Mark 4:26–34 (ESV)
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (ESV)
- What I think Mark is saying in 4:26-34 THEN: These two parables work together to illustrate the hidden beginning and inconspicuous nature of The Kingdom of God along with assured confidence that one can have in it it’s exponential growth.
- What I think Mark is saying 4:26-34 NOW: The Kingdom of God is quietly, inconspicuously, yet powerfully growing even today. The greatness of The Kingdom of God is not found in the triumphant, flashy certainty of proud and arrogant religion but in the unexpected humility of a suffering servant on a cross… tossed into the ground dead…rising from the soil with power and life!
- How I think what Mark is saying in 4:26-34 applies to our lives today:
• What does this point mean for the non Christian today? Ignore the loud and arrogant voice of the exploitation and marketing of “the kingdom of god” with all its bells and whistles it is lifeless and has nothing to offer. Instead draw close to the words of Jesus and hear them. Let them take root in you.
• What does it mean for us as citizens, as employees, and so forth today? Live with the confidence that the power of The Kingdom of God is in the story of Jesus. His story in you is all you need. Speak!
• What does it teach us about Christ today? Jesus was humble and unassuming. The greatness of The Kingdom of God was wrapped in his person and work… his suffering and serving.
• What does it mean for us as individual Christians today? Don’t look for the kingdom of God in the things most certain. Look for it and find it in the most unexpected places.
• What does it mean for our church as a whole today? There are mountains on the ocean floor… ready to break the surface of the water… revealing more life below than expected… What are we looking for?
Daily Reading for this week…
- Monday reading: Hudson Taylor, in a letter to his parents about his missionary work in China said… “I look upon foreign missionaries as the scaffolding around a rising building. The sooner it can be dispensed with, the better; or rather, the sooner it can be transferred to other places, to serve the same temporary use, the better.” Q: Hudson saw this as a way illustrate foreign missionaries. How would you illustrate your work as a local missionary in our town?
- Tuesday reading: Q: In Mark 4:30-32 Is Jesus simply comparing the mustard seed to The Kingdom of God or what happens to a mustard seed to The Kingdom of God? Q: Why do you think it is important to see the difference?
- Wednesday reading: David Garland writes concerning Mark chapter 4 “Elijah must come first (John the Baptist); the Son of Man must suffer, the gospel must be preached to all nations, the disciples must face suffering, judgment will fall upon Jerusalem. Then we await our Lord’s coming, who comes in God’s time.” Q: How are you preparing for the lord’s coming? Q: What where some of the trademarks of Israel during the time of Christ that showed their spiritual deafness and blindness? Q: Am I capable of becoming spiritually deaf and blind today? Q: Am I capable of reading about Jesus, watching Jesus, memorize Jesus and even listening to Him without actually hearing or seeing him like Israel?
- Thursday reading : Galatians 5:16–26 Take some time to read this verse. Q: What do you hear? What is the Spirit saying to your heart concerning this passage? Q: How are you growing? Take some time to pray.
- Friday reading: This Sunday we will be going through Mark 4:35-41.
- Q:WHAT DO YOU THINK MARK IS SAYING IN 4:35-41. THEN:
- Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK MARK IS SAYING 4:35-41. NOW (TODAY):
- Q: HOW DO YOU THINK WHAT MARK IS SAYING APPLIES TO OUR LIVES TODAY:
- Q:WHAT DO YOU THINK MARK IS SAYING IN 4:35-41. THEN:
- Saturday reading: Q: In your opinion does Mark 4:35-41 (This coming Sunday’s passage) counter one or more of these false contemporary worldviews?
• Individualism — the false story that “I” am the center of the universe
• Consumerism — the false story that I am what I own
• Nationalism — the false story that my nation is God’s nation
• Moral relativism — the false story that we can’t know what is universally good
• Scientific Naturalism — the false story that all that matters is matter
• New Age — the false story that we are gods
• Postmodern tribalism — the false story that all that matters is what my small group thinks
• Salvation by therapy — the false story that I can come to my full human potential through inner exploration
• Moralism— the false belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior
• Traditionalism — Adherence to tradition, especially in cultural or religious practice. Or a system holding that all knowledge is derived from original divine revelation and is transmitted by tradition.
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