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by Dr. D ~

Mark 4:  The Teaching On The Lake

Vs.1-2:     This chapter contains the largest body of teaching in the Gospel of Mark.  Vs.2- Tells us that Jesus taught the people many things in the form of parables.  Theses verses represent only a part of what Jesus actually taught. The following parables are about the Kingdom of God–he taught them to the people, but explained them only to his own disciples.

Parables of The Kingdom :

Vs.3-20:     The Parable of The Sower

Notice that the ‘good soil’ produces an incredible harvest, 30,60,& 100 times the investment.  Jesus explains this parable in verses 13-20.  but first he refers to why he talks in veiled parables in the first place.  He quotes Isaiah 8:16, and explains that the full understanding of the ‘Kingdom’ teaching is for those who are truly part of the ‘Kingdom’ movement.  Today, Jesus gives all believers his Holy Spirit in order to help in understanding his teaching and enliven the Biblical text.  I am always surprised how very little unbelievers receive sometimes when they read the Bible and what they latch on to in the process.

Vs.13-20:  1. Those ‘along the path’–Satan had direct access to these people, probably through some false philosophical or religious system of thought.  2.  Those in the ‘rocky places’ accepted the word for a short while, but did not continue when friends, family, or colleagues rejected them, or made fun of them because of their new faith  3.  Those ‘among the weeds’,  believe and accept the faith, but are so busy that they really don’t have time for Bible study, prayer, or Church meetings.  Therefore, they really never grow and their faith is ‘choked’ out.  I have been in the ministry long enough to have observed and to have personally known far too many in these first three categories.  However, I have also been blessed by observing the incredible growth of some in group number 4.  I have seen many changed lives for the better, even in the midst of great adversity.  The ‘good soil’ represents miraculous results in the lives of many people of faith. ‘The Kingdom’ advances  and continues to grow at a miraculous pace.

Vs.21-25:     The Parable of a Lamp On a Stand

As a lighted lamp is not meant to be hidden, so also the meaning of these parables is ultimately meant to be understood.  Those who take the time to understand this teaching will be blessed and receive even more.  Those who don’t, won’t even understand or be able to use what they have just been given.    Jesus was ‘the light of the world’, he came to reveal the Father to us, and yet he himself was God hidden in the flesh of a human.  His true nature was ‘hidden’ like the true meaning of the parables.

Vs.26-29:     The Parable of the Growing Seed

Once the Kingdom is sown on the earth, it grows until the end of the age.  Micro growth in the life of every believer, and macro growth in expansion across the entire world.  The Rule of God is designed to expand in the life of the believer becoming increasingly more fruitful.  The Rule of God is also expanding in the world as more and more believers come to Christ.

Vs.30-32:     The Parable of the Mustard Seed

The Kingdom of God is likened to a tiny mustard seed.  From small beginnings, a large plant grows up and becomes a beneficial perch for birds.  The Kingdom did get its start here with just a handful of people.  It is uncertain what the birds might represent, if anything other than showing that the plant grew large enough to give shade.  Because the birds represented evil in the ‘Parable of the Sower’, some teach that the birds represent a sinister outcome here, but I believe that kind of understanding goes beyond the more simple teaching of the text.

Vs.33-34:     Conclusion- Teaching of Parables

Jesus taught the people in parables, but the disciples were the only ones that he explained the teaching to in detail.  They were able to dialog with him and ask questions, & they were able to walk with him, and have continual conversation as friends and companions.

Vs.35-41:     Jesus Calms the Storm

Jesus tells his disciples: “let us go over to the other side” (of the Lake).

A huge storm arises while Jesus is sleeping, and the boat is in danger of sinking, and other boats with them also.  Jesus rebukes the wind–similar to the way that he rebukes demons.  Some have inferred by this tact, that the storm may have been ‘demonically’ inspired.

The disciples are just beginning to discover that Jesus has far more authority than any man they ever knew.  The level of faith displayed by the disciples is probably no greater or any less than ours would be in the same circumstances.  I least, I know that I would be terrified in the middle of a Lake in the midst of a storm.  Maybe less so, if Jesus was there–but I know who Jesus really is.

Read Mark Chapter 5

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