Mark 4

The parables of Jesus

  • Jesus often usen parables. There are about forty-one parables total in the gospels, but Mark records five.
  • A parable places one thing next to another with a view to comparison.
  • Why teach in parables?
    • Mark 4:11 – So Jesus could teach His disciples in private.
  • What are they about?
    • Generally, to teach what the kingdom “at hand” is like.
  • How should we interpret them?
    • Don’t look for lessons in every small detail.
    • Let Jesus explain!

The kingdom is like a sower (Mark 4:1-20)

  • Mark 4:15 – Compare Luke 8:11. The seed is the word of God. The wayside is people who hear the word, but don’t grow with any depth.
  • Mark 4:16-17 – The rocky place – people who hear the word but will not endure persecution.
  • Mark 4:18-19 – The thorns – people who hear, but the word of God is choked out by the cares of the world.
  • Mark 4:20 – The good ground that bears fruit.
  • The kind of heart determines the reception and relation to God’s word. We determine what type of heart we have!

Lamp under a bushel (Mark 4:21-25)

  • Compare Matthew 10:27. We should proclaim God’s word! See also Acts 13:47.
  • Be lights of God’s world. Teach and do God’s word!

The growing seed (Mark 4:26-27)

  • Compare I Corinthians 3:6-9. We are laborers together with God. We plant and water, but God gives the increase in His own time.
  • See Galatians 1:7. We have no right to cross-breed or modify the message. See also Romans 1:16; I Peter 2:5. God’s church is not for entertainment or a social club.

The kingdom is like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30-34)

  • The kingdom, from a small beginning, grows to a place of strength and comfort for those therein. Remember the figure of the kingdom in Daniel 2.

The wicked vinedressers (Mark 12:1-12)

  • See I Peter 2:8. Unlike other parables, the Jewish leaders immediately understood the parable and knew He was condemning them.