This reading is Mark 4.
Jesus often taught in parables, which are short stories that have settings familiar to the listeners. The parables typically had one major point. Some thought and reflection is required to understand them (I don’t know if I understood any parables the first time I heard them). They often seem to go against the wisdom of the world, but upon further study they reveal great truths about God and his plan.
Jesus wasn’t trying to trick anyone by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He was pointing out that unless you truly desire to know the truth you won’t be able to understand him.
The four soils is one of the many farming illustrations in the Bible. The seed of God’s Word is spread all over, but the results vary:
- Some ignore it completely.
- Some receive it with joy but have no roots, so they fade away.
- Some hear it but let the worries of life choke it out.
- Some hear it and accept it and produce a great crop.
Which kind of soil have you been? Remember, this is a parable. Just because you ignored the Word of God once doesn’t mean you can’t hear it now and let it thrive in good soil.
I understand v. 25 to be saying that if we have faith we will be given more, but if we don’t have faith we’ll lose what we have already.
The message of the mustard seed is probably one or more of the following:
- An image of evangelism (spreading the Word of God)
- A metaphor for spiritual growth in Christians
- The coming of God’s kingdom
The chapter ends with an astounding miracle. Jesus has already been healing many people from serious diseases. Now He shows his power over his creation by calming a storm. Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking after that? Remember that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He lives, and He can help you with the storms in your life today.
Reflect on what stood out to you in this chapter and share your comments if you like.
The next reading is Mark 5.