About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 4
verse 1 we see that Jesus went back to the lake, most likely the
should also note that this parable of the sower that planted seed on
different types of ground would have been easy for these people to
understand. The ground that
Jesus spoke of in this parable was just like these people were used to.
People didn’t have huge farms.
They had small gardens separated by paths.
The ground in
used to plant seed by hand so the seed often times spilled out of the
person’s hand into parts of the ground where it was not intended
to fall. Thus the parable is relative to those hearing it.
parable is found from verses 4 through 8.
The farmer sows his seed hoping for a good crop but in the process
some seed falls on the path separating his plot of land from another
person’s plot of land. The
ground is hard and the seed doesn’t get into the ground and the birds
come and eat the seed.
some seeds fall along the side of the path where there is some soil but
not that deep due to the rocky areas of
some seed falls just beyond the rocky soil where there are thorns and
other wild plants. This seed
begins to sprout as well, but the thorns choke the nutrients from the soil
and these plants soon die as well.
most of the seed is sown on the good soil where the farmer intended it to
grow. Here the seeds produced
the crop. Some seeds
multiplied 30 times over, while others multiplied 60 or even 100 times
verse 9 Jesus says that “he who has ears to hear, let him hear”.
Jesus is speaking about two types of hearing hear I believe.
If one has physical ears to hear the words spoken, then let him pay
attention so he can hear with the understanding of the heart and mind.
The parable thus has a meaning to it and these people could
understand the meaning, if they applied themselves to do so.
see in verse 10 that after the crowd had left, and when Jesus was alone
with the Twelve and some other of His followers, they asked Him about the
parable. One thing to notice
is that Jesus had more disciples than the Twelve.
The Twelve were disciples that were chosen by him to be apostles
verse 11 Jesus gives a reason why He speaks in parables.
It was so that those who believed would understand, but those who
were “outside”, meaning unbelievers wouldn’t understand.
This tells us that God does not want unbelievers to understand the
things of the
Jesus spoke plainly for all to hear, yet concerning the
some people verse 12 is hard to understand.
Jesus quotes from Isa. 6:9-10 when He says, “they may be ever
seeing but never perceiving, and ever haring but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven”.
The question is always asked, “why would Jesus not want certain
people to turn and be forgiven”?
seems to be the most common answer to this question.
The people to whom Jesus is referring to here are the Pharisees and
their devoted followers. They
are continually rejecting Jesus and what He is offering them.
It thus appears that after all this rejection God is turning His
back on them and doesn’t even want these people to turn and repent. It
is as if these people have had
ample opportunity to repent but still continue to reject God’s provision
in Jesus. Therefore Jesus
speaks in parables so they can’t understand and can’t come to
repentance. There doesn’t
seem to be any further explanation of this.
thing to note here is that by Jesus quoting this prophecy from Isaiah,
He’s suggesting that this prophecy is now being fulfilled.
If this is true, then this prophecy might well be specifically
concerning the Jewish leadership of the time.
This might help understand the prophecy better.
God’s attitude towards the ongoing rebellion of His people’s
leaders may be different than that of the general public.
verse 13 Jesus seems a little taken back that His followers needed an
explanation to this parable. Some
don’t see the structure of this sentence as demonstrating surprise on
the part of Jesus. Why would
Jesus be surprised if He knows the hearts and minds of men?
These people merely say that Jesus is repeating what His followers
told Him in that they did not understand the parable.
the other hand, if Jesus did show some surprise it might be because of His
human nature. I can’t say
for sure, but if Jesus was fully God and fully human, then His humanness
may have acted surprised. It
might well be that at times Jesus had struggles between His humanity and
verse 15 Jesus says that the seed represents people. In
the first case when the seed was dropped
along the path it is like people who received the word.
Because of the hard packed down soil on the path, no seed can take
root. This type of person
hears the Word of God but satan takes it away before it even can have any
effect. These people do not
get saved, because satan takes the Word away from them.
They merely hear the word. So
here we see the battle in sharing the gospel.
