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MARK CHAPTER FOUR
Mark 4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea-side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
I truly enjoy this first verse and the images that well up in my mind. Many years ago we attended a small Bible church that had no baptistery. Some wanted to follow the Lord in Baptism so the pastor planned a picnic/evening Bible study/baptism for Sloan’s lake in Denver, CO. Picnic finished, we all settled along the shore and the pastor brought a short Bible study while standing at the lake’s edge.
Christ, the pastor was not, but the situation is so similar that it always comes to mind when I think of the Lord teaching by the shore. The peacefulness, the openness to the message, the calm of the entire situation touches my very hurried soul.
Some suggest that the multitude could easily be translated "immense multitude" indicating a very large group of folks pressing to hear the message of the Lord.
"Parable" is often defined as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It is just an illustration of the point one is attempting to make. Christ wants to make a point with the multitude, so uses a story to assist their understanding. We find later that Christ also used parables so that His detractors would not understand His teaching. Webster in one of his older dictionaries defined parable as "A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature from which a moral is drawn for instruction;" Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Life Application Bible New Testament Commentary tells us "These stories used familiar scenes to explain spiritual truths. A parable compares something familiar to something unfamiliar. It compels listeners to discover truth, while at the same time conceals the truth from those too lazy or too stubborn to see it."
"Doctrine" just means teaching or more to the point probably the content of what He was teaching. When I open my mouth many would say I am boring, but I am still putting out content or doctrine no matter the effect upon the listener.
We might take a look at how we should deal with parables before we attempt to dig into the first one that Mark gives to us.
a. They are stories, not factual events, though they might have some natural event as their basis. In the following parable there is a sower sowing seed. This is the factual basis, though the sower’s name was not Stanley Derickson, nor do we know what his name was because he is the fictional character of the parable or story.
b. As Webster indicates in his definition, there is normally just one moral or point to the story. Do not get tied up in knots about the details that might be given to make the story understandableand appealing to the listener.
An example of a parable might be the farmer, I have mentioned many times, that went to his neighbor to borrow a rope. The neighbor asked the farmer what he wanted to use the rope for. The farmer replied "I want to tie up my milk." The neighbor questioned the farmer because you cannot tie up milk. The farmer replied "I know, but one excuse is as good as another."
Now there is a lot of detail in the story, but one truth - an excuse is an excuse. There may be little truth or value in the excuse. Now, we don’t know if this milk was pasteurized homogenized or organic, and we do not know what type of rope the farmer wanted to borrow whether it was hemp, nylon, or cotton and we do not know how long the rope was nor its diameter. Now if the rope was twenty feet long it might indicate that the milk to be tied up was about 400 gallons, but if only ten feet long it would be about 200 gallons of milk. The type of rope is important in that the hemp rope would probably soak up too much milk so we can assume the farmer wanted the nylon type of rope ..... well I think you get the idea. Don’t get stuck on the detail of the parable or you will totally miss the point of it.
Scroggie observes "Care should be taken in studying the parables to distinguish between interpretation and application. All of the Bible is for us, but it is not all about us. Interpretation is limited by the original intent of the parable, and this intent is determined by occasion and circumstance; but application is not limited, for the way in which it can help us is its meaning for us. Interpretation is dispensational and prophetic. Application is moral and practical" A GUIDE TO THE GOSPELS; W. Graham Scroggie, D.D.; Fleming H. Revell Co.; Old Tappen, NJ.
He goes on to observe that when there is more than one parable to be sure to compare the parables and see how the Lord used them together, not as separate entities. He also notes that the miracles were instructive as well as the parables. The miracles are instructive in the context of how and when they were done and who the main audience was.
The usual methods of interpretation must also apply such as the context, the culture, and the meaning of the speaker.
1. The Lord taught with parables so that the lost might not understand, but so that the apostles and other followers WOULD understand. Preaching is something that is to be understood by the believers present. Christ was not out to make converts of the Jewish leaders and those that had rejected Him, but was there to educate and train His followers to do His work.
How many churches across the nation have pastors that preach salvation messages in the morning service in case some lost folks wondered in off the street? Many I fear and these men are wasting the saint’s time. The saints are to be edified in the services, not bored to counting ceiling tiles or wondering about why the person in front of them is loosing his/her hair. The lost are not to be in the worship services committed to God. If there are lost there, then they will be edified by the Spirit who must draw them, not the preacher.
