Review of Mark 4

Review of Mark 4

by Victor Fawole


In the first three chapters of Mark, we journeyed through Jesus’ works of miracles and encounters with His critics. In Mark 3, He appointed His disciples. Mark 4 reveals how He separated His disciples from the multitudes, for special attention and learning. There are three major areas I’ll like us to zoom in on, in this review.

Mark 4:2-8 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

In this parable, Jesus identified four different “soils”. The parable is not really about the seed (word of God) or the sower, but the soils (hearts). Let’s consider each heart.

THE WAYSIDE HEART: This heart bears no fruit at all, because the Word is stolen away immediately. People with wayside hearts are not receptive to the word of God; they allow no room for the seed of the word in their lives – it never enters. Satan blocks them from giving serious attention to the Word of God. He veils their hearts (2Cor. 4:4).

THE STONY HEART: Although these people joyfully receive the word of grace, they give it up quickly when it becomes difficult to follow Jesus. They cannot “grow up” because they cannot “grow down”. They are shallow – with no root. They hear the word, but it does not impact them. They may show emotionalism, attend church services, but remain unconverted. Their show of religion or piety is only temporary. When such a person falls away, it is not a loss of salvation. No true believer believes just for a while. We are rooted and built up in Christ.

THE DIVIDED HEART: This heart has thorns that are ready to choke the word of God. The seed of the Word gets in and gets down but there is no reception, no root and no room. Thorns – cares of this world – have taken over to choke the word. Jesus identified three thorns: (1) WORRIES – the cares of this world (2) WEALTH – the deceitfulness of riches (3) WANTS – the lusts of other things. For the poor man, the cares of this world naturally divide him into different directions. For the rich man, the deceitfulness of riches focuses attention on this world and possessions. For all of us, the lusts of other things can never ever be satisfied, as human wants are uncountable and insatiable.

THE GOOD HEART: These are the people who hear and accept God’s word (v. 20 NLT), and the result is evident – they bear fruits! I recommend that you listen to this teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera titled: “Abundant Fruits”

A parable is a story that seeks to drive home a point by illustrating it using a familiar situation of common life. Jesus uses this method in order to prevent some people from understanding His teaching. In other words, He tells these parables, not to hide truths from everyone, but to reveal truths only to His disciples. To the “outsiders”, they remain mysteries, but Jesus gives understanding to His disciples. The outsiders heard the stories, but had no access to His explanations of the deeper truths behind the stories. The hardness of their hearts shut down their receptivity to the truths!

When people choose to ignore God and His word (by continually rejecting the gospel), God “locks them up” in their unbelief. This happened to Pharaoh. You can learn more about this in a teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera titled: “What the Gospel Stays” (Part 7b)

After a long day of teaching his disciples with “so many parables”, Jesus instructed them to cross over the lake to the other side. One would not be wrong to say that Jesus was taking them out for a “practical class”. The storm was probably part of the course requirements for the day. Storms do not only come when you’re disobedient (like Jonah); they can also come when you’re obedient (like the disciples). The difference for us, believers, is that with Jesus in the boat, we can smile in the storm! Trials and difficulties are often the times when God does His greatest work in our lives.

1Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Storms come suddenly, severely, and surprisingly. The most important point here, I believe, is Jesus teaching us (how) to “rest in spite of a storm”. Knowing that we have the Prince of Peace in our favour, we can rest in His peace, knowing that no danger is nearer to us than God’s nearness. God’s promises and presence should keep us at peace. His compassion and character should keep us calm. Our God is behind the scenes, controlling the scenes. We dwell in the safe and secret place of the Most High! He rebukes every wind to sway our fears. He rebukes every wind to grow our faith.

Dear Gogolights, be comforted with the truth that Jesus cares for you and can help in your crisis. Rest assured that Jesus is in complete control of everything. As Jesus keeps you rested and safe, continue to increase in love, appreciation, and thanksgiving to Him.

Repeat after me:
I am God’s beloved!
I bear abundant fruits in Christ!
The word of God profits me greatly!
I gain understanding for my spiritual growth!
I live in the peace of my Lord Christ!
Grace grace to me in Jesus’ name!

Grace to you. Amen.

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