07: The Gospel of Mark Study on Jesus
07: Mark 4:1-20
This passage focuses on the parable of the sower. As we studied it in a group we chose to focus on how we can actively participate in allowing God’s Word to empower and equip us to fight against becoming unfruitful. Therefore, this week’s outline will look differently than those before.
We still see that Jesus’ person, character and mission are wrapped into this passage, mainly in his role as teacher. We have the opportunity to participate in the work of sanctification that God is doing in our lives. Ultimately it is always God who makes someone grow and produce fruit. However, He allows us to participate in the process. He allows us to obey or disobey. He allows us to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in this growth process. Below we see different places and soils where God’s Word is sown. Instead of thinking of this passage in a passive way, of saying, “Well, that is just where the seed fell.” We need to see it as an opportunity for us to be active in the growth process. We are all going to face the temptations of Satan, trouble and persecution, distractions from the world and its promises. The question is how will we react and deal with these issues that are common to all. The answer is that we need to allow God’s Word to teach us the truth and power of the gospel to fight, to endure, to persevere and to love those around us.
|Initial Parable||Complementary Interpretation by Jesus||Application|
|v4: seed on path devoured by birds||v15: Satan comes and takes away the word||We need to recognize our weaknesses before Satan so that we don’t fall into temptation and so Satan can’t take away the Word. We need to be aware that Satan roams around like a lion ready to devour us, therefore we need to be on our guard and relying on the Holy Spirit to fight temptation.|
|v5: seed on rocky soil that gets scorched and withers||v16-17: receive the Word with joy but it has no root in themselves. They do not endure through tribulation or persecution and fall away||We need nourishment, just like seeds. We have to seek out spiritual nourishment, encouragement. We need to be discipled and we need to encourage and disciple others, helping them when they are facing difficult times, suffering or hardship.|
|v7: seed sown among thorns, choked and produced no grain||v18-19: the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things, choke the Word and make it unfruitful||We have to guard against giving into the world, worldly cares can keep us from being focused on what God desires us to be focused on. Riches are deceitful and we need to be aware that they can consume us and make us unfruitful for the Kingdom of God. We need to keep from getting distracted from the world and what it offers. We need to believe that the promises of God are better than the promises of the world.|
|v8: seed sown in good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding a tremendous amount of fruit||V20: hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, lots of fruit||We need to hear the Word, accept it as the truth of God and allow it to bear fruit in our lives. Fruit comes through the Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ in our hearts and can be seen in personal fruit of things like love, joy, peace, patience, etc. But fruit can also come in the form of leading others into the Kingdom of God through evangelism and discipleship.|