Life's Greatest Decision

Spiritual Food: Study Questions

Read the following section from Mark chapter 4 and answer the questions:

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."

1) In Jesus' story what "seed" does the farmer plant?

2) Why do people who are on "rocky ground" turn away from God quickly?

3) What prevents people who are on "thorny ground" from producing fruit?

4) What do people who are on "good ground" produce?

[We suggest you also read chapters 7 through 9 of Mark today. It should only take you between 10 and 15 minutes.]

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