We had been trying a new church years ago and only attending on Sunday mornings to see if we were interested in trying it further. The last Sunday we were there the pastor followed us to the car in the parking lot trying to explain why we needed to come to the evening services to be taught. He explained that the morning services were for the lost to be saved. I am not sure just why he assumed that we were believers and not lost but he made it clear that he preached to two peoples rather than to his sheep all the time.
2. Anderson says of verse 25, "Verse 25 gives a real warning to the Christians that are not sharing the Word of God that they have received with others. When we learn the Word of God and then teach what we have learned to others, then God gives us a greater understanding of the Word. However, if we fail to teach others, then we lose the understanding that we once had of the Word of God."
The verse mentions, "For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." I trust that you will consider seriously the validity of the man’s statement.
The Net Bible states, "The measure you use will be the measure you receive," indicating that as we give forth what we know so we will receive more.
Some suggest that if you do not give out with what you know, that what you know will be taken from you. I believe that this can be seen in some of our church people these days. Some are able to only take milk from the preacher because they give forth with so little to those around them on a daily basis.
3. When interpreting parables it has been observed that only one principle is involved, but do not be mistaken there are many parallels to life contained therein. The description of the growth of the seed in the parable is much like the growth of the spiritual seed of the gospel and how the new believer matures over time. (Verse 28 "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.")
Do not miss either, the parallel between man not knowing just how the seed produces its fruit. No matter how well studied we cannot know just how the gospel message is transformed intonewness of life in the lost perverted sinner.
There is much sermon making material within the parables but just be sure that the people know that the parable is not teaching all your application, but that the application is coming from observation and hopefully other texts from the Word. I suspect much sermonizing without this clarity of thought has brought about the confusion that has been observed about the teaching of the parables.
I recall one Bible study that we were in years ago where a parable was read and the discussion began. There were multitudes of possible interpretations presented, but none considered the context of the parable. All possibilities were based on just the parable alone.
As the study came to a close the "leader" of the study observed, "Well, there are a lot of possible meanings that have been presented and I am sure one of them is the correct one but I am not sure which." Now was not that a profitable Bible study for all concerned? NOT!
His observation was correct in that one of the interpretations set forth was correct, because it was based on the context of the passage and what Christ was teaching at the time.
Appalled was the word that came to mind when I left that study where such confusion was passed off as a Bible study. I trust that all will struggle with the text heartily before attempting to interpret each individual parable so that a proper interpretation can be made rather than a consensus of opinions based on little more than the parable itself.
4. Barnes comments on a common teaching that is really in the area of suspect. Some teach that when a person is of full maturity as a believer they are automatically taken home. They further teach that this life is just preparation for eternal life.
Barnes states "Immediately he putteth in the sickle. This is the way with the husbandman. As soon as the grain is ripe, it is cut down. So it is often with the Christian. As soon as he is prepared for heaven, he is taken there. But we are not to press this part of the parable, as if it meant that all are removed as soon as they are fit for heaven." He correctly observes that to apply this interpretation is not proper.
If the teaching be true, then any believer that has spent many years on earth must be considered to be unspiritual and not growing to maturity which is blatantly a false assumption. Further consider the idea that we can become fit for heaven. Can fallen man, even one that has been redeemed, by his own learning gain the "right" to enter into heaven? Oh how evil some of our teachings are if we only take them to their logical end. It is only the work of the Lord on the cross that fits us for heaven, nothing we do can ever assist in that final trip.
5. Constable quotes Wiersbe about parables. "A parable begins innocently as a picture that arrests our attention and arouses our interest. But as we study the picture, it becomes a mirror in which we suddenly see ourselves. If we continue to look by faith, the mirror becomes a window through which we see God and His truth. How we respond to that truth will determine whatfurther truth God will teach us."
Now that sounds quite spiritual in nature, but "Is it true?" might be the readers question to ponder. In these parables relating to the kingdom it is not a proper view. The parables are quite clear and to the point that the parable is speaking to what the Word can do for man in the realm of entering the kingdom and they relate directly to the kingdom purpose. Do they twist deeply into the soul to change spiritual life? Not hardly unless one is lost and they bring about change but Christ used them to keep the lost from understanding so that is not going to happen either.