At times when the gospel is proclaimed some people can’t receive
it and get saved because satan has intercepted the gospel message before
it reaches their hearts. This
should tell us something about satan’s activity. I
don’t believe that this is the end of the matter for this type of
person. It may well be that
they have another chance at receiving the word at another time where it
will take root.
verses 16 and 17 we see the Word or the seed that falls in rocky soil.
This seed or Word is actually received into the lives of the
hearer. My opinion is that
these people do get saved, but when trouble and persecution comes, they
can’t take the pressure and they give up.
If these people are truly saved, then at this point they get
unsaved, although those believing in once saved always saved can’t
accept this point.
reason why these people fall away is because their root system is not
developed. This shows us the
importance of being rooted in the things of the Lord and being rooted has
a lot to do with understanding the truths of God found in Scripture and
being fitted into the Body of Christ.
verses 18 and 19 we see the Word that is sown among the thorns.
This Word also produces a plant and gets farther along than the
seed planted in rocky soil. But
as the thorns take the nutrients out of the soil, so the cares of life and
the desire to want more of the world choke God’s Word.
This person falls away as well.
This tells us that we need to put the things of this world in
proper perspective once we become a Christian.
the last part of the parable is the Word falling on good ground.
This is people who hear the Word, receive it, and allow it to
produce fruit. They allow the
Word of God to grow like a good plant should, but not just to grow but to
produce fruit. This is why the
gospel message is sown into our lives.
That is, it should produce good fruit.
should note that not everyone produces the same quantity of fruit.
Some yield 30 fold, while others yield 60 or 100 fold.
This tells us that not everyone should be expected to produce 100
percent. The quantity of fruit
produced may well depended on the call of God on a life. The important
thing is to produce fruit. How
much fruit and the type of fruit we produce is up to the Lord.
see a 4 step progression in
this parable. From the Word
not even reaching the person, to the Word being received without root, to
the Word being received and rooted but choked, and finally to the Word
producing fruit as it should. At
any given time we all fall into one of these situations.
We may not stay in this situation.
At one point in our lives we may be like the seed falling on the
path while at some other point in our lives we’re like the seed falling
on good soil. This puts an
important emphasis on the one preaching the Word.
We should understand the struggle even before we preach.
We should realize that we’ll have different results with
different people and that not all we preach to will stay with the Lord.
Part of our job is to pray for those we are sowing the Word with.
verse 21 Jesus continues to speak to those he has been talking too. He
asks, “do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or under a bed”?
There’s only one answer to this question and that is why Jesus
asks it. Of course Jesus isn’t speaking of an electric light here that
could be put under a bowl or a bed. He’s speaking of an open flame of
fire. There’s no way you’d
put that under any kind of bed without causing a fire.
And you wouldn’t put it under a bowl or else the flame would go
out. The answer is clear. You
put the open flame of fire on a lamp stand in order to light the room.
verse 22 may seem a little tricky to understand.
Jesus says that no one hides anything to conceal it.
They hide it so at some point it will be revealed for all to see.
At first glance this makes no sense.
If we hide something it is normally so others won’t see it. We
don’t hide or conceal something and hope someone will find it and show
it to everyone else.
suggest that when man hides something it is indeed for the purposes of
having the thing concealed from others.
But this is not so with God. He
does not go around hiding things. He
may conceal certain things from certain people at certain times, but in
most cases there comes a time for that which is hidden to be revealed.
Prophecy is one example.
when man hides something, many times it is because it is evil.
God will disclose that which man has hidden away.
If someone commits a sin and tries to hide it, if it’s not found
out in this life time, it will be revealed at the end of the age when the
books are open and mankind is judged.
the light that comes from God will expose all the secret sins of man.
We will either be exposed by choice now as we give our lives to
Jesus, or we will be exposed at the end of the age on the Day of Judgment.
is actually better for us to give our lives to Jesus now and have God’s
light come into our lives. Because
as it lights our lives the sin is forgiven and forgotten and isn’t
really seen by others. If we
sin after we come to Jesus that very light will point out the sin so we
can deal with it.
verses 25 and 26 Jesus says, “ with the measure you use it will be
measured to you - and even
more. Whoever has will be
given more, whoever has not, even that which he has will be taken
idea of measuring here is also used by Jesus in other context.
