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Mark

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The Stranglehold of Worldly Worries

Mark 4:7 & 18-19

These verses describe, in the parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20), a third soil-type into which God's Word may be sown.  It is full of thorn bushes.  This is a picture of people who have a desire for God and an interest in what Jesus has to say, but seem to be overwhelmed with the pressures of living in a troubled world.  It is as though their hearts are being asphyxiated.  Choking is not pleasant, but worse, it can be fatal.  As God's Word springs up taking root in our heart, worries can easily put a stranglehold around our relationship with Jesus.  Often, Satan does not have to intervene p

Spiritually Fruitful Lives

Mark 4:8 & 20

It's marvellous when everything works out just right: when the key fits the lock and the answer satisfies the question.  The seed of God's Word is always good and has huge potential, but it needs a receptive heart in which to grow.  In the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20), from which these verses are taken, four different soil-types are presented – representing different ways in which people respond to God's Word.  In the first, the path is hard; in the second, the rocky ground is dry and shallow; in the third, the thorn shrubs overwhelm new seedlings by blocking out the light; and lastly

Understanding Is More Than Hearing

Mark 4:9 & 13

At the end of telling the parable of the Sower Jesus said to the crowds, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear".  It was a way of saying that there is a message hidden in the story and they could find out what it meant.  It was like a riddle.  The meaning could only be uncovered by people who wanted to know.  Many people hear the Scriptures but have no interest at all in finding out how it applies to them.  But those who do are greatly rewarded.  Proverbs 2:1-5 says, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying

Daring to Ask

Mark 4:10-12

These verses come between the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-8) and the explanation of the parable (Mark 4:14-20).  It follows Jesus' invitation to His hearers to search for the parable's meaning (Mark 4:9).  The disciples were intrigued but needed all the help they could get!  They started at the right place - they came to Jesus, away from the crowd, and asked Him what the parables meant.  It is always reassuring to know that you are being taken seriously, and even more so when you find that you are entrusted with an answer that is bigger than you thought.

Light has a Purpose, Words have Meaning

Mark 4:21-23

It is plainly ridiculous to waste the light of an oil lamp by putting it under anything opaque.  That would defeat the object or purpose of having the lamp.  Light has the purpose of shining in the darkness so that people can see themselves in their environment and be able to work safely and productively.  This is another of Jesus’ parables.  The 'light' is the truth about Jesus, 'showing the light' is explaining the gospel, 'hiding the light' is stopping the truth about Jesus being heard, believed and obeyed (Acts 26:17-18).  Reading the Bible's accounts of Jesus' words and ministry enable

Treasure Truth

Mark 4:24-25

Often, the value of what we have is not realised until it is taken away: our health, job, a close relationship.  We assume that they will be with us for the foreseeable future.  So, it should not surprise us that bereavement (of whatever kind) brings the guilt of wasted opportunity.  Redundancy is no holiday, and even prolonged illness makes us want to get back to work.  It would do us no harm to consider the value of our spouse, children, health and home - the very discipline of that appreciation could start to transform our relationships and lifestyle.  But here, Jesus is referring to mat

God's Kingdom Grows at God's Command

Mark 4:26-27

With this parable, Jesus shows the difference between the person who scatters seed and the God who makes the seed grow.  Even when the farmer is asleep the seed can germinate and develop into a seedling.  Sometimes it is good for us to remember that God gives us sleep for good reasons (Psalm 127:2).  Without sleep, we cannot continue to function.  But for many in our busyness, it seems a waste of time.  However, all sorts of things happen in our sleep.  Our bodies are able to recharge their batteries, our physical engine houses slow down to tick over, and our minds have a break from the con

According to God's Plan and Power

Mark 4:28-29

The Mastermind catch phrase "I've started, so I'll finish" is an apt description of the way in which God works through His Word in our lives.

From Unnoticeable to All Embracing

Mark 4:30-32

Jesus selected familiar scenes to describe eternal truth. It should not surprise us that God's creation will remind the observant of their Creator, and that the Creator should use what He has made to illustrate eternal truth: although the crowds did not understand, and the disciples were very slow to grasp the truth (John 3:12).  On this occasion, having just told the parable of the sower, the seed and the soils (Mark 4:1-20), and another about the inherent life of a seed (Mark 4:26-29), Jesus describes the nature and purpose of the seed of the gospel.  It is all about the kingdom of God.

Why Speak in Parables?

Mark 4:33-34

It sometimes seems strange that Jesus did not make His message transparently clear to all the crowds.  But He was not trying to gain a following.  Indeed, the more He taught, He seemed less like a popularist leader who would meet their needs, than a Man on a mission from God – following Him could demand too great a price (John 6:60-66).  But some did keep on following Him: the disciples who were being equipped to be apostles.  Although many ordinary people benefitted from His kindness and powerful miracles, it was the trainee apostles who stored up what Jesus did and said for their job of l

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