Consider your words before you set them to paper or tongue lest you mislead others that read or hear. I charge not Wiersbe for I have no idea of the context in which this paragraph resides and that may color what he had to say completely.
Again, in the same vain Constable states "Probably Jesus taught this parable many times during His ministry as an itinerant preacher, and the disciples were familiar with it." There is no explanation as to what he based this statement on. There is no indication that jumps out at the reader of the Gospels that says or even indicates that Christ repeated any of his teaching. He may have, but we have no real reason to believe that He did. Since He is the creator of man and there is no end of variation of face and personality in His creatures, one is hard pressed to believe that He could not develop new and different teachings for each new and different teaching situation.
He further submits "4:10 Mark alone noted that those who asked Jesus to explain the parables included the Twelve plus other disciples (v. 10). Evidently their question concerned why Jesus was using parables to teach as well as what they meant. He could have been clearer."
Hummmmmmm it is the Holy Spirit that is guiding the inspired word of God as it is set down by Mark, yet the Spirit is unable to be clear enough for the man? Not sure I would want to make such a statement. Oft times the Word is spoken of as if the Spirit had nothing to do with its existence.
6. I will commend Constable on the way he explains how the parables effect the different type of listeners as he discusses revelation. "God uses it to enlighten the receptive, but He also uses it to befuddle the unreceptive."
This is great information to know for those that witness to others of the saving work of Christ. Some will just accept it as what it is - truth, while others will reject it out of hand as foolishness and argue to the death the lack of truth that revelation contains.
I recall when a pastor shared the simple gospel with me, it just fit, it filled in the holes in my mind about spiritual things. I thought to myself, this is the information I have been waiting for. This is just what I need to do to be right with God. Before that I understood little of what I had been taught for so many years. It was just so much information that made little sense. God chooses the time of our conversion and until then we are no different than the Jewish leadership in relation to revelation - we are "befuddled." 7. Another quote to ponder: Constable quotes Plummer "The judgment is a merciful one. The parable which the cold-hearted multitudes hear without understanding they remember, because of its penetrating and impressive form; and when their hearts become able to receive its meaning the meaning will become clear to them. Meanwhile they are saved from the guilt of rejecting plain truth." Alfred Plummer, "The Gospel According to St. Mark," in The Cambridge Greek Testament, p. 124.
First of all the Lord said that the parables were so they would hear and not understand, thus his premise seems incorrect. As to whether it is a merciful one, again the premise is that they will one day understand, but this is not correct. Thus we have one that is lost hearing but not understanding but feeling good about his ignorance. How is that merciful? To go to the grave feeling good about rejecting Christ cannot be good. Yes, they do not live a life of guilt over rejecting, but that is usually called hardening of their heart not mercy and is not presented in Scripture as a plus in this life.
8. Constable quotes Cranfield "The blindness of men is so universal that even the disciples are not exempt from it." in the context of the disciples not understanding the parable. The lost went away blinded to the truth of the parable, but the disciples just did not understand. They stayed to ask of the Lord and His teaching while the others left not wanting to know what the Lord had taught. That is quite a large and distinct difference in my mind.
9. Constable understands the parable to mean that the hearer controls what type of soil the seed lands on. He is open to the word or he is partly closed to the word or he is completely closed to the word. I am not sure that the text indicates this in any way.
He quotes Moule to support his thought. "Words may be sound and lively enough, but it is up to each hearer to let them sink in and become fruitful. If he only hears without responding-without doing something about it and committing himself to their meaning-then the words are in danger of being lost, or of never coming to anything. The whole story thus becomes a parable about the learner’s responsibility, and about the importance of learning with one’s whole will and obedience, and not merely with one’s head."
This seems to be some of that over interpretation that has been warned of in the preceding thoughts. The ground is inanimate while a person is alive and thinking. That is quite a difference. Do not take your interpretation too far.
10. There are several groups of people illustrated by the different types of ground. There is some discussion as to which are saved and which are lost. This seems to be the best deduction to me.
The Parable: 4 "...some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up."The Explanation: 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
This group would seem obviously to be lost in that they never made any attempt to respond to nature’s laws. The seed was taken away immediately so there was no opportunity to be anything but bird feed.
b. STONY GROUND
The Parable: 5 "And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away."
The Explanation: 16 "And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended."