For example in Matt. 7 Jesus uses it concerning forgiveness.
The way we measure out forgiveness is how others will measure it
out in return.
have thought that Jesus is talking about money or material things here,
but that isn’t really the context, although the principle would apply to
material things as well. The
principle is this. However we
deal with others will be the way others deal with us. That’s not hard to
understand. If we are nice to
others, they’ll be nice to
us. If we are nasty to others,
there’s a good chance they’ll be nasty in return.
does not want us to deal with others differently than we’d have them
deal with us. There
shouldn’t be a double standard. We
shouldn’t think that we are special and therefore get special treatment,
even from God Himself. God is
just and He deals justly and so should we.
you might wonder about the last part of this verse concerning that which
one has will be taken from him. That might not sound all that just. The
point here is that in our dealings with others we should measure out, or
give in the same way that we’d like to have them give to us in return.
If we are stingy with whatever we give, whether it be money or
forgiveness, then God will deal justly with us.
He might well take away that which we have because we aren’t
generous with what we have.
best way to receive anything from our Lord is to give to others.
As we give Jesus will bless us in whatever way He sees fit.
verse 26 Jesus says that “this is what the
says that the
refers to Himself in the gospel of John as the seed that is planted.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was planted.
When He rose from the dead and returned to Heaven and poured out
the Holy Spirit into the first believers, the Kingdom came to earth in its
infant stages, as a new plant sprouts through the ground . The Kingdom
throughout this age is a spiritual kingdom and those who belong to Jesus
are subjects of the Kingdom. But
there will come a time in the future when the
parable in this section is short and simple.
Jesus speaks of a mustard seed that is planted into a garden.
The mustard seed is very small but grows into a very large plant.
clear that the mustard seed is Jesus.
Jesus came to earth as a little baby and grew up as a normal boy.
There wasn’t anything really
outstanding about Jesus in the flesh.
Yet on the cross He was planted into the garden and once again,
upon His ascension into Heaven and the giving of the Spirit to the
verses 33 and 34 Mark says that Jesus always spoke in parables as He
taught the crowds, but when He was alone with His disciples, He explained
to them what these parables meant. So is the way with Jesus.
Those who are His, He reveals to them the secrets of the Kingdom,
but those without cannot understand these truths because they do not have
the Holy Spirit. It is the
Lord’s will for us to understand, and leave outsiders in the dark when
it comes to spiritual truth.
section is the account of Jesus calming the storm on the sea.
In verse 35 we learn that Jesus wanted to cross the lake, which
would have been the sea of Galilee. It
was evening, the evening of the same day in which Jesus taught the crowd
and then explained the parables privately to His disciples.
on the lake a storm came up. The
boat began to fill up with water and the disciples in the boat were afraid
that they would drown. All
along Jesus was sleeping in the boat on a cushion.
The disciples woke Jesus and asked Him, “don’t you care if we
is clear that Jesus did not have the same concern as His followers had.
He sat up and rebuked the storm and immediately things were calm.
The disciples were both terrified and amazed.
The man they’d been following had actually turned the storm away.
response to the disciple’s fear Jesus asks them, ”why are you afraid?
Do you still have no faith”?
simplest definition of the word “faith” is “to trust”, and in this
context the trust would be in Jesus. Jesus
might well have known this storm was about to come while on the sea.
This might have been a test of trust for His disciples. We don’t know
this for sure, but it became a test anyway.
was saying that His followers should trust Him no matter what the
situation is. Fear and faith
are opposites, but what Jesus wants of us who follow Him is for us to grow
in faith, grow in trust, and by so doing fear fades away.
Growing in this faith is a life long venture and doesn’t happen
over night. It sure didn’t
happen over night with Peter, James, and the rest of the people who
followed Jesus. We are to
trust, even if this trust is on the doorstep of death, as
it was in this case.