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Again Jesus began to teach. This is the first time recorded that he taught in parables. See notes on this parable in Matthew 13:1-23. Matthew tells other parables that Jesus used on this day.
Yet not see. Matthew gives more detail. See notes on Matthew 13:13-15.
And put it under a bowl? Jewish lamps were a cup filled with oil, with a wick floating in it. The very purpose of a lamp would make it foolish to cover it with a bowl or hide it under the bed. The same thing is true of Truth. [Jesus probably taught these same things many times.]
Pay attention to what you hear! Luke says: “Be careful, then, how you listen.” (Luke 8:18). We should listen and pay attention when the Lord speaks.
The Kingdom of God is like. Only Mark gives this parable. But the same lesson is taught by Isaiah 55:10-11; James 5:7-8; 1 Peter 1:23-25. Results do not come instantly either in nature or in spiritual things. We are to “plant the seed,” and “water it,” but it is God who makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). Scatters seed. The seed is the Word of God.
He sleeps at night. He continues his regular activities, and all the while, the seeds are sprouting and growing. [He plants, but he cannot make it grow.]
First the tender stalk appears. Growth is a gradual process. Things both good and bad develop over a period of time. This parable is about the spreading of Christ’s Kingdom. The Truth, planted, grows in good soil, comes to maturity, and is harvested. We can see growth in the results, even though we may not know the how.
When the grain is ripe. Not until then does harvest begin. When faith is ripe [produces repentance, baptism] the believer is gathered into Christ’s church (See Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13.)
It is like a mustard seed. See notes on Matthew 13:31-32.
He would explain everything to them. Compare notes on Matthew 13:36-43.
On the evening of that same day. The day when he taught these parables. To the other side of the lake. Across Lake Galilee.
A very strong wind blew up. See notes on Matthew 8:23-27. Lake Galilee is 600 feet below sea level, and has a tropical climate. Just to the north are the mountains of Lebanon, and the “updraft” from the heated lake brings cold air from these mountains, creating severe storms.
But they were terribly afraid. These are experienced sailors, who know something of the power of the storm. Who and what is this man who can control the forces of nature and silence them with a word! They have not yet learned that Jesus is the Lord and the Creator of nature (Colossians 1:16).
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18