle of His quieting the sea.

Mark 4:35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.  (KJV)

And the same day, when the even was come . . . after He had finished His parables among the multitude, and had explained them to His disciples:
He saith unto them. . . His disciples,
Let us pass over unto the other side . . . over the sea of Galilee, or lake of Gennesaret, to the country of the Gadarenes, and Gergesenes. He had in mind rest and relaxation, after the fatigue of the day. And I think He also had in mind the trial of the faith of His disciples, by a storm which He knew would arise, or possibly He caused just for the trial, because of a miracle He was about to work on the other side of the sea later on.  

Mark 4:36 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. (KJV)

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 . . . the ship on which Jesus had been sitting during the day was no doubt the same ship that He had previously commanded to be in waiting for Him (Mk.3:9); so, it was in that ship that they started with Him to cross the lake. Mark mentions the presence of "other little ships," to show that there were other witnesses besides the close companions of Jesus, of the storm and its miraculous termination.  

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  (KJV)

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full . . . "a tempest of wind" . . . such sudden squalls on the Sea of Galilee is very likely because of its position. It was in a deep basin, skirted on the east by high mountain ranges, and on the west the hills are intersected by narrow gorges through which the wind sweeps across the lake, and raises its waters with great speed in a storm. And the waves beat into the ship . . . kept beating, kept tossing the ship around. So that it was now full . . .or "so that it was already filling." Matthew says: "insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves" (Mat.8:24). The ship was getting covered by the waves. Luke says: "And there came down a storm on the lake, and they were filled with water" (Lk.8:23). In other words, the ship was filling with water fast.

Mark 4:38 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?  (KJV)
 
And he was in the hinder part of the ship . . . Christ was in the stern of the ship. One version reads: "he was in the bottom of the ship, in a corner", which is wrong, for He was in the back part of the ship.  
Asleep on a pillow . . . some say this was a wooden pillow, framed at the stern. Wherever He was, He was fast asleep on that pillow (Mat.8:24), because He was very tired from the long day. This reveals the human nature of the Lord Jesus. He got tired, like we do.
And they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? . . . the disciples came to Him and shook Him, and awoke Him out of His sleep; saying, Master, arise, and save us, or we are lost: hast thou no concern for us? how canst thou lie sleeping here, when we are in such danger? are our lives of no account with thee? is it a matter of no moment with thee, whether we are saved or lost? This does not seem like a prayer, but a reprimand. Carest thou not . .  . they did not stop to think that He was in the same danger as they were. They just considered His calm, peaceful slumber as proof of indifference in regard to them.

Mark 4:39 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. (KJV)

And he arose and rebuked the wind . . . He got up from His pillow, and with a majestic and authoritative way, rebuked the wind, as if the wind was a servant that had surpassed his commission . . . and at the same time He shows some resentment.
And said unto the sea, Peace, be still . . . it was as if that which was very tumultuous and unruly, and threatened with shipwreck and the loss of lives, had raged too much and too long.
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm . . . this was extremely unusual and amazing; because after the wind has ceased, and the storm was over, the waters of the sea never quieted down, but kept raging in a violent motion, for a quite some time . . . BUT here, as soon as Jesus spoke, immediately (straightway), at once, the wind stopped, and the sea was calm. What clear proof this is, that He IS the most high God, who gathers the winds in His fists (Pro.30:4), and stills the noise of the seas and their waves. NO one but Almighty God can do this! http://www.godcannotlie.org/is_jesus_god.htm

Mark 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (KJV)

And he said unto them . . . His disciples,
Why are ye so fearful? . . . since He was with them in Person, and it was His power to keep and preserve them, they had NO room to fear or question, because they had seen the miracles He recently had done.  
How is it that ye have no faith? . . . the faith they had, was very small, and could hardly be called faith!  

Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (KJV)

And they feared exceedingly . . . the men in the ship, the mariners to whom the ship belonged, and who had the management of it:
And said to one another . . . as persons in the greatest amazement,
What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? . . . surely this Person is not just a mere man; He must be truly God, for only God could have such power over the wind and sea. The disciples certainly must have known before, Who and What He was; although they should have been more established and confirmed in the Truth of Christ's deity, by this amazing instance of His power.

