Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mark, Chapter Four

Chapter Four

Verses 1-20, the parable of the sower

The parable of the sower includes descriptions of the different patches of earth where the farmer scattered seeds. How would you describe your patch of ground when you first heard God’s word? What does the patch of ground resemble now?

The word of God is always productive. What causes the word to get choked—for the spiritual breath of God to have no effect? Read 2 Cor. 12:7. There, Paul describes his thorn in the flesh as a messenger of Satan. Do you have any thorns crowding out good growth and resulting fruit?

Verses 21-25, a lamp on the stand

Mark pauses in the rapid telling of Jesus’ ministry to relay Jesus’ teachings:

1) A lamp’s purpose is to give light and the gospel was/is not a secret to be kept but should go out into the entire world

2) Listen carefully in regard to all things

3) Each person’s meted out condemnation or mercy determines how they will be judged

4) Be diligent in seeking God and more spiritual growth will come. Be a spiritual sloth and what small connection you have with God will dwindle.

Which one of these short teachings spoke to you?

Verses 26-29, the parable of the growing seed

The parable of a planted seed growing while the planter goes about his normal routine reflects a spiritual lesson. What is Jesus telling his “listening” followers, the ones with ears to hear?

Verses 30-34, Jesus calms the storm

Obviously, the tiny mustard seed—which can grow into a huge tree—represents the kingdom of God. Mark says Jesus told the crowds as many parables as they could understand and then explained the meanings when he was alone with his disciples.

Why do you think Jesus so often spoke in parables to the crowds?

Verses 35-41, Jesus calms the storm

Jesus sets a good precedent here when his disciples’ fears mounted because of the storm: he first helps alleviate stress and then builds up their faith. When you encounter people who have physical burdens—finances, health, relationships—how do approach and help them?

Summary Thought: Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, stories about common things. However, the stories had a hidden message, and the crowds recognized that element giving them time to ponder instead of immediately dismissing Jesus’ teachings.

Prayer Endings: In the name of parable-teller Jesus (vs. 2); In the name of Jesus who stills and quiets my rocking boat (vs. 36)

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