As we continue our quest we begin to hear this man Jesus teach in a way that the common man can understand basic principles. Jesus begins using parable. Jesus admits that the parables will disguise truth to some and reveal it to others (Mark 4:10-13). The word parable is a compound word in Greek from “para” meaning side by side and “bole” meaning throwing or to throw. The idea communicated by the word parable is to lay things side by side for comparison. Jesus will tell a story using common events and His disciple can learn a spiritual or kingdom truth from that story. In Mark 4 we have the following events and Jesus lays out the certain parables:
- Mark 4:1-9 – The Parable of the Soils
- Mark 4:10-13 – The reason Jesus uses Parables
- Mark 4:14-20 – The Parable of the Soils Explained
- Mark 4:21-25 – Jesus Teaches about Illuminating Light
- Mark 4:26-29 – The Parable of the Grain
- Mark 4:30-34 – The Parable of the Mustard Seed
- Mark 4:35-41 – Jesus Calms a Storm
Today, let’s journey beside the sower as he spreads the seed. As we spend time with him we will stay to watch the seed and the soil it lands on.
- The Sower is God, any of His agents such as Christ, the apostles, or even Christians today.
- The Seed as Jesus defines it is the Word of God. This is the message God wants spread in the world. The message of the Gospel and of the Kingdom. It is a message of the great news concerning salvation (cf. John 1:1; John 12:48).
Now we come to the soils:
- The soil of the Path is hard and impenetrable. The Word of God falls on hard hearts and cannot get in deep to germinate and grow. Hard-heated people have their minds made up or are scarred by life and are unwilling to yield to God. Hard earth needs breaking and the dirt turned over to reveal the soft heart still below the surface.
- The soil that is rocky can still receive the seed. The Word of God reaches the soft part of the heart, but the soil is not deep. The sun beats down then dries the plant that has no nourishing water. The roots cannot go down to drink deeply or to hold fast. When the first torrential rain that comes along will wash the seed or the young plant away. We must remove the rocks from the soil as we prepare the soil for sowing, helping people with rocky hearts to get rid of the traditions or philosophies that keep them from leaning fully on God.
- The soil full of thorns is also soft soil. They hear, obey, and begin to follow the Word of God. But the weeds of the world distract them and choke out what God is growing in their hearts. We must help weed-out those distractions, whatever they might be. We must, as Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mat 6:33-34)
- The soil that is good is soil ready for seed and that will have a great harvest. The heart hears, obeys, and follows. They keep growing and as they mature they spread seed for a great harvest.
Which soil are you? What are you doing to prepare your soil and the soil of those around you?
What lessons do you see in the other parables in this chapter?