The present age is a time for missions and testimony to the salvation offered in the Word of God. The message will be variously received because of Satanic opposition, but many will prove good soil for the Divine seed and will bring forth fruit by the power of God.
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.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
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.
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:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
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.
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
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:
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.
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14 ¶ The sower soweth the word.
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.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
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.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
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.
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.
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?
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
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.
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.
26 ¶ And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
30 ¶ And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
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:
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.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
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.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
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?
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.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
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?
Mark 4:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Mark 4:2-8 – J. Vernon McGee
Mark 4:9-12 – J. Vernon McGee
Mark 4:13-25 – J. Vernon McGee
Mark 4:26-41 – J. Vernon McGee
Mark 4:1-9 – Brother to All Who Will
The sower, Mark 4:1-9. Note the perils of the hearer, that you may guard against the waste of precious seed. There is a grave peril in the effect of light, fanciful, wandering thoughts. There is great peril also in a mere emotional response—the “immediately it sprang up” which has no root, because the heart is hard. There is danger lest the cares of the poor, the riches of the wealthy, and the too eager pursuit of things by other classes may drain away the strength of the soul, so that the Word of God shall be a slender stalk, without an ear or fruit. It is not enough to hear the Word, we must accept it and bear fruit; otherwise the plowing, sowing, and all the operations of nature are in vain. Live up to what you know. Obedience is the key to understanding. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Mark 4:10-41 – Growth in God’s Kingdom
How quick the Master was to observe the meaning of natural symbols! To Him all things were unfoldings of eternal mystery, and the ways of men unconsciously mirrored the unseen. Are there bushels in your life? Use them as lamp stands, not as coverings. All secrets come out; beware of what you say. All measures come back to us; take care how you mete. The mysterious co-operation of God in nature, and the gradual process of growth, are analogous to the co-working of the Holy Spirit with all faithful sowers of the Word, and the imperceptible stages through which the soul reaches maturity.
The stilling of the storm, Mark 4:35-41. They that bear Christ’s company must prepare for squalls. Yet, why should we fear, when the Master is on board, who can impress His commands on wind and sea—to the wind, Peace; to the sea, Be still! “The LORD on high is mightier… than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4). A moment ago he was so weary as to sleep amid the storm, but at a word of appeal from those He loves, He shows Himself able to save to the uttermost. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Mark 4:19—Cares;… Riches;… Lusts.
There is enough nutriment in the land for the thorns alone or for the wheat alone, but not for both; and so there is a brief struggle, for mastery, in which the sturdy weed prevails against the slender wheat, and chokes it. Nourishment which should go to its support is drained away from it; and though it does not actually expire, it leads a struggling existence, and becomes unfruitful. What are these weeds?
For the poor man—Cares.—The Greek word for care is Division. Cares divide our heart, and distract it in many different directions. What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed? How shall we meat our rent and other expenses? It is almost impossible to settle to our prayer, or Bible study, or Christian work, or to the culture of the soul-life, while questions like these intrude. What shall the poor man do to prevent the word becoming unfruitful? He must take his cares to his Father, and by one act deposit them in his safe keeping. And thereafter, as a care tries to break in on the peace of his heart, he must treat it as a positive temptation, handing it over to God.
For the prosperous man—riches.—They will distract as much as anxiety does. How much they amount to! Oh, the endless figurings in the brain—how to keep, or invest, or increase. The case for him is to look on all be has as a stewardship for God, deducting only a moderate percentage for himself.
For us all—lusts.—Strong and inordinate desires for what may be right in itself, but which we follow with extravagant zest. What is right in itself may become wrong if we put it in God’s place, and allow it to monopolies us unduly. On, Great Husbandman, root up the thorns by thy Holy Spirit! —Our Daily Homily
It was eventide. The setting sun perchance smiled a farewell, flooding the waters with golden light. The sky was cloudless. Gennesaret reposed in quiet loveliness, like Lucerne in Switzerland, or beautiful Loch Lomond among the Scottish hills. The disciples were not afraid as they embarked. Suddenly the storm swept down upon them. The angry waves smote the little ship. Skillful hands plied their oars in vain. They were in jeopardy. Then, in answer to their cry, the Christ arose. It needed but a word: “Peace, be still.” “There was a great calm.”
And this is life. One hour all is bright and peaceful; the next, the billows break over us, the desire of our hearts dies, human help avails nought. Within the soul itself are all the elements of unrest. When conscience convinces of sin, and memory recalls our selfishness and ingratitude, our own unworthiness is revealed. We are in despair.
Blessed be God, we have a sure refuge! He who calmed the troubled waters speaks peace to human hearts. His blood atones for every sin; His grace supplies every need. Begin my soul, this day with a penitent, trustful prayer to Him, and through its toilsome or suffering hours shall come the cheering refrain, “Peace, be still.” (Edward A. Reed)