We enter this week in our sermon series on the gospel of Mark with Jesus’ teaching in parables.
Mark 4:1-20, our text for this week is part of a larger whole (Mark 4:1-34) as it begins with a parable about sowing followed with its explanation in the Sown Seed or the soils, then saying about light and hearing, a parable of the seed growing of itself, parable of the Mustard Seed, and concludes with Mark summarizing Jesus’ parabolic teaching. I have included Mark 4:33-34 as a part of our Sunday readings to remind us of the purpose of Jesus’ teaching in parables.
Jesus’ parabolic teaching is characteristic of his proclamation of the Kingdom of God with all of its advent, nature, and promise. It is in parables that the Kingdom of God is revealed as a mystery. The revelation as a mystery takes place in commonplace actives and events used to draw attention to the Kingdom. Jesus uses what people know to reveal to them the Kingdom of God with all of its hopes, expectations, and promises.
In our hearing and reading the parables there may be several questions that are put before us today. Questions like:
- Is the effort to follow Jesus, to live in and to proclaim the Kingdom of God worthwhile?
- Why does the preaching and teaching of the gospel not bear more fruit?
- What difference, if any, does hearing the gospel make?
- What do hearing, seeing, and understanding mean in this passage and life?
- Is there a single meaning to the parables in this chapter?
- How do parables work?
- How do we receive parables?
- How do we receive the Word of God in Scripture?
What are you asking regarding the passage in Mark? Are your questions about the Sower? The Seed? Or The Soil?
Take some time … pause in the business of life and reflect upon what questions you may have about the Sower, the Seed, or the Soil.