What would you have done if you were on that ship with Jesus when that ferocious storm hit? I know what I wish I could say . . . that I would trust Him no matter what, and I would have no fear, BUT, I do not know what I would have done or said.

How Small Is a Mustard Seed?

A mustard seed is a very small seed, but there are smaller seeds. So, what does Jesus mean here? Matthew 13:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (KJV)
                  
There are some things we should take into consideration:

  • #1. This Passage has nothing at all to do with botany.
  • #2. What this is teaching is that we are to make a natural comparison to the Kingdom of God.
  • #3. Jesus is pointing out something as an illustration, He is NOT giving an absolute Truth. Holding Jesus responsible for something He had no intention of teaching or implying shows the failure of the accuser to understand, and NOT a failure of Jesus or the Gospel writers.
  • #4. The framework of Jesus' point is found in Mark: "Is less than all the seeds that be in the earth." What seeds did Palestinian Jews plant? The mustard seed is smaller than any other seeds that they commonly planted.
  • #5. The focus of Jesus' saying is to make a contrast between the tiny seed planted and the size of the resulting huge shrub. The seed does not grow into a thin, spindly grass or weak-stemmed flower, unable to support the weight of anything more than insects, but it grows into a sturdy shrub that is able to support the weight of small birds.

So, a tiny seed is planted, and a very large shrub sprouts that grows large enough to support the weight of birds. The Kingdom of Heaven is like that. The Kingdom of Heaven begins with Jesus and His small band of followers, barely noticeable in the towns and cities of Palestine. BUT . . . Jesus still predicts that Kingdom shall grow until it becomes something very large and very strong.

What is this supposed to mean to us? The smallness of this core of the Kingdom of Heaven was easy to ignore, then and now. Someone could listen to Jesus and say, "He’s a good speaker," and turn and go away. BUT . . . the Kingdom is NOT going to go away. It will become something large and strong.

"The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Birds do NOT mean different denominations. That is an appalling contradiction of our Lord's own interpretation of the birds in the first parable. My friend, the birds in the parables of this discourse do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, they represent the evil of the devil. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside (verses 3,19). The Lord Jesus said that the birds represent the enemy who is Satan. This tiny mustard seed, grew into an unnaturally large tree. This does NOT represent TRUE Christianity, but rather FALSE Christendom, that profess the Name of Christ Jesus . . . BUT . . . which Jesus? (2 Cor.11:4). And they teach another gospel (Gal.1:6-7). These PROFESS the Name of Christ, but have NEITHER Christ Jesus or the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). Birds are the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10), finding refuge in the church originally started by the Lord Jesus (Rev.18:2). "The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof" . . . we can be sure that the birds in the parables of this discourse absolutely do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, represent evil, sin and wickedness. My dear friend, I think that Christendom today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds! I think that this parable reveals the outward growth of the so-called Christian church in the Kingdom of Heaven. I say "so-called" because there are millions who PROFESS they are "Christians" but in fact, they are hypocrites, because they do not POSSESS Christ in their heart. The church and the world have become all horribly mixed up together. The church and worldly mankind have become incorporated, acting very much the same in most of the world. The TRUE

Christian should be salt (Mat.5:13) in the world, not mustard!
Just because a person PROFESSES to be a "Christian," or PROFESSES to trust the Lord, or PROFESSES to make a "commitment" to the Lord . . . does NOT mean they are sincere. IF a person does not POSSESS Christ in their heart . . . and only God knows that Truth . . . they are a HYPOCRITE! (Matthew 23). Jesus pronounces 14 WOES on hypocrites there. Please do NOT be a hypocrite.

It is a sad thing indeed to write the following: There are millions of Hell-bound souls who CLAIM to be born again and trust Christ. For instance, here are uncountable cults, and there are so many Catholics, who do not completely trust Christ, and Christ ALONE (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). They also trust Mary, their priests, baptism, religion, works, and their sacraments to save them. So a big question arises: "Can a person who refuses to believe in eternal security be saved?” Again, quoting Darien: "You either believe the Bible or you don't." SO TRUE! http://www.hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm

 Gospel of Mark

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