Life's Greatest Decision

The Gospel of Mark

Chapter 4

Jesus Explains Why He Uses Stories

Jesus began to teach near the sea again, and the crowd of people that came was very large, so He went into a boat and sat in it on the sea. All the crowd was on the land near the sea. He taught them many things in stories.

He said to them in His teaching, "Listen, a farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seeds fell at the side of the road when he planted them, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on ground that had many rocks and not much dirt. The plants came up immediately because the dirt was not deep. But the sun burned the plants when it came up and they died, because they did not have any roots. Other seeds fell where there were many thorns. The thorns grew up and did not give the seeds enough space to grow, so they did not produce any grain. Other seeds fell on good ground, and they grew up and became large, and they produced 30, 60, and 100 times as much grain." Jesus said, "You should listen if you have ears to hear with."

The Twelve and the other people following Him who were near Jesus asked Him about the stories, when He was alone.

He said to them, "The secret of God's kingdom is given to you. But everything is said in stories to the people who are outside the kingdom, so they will continue to look but won't see the truth, and they will continue to hear but won't understand. They would turn to God and be forgiven if they did."

Jesus Explains about the Farmer

He said to them, "Don't you understand this story? How will you understand any of the stories then? The farmer plants God's message, and some people are beside the road where God's message is planted. Satan comes immediately after they hear it, and takes away the message that was planted in them. In the same way, some people are the rocky ground where the seeds were planted. These people receive God's message immediately with joy when they hear it, but they do not have any roots inside themselves, and they are strong only for a short time. They turn away from God immediately when they are tested or have problems because of the message. Other people are the ones where the seeds were planted among the thorns. These people hear the good news, but other things come in. They worry about life, or riches deceive them, or they want other things. This does not give God's message enough space to grow and the message cannot produce fruit. Other people are the ones where the seeds were planted on good ground. They hear God's message and accept it, and produce 30, 60, and 100 times more fruit."

Jesus Teaches People to Use What They Have

Jesus said to them, "Does a person bring a lamp so he can put it under a basket or a bed? Doesn't he put it on a lampstand? Everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be brought into the light. You should listen if you have ears to hear with." He said to them, "Think carefully about what you hear. The amount that you give will be the amount you receive, and even more will be given to you. The person who has much will be given more. The person who doesn't have much, even what he has will be taken away from him."

Jesus Uses a Story about Seeds that Grow

Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is like a man who plants seeds in the ground. He sleeps and gets up every night and every day, and the seeds come up and the plants grow, though he does not understand how they grow. The ground produces grain by itself. It produces the plant first, then the head, then all the grain in the head. But, the man cuts the grain from the plant immediately when it is ready, because it is time for the harvest."

Jesus said, "What will we say the kingdom of God is like? What story will we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed. It is planted in the ground and is smaller than all the other seeds in the ground. But it grows up, and it becomes larger than all the garden plants. The branches grow very large, and the birds from the sky can live in its shade."

Jesus spoke His message to them in stories like these. He told them as much as they were able to understand. He did not say anything to them without using a story, but He explained everything to His followers when He was alone with them.

Jesus Calms a Storm

It was evening on that day and Jesus said to His followers, "Let's go over to the other side." They went away from the crowd of people, and took Jesus with them in the boat. Other boats were also with Him. A very strong storm with much wind came, and the waves came into the boat, and the boat was filled with water. Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat on a cushion. They woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, don't You care if we die?"

He got up and ordered the wind to stop, and said to the waves of the sea, "Be quiet and stop!" The wind stopped and everything was completely calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still not have any faith?"

They were full of fear and they said to each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

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