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Mark - Chapter 04

Bible Study Notes
Mark 4:1-9 Jesus got into a boat off shore because of the size of the crowd and began to teach them in parables. One of the parables was about the ‘Sower and the Seed’. As sower sowed. Seeds fell on the path (unprepared ground (heart)) and the birds ate it. Seeds fell on rocky ground, but lack of soil prevented deep rooting to get much needed water and the hot son scorched it. Seeds fell among thorns that choked it so it would yield no grain. Seeds fell on good ground, produced grain, and yielded 30, 60, to 100-fold.

Notes: Jesus teaches in parables both as judgement against those “outside” and as a means of instruction for those “inside” his newly formed messianic community of faith. To the hard-hearted, parables are a warning; to those who are open-hearted, parables illustrate principles of the messianic rule of God. A parable consists of a story and its corresponding intended message.

Mark 4:10-20 Most of the people did not understand the parable, but Jesus explained it to His apostles. Only those truly seeking to know the truth will the Lord reveal the secrets of His Kingdom. Jesus explains: The seed is God’s word. The seeds on the path are those that are not listening and Satan snatches the word from the minds. The seeds on the rocky ground are those that hear and receive it with joy. But the word doesn’t take root, so when persecution comes for what they believe, they deny their faith and walk away from it. The seeds with the thorns hear and receive it, but the cares, riches, and worldly things crowd out the word and they bear no fruit. Seeds on the good ground bear much fruit.

Notes: Since Isa. 6:9–10 describes the hard-heartedness of Israel, its citation here emphasizes the fact that Jesus speaks the parables to outsiders as a form of prophetic warning. Jesus warns of the serious consequences for all, both Gentiles and Jews, who do not open their hearts to him. And yet, there is still room for repentance.

Mark 4:21-25 Lamps are meant to be on a stand to shine so you can see the room you are in, not under a bed. You don’t hide the word, but let it shine forth for others to see the word that is in you. Pay attention to what you hear for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you and more will be added. The more you have (fruit), more will be given, and the one that bears not fruit, what he has will be taken away.

Notes: If the hearer embraces Jesus’ message of the kingdom in a rich and profound way, then still more will be added to you—that is, God will take up residence in that heart and give increased understanding and blessing, both in this age and in the age to come. The purpose in keeping something hidden is so that one day it can be revealed. Jesus’ teaching was never intended to be just for an inner circle of followers. It would be the responsibility of the disciples to communicate the gospel of the kingdom to the world at large.

Mark 4:26-34 Man sows the seed, but can’t understand how the seed sprouts and grows. That is God’s doing. When the grain is ripe, the harvest comes. The Kingdom of God like the tiniest seed, but it grows into a large shrub 15 feet high. Jesus always explained to his apostles, but always explained the meaning.

Notes: God begins in a small and unnoticed way, which is different from what was popularly expected. Its beginning is likened to a mustard seed, which was the smallest of all the seeds but could produce a bush as large as 3 by 12 feet. The metaphor emphasizes small beginnings and gradual but remarkable growth. The tree represents the sphere of salvation, which would grow so large that it would provide shelter, protection, and benefit to people.

Mark 4:35-41 Jesus suggested to get into a boat and cross the Sea of Galilee. A great storm arose so that the boat was filling with water. Jesus was sleeping through the storm. His apostles woke Jesus and accused Him of not caring whether they died. Jesus rebuked the storm and it became still. Jesus then rebuked His apostles for their lack of faith in Him. The apostles were filled with fear and asked among themselves who Jesus really was, for no one has ever controlled the weather before.

Notes: The Sea of Galilee is 696 feet deep, and surrounded by hills, resulting in violent downdrafts or whirlwinds and sudden storms. Jesus was so exhausted from a full day of healing and preaching, even that storm could not wake him up. The disciples’ fear of perishing is greater than their confidence in the presence of Jesus. The antidote to fear is faith (in Jesus). They are right in turning to Jesus, but they are exhorted regarding their fear and feeling of being forsaken by God. The disciples ask the right question about who Jesus could be, for the calming of the storm gives evidence that this man is also truly God. The only thing more terrifying than having a storm outside the boat was having God in the boat!

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