The seed that seems to germinate and grow but have no root to feed and water, thus they are short-lived. Some may feel these folks are saved, but it seems to me that they are lost and only professors. They have accepted the message on the surface, but deep down have no real understanding or footing. When problems arise there is no reason to stand against them and they are turned away.
We should probably realize that the parable speaks of the seed as being the Word, not people. The Word when sown gives forth with a number of results. In the first the Word is not even heard, the second the Word is heard but probably without understanding. Thus we are not really talking about people, but of the seed and its result.
The Parable: 7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit."
The Explanation: 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Again, the Word seems to sprout but is soon choked out or made to be so puny that there is no fruit. Again, the result would be in no person being saved. Though the person is involved the results are to be seen as the seed rather than the seeds fruit. The person hears but does not respond to the Word because their interest is in the world and its riches.
d. GOOD GROUNDThe Parable: 8 "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."
The Explanation: 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word and receive [it], and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Now we see the result of saved people, but again the emphasis is on the seed and its fruit not the people’s fruit. Some seed yields large and other yields less, but all yields fruit. By application we can relate this to the people.
11. It may occur to some after much study that Christ’s use of the different types of ground was probably a parable that was conceived on the fly so to speak. It most likely was not brought to His mind because he saw a sower out sowing seed in different types of soil. It would be hard to imagine a poor farmer out sowing and being so careless as to sow seed among rocks and thistles when he was standing near good ground. You don’t see farmers in the mid-west running their tractors/seeders out through the weeds between the prepared field and the highway, then running up on the highway to seed it then back through the weeds and into the fertile field. No, they keep their precious and expensive seed for the fertile ground.
It is rather to be expected that the Lord looked out upon His audience and knew their attitudes and positions in life and made the comparison. So the teacher and pastor of our day should know their congregation and know how the Word will apply to each one. It is also incumbent on the congregant to be in attendance so that they can receive the message that was prepared for them.
It is such a frustration to prepare a message or lesson to meet the known needs of the group and when you rise to present what the Lord has put on your heart half the people are missing.
Christ met the people on their level and met their needs. Pastors today often are meeting needs of what they feel their people need when they do not know their people. Often the morning message is geared for the lost instead of the church, the evening message is meant for the believer but many of them are not there.
Others know their people and minister to them on a level that is not appropriate because they are limited in their own depth or are not interested in digging deep enough to feed everyone under their charge.
We attended a church where there were three retired pastors and their wives, and a widowed pastor’s wife yet the messages were so basic that most new believers would have been bored to sleep or counting tiles on the ceiling. The pastor either had no idea where his people were or did not care. The messages were rather like reading a passage and commenting off the top of the head about what was just read.
12. Maclaren observes that there is a definite article in front of lamp, bushel, bed and lampstand indicating that these were the only objects of their kind in the home. A very humble home might be the idea. More to the spiritual point might be that this is the ONLY light that is available. However there does not seem to be that emphasis. Christ is speaking generally, not specifically of a house He is familiar with. I found no indication that this should be a point of emphasis.
To apply the point of not hiding our light to our own day, there is only one light and it certainly must shine forth to the lost or they will not have opportunity. Oh yes, I can hear the clicking of the logical minds of all Calvinists as they chew up and spit out what has been said as Armenian bunk. However it is the Lord’s illustration not mine. Even if Maclaren is incorrect the truth is still there - one light of our God and it must shine forth or the lost will not hear.
As I sit at coffee in the fast food joints of our city I see so many trekking their way to where ever they go and so many look so sad - sad enough to have just lost their best friend. Our society is crammed with people who have no purpose, that have no reason to live, and that have no real desire to continue, yet they muddle along - why? Maybe it is their desire to know their creator, to know their potential as spiritual beings, and maybe to know the reality of what they see revealed in creation.
13. We usually dwell on the not hiding of the light or the diminishing of the light but we ought also dwell on the clarity of the light in a darkroom, the brightness of the light in a darkroom and the revealing nature of that light in a darkroom. This is the light that shines as a spotlight into the darkest recesses of a lost person. It is that which reveals just what that person really is - lost and without hope. Hide the light and that person will not know the darkness within. Hide the light and that person will not know what could be.
This light is the one pure and perfect light that God has revealed to us in our own lives, and has given us to share with others in their lives. There is another danger. Do not concentrate on the beauty of the light in your own life, and forget to allow others to see the light. Someone suggested that we often get caught up in the stained glass and its beauty but forget to enjoy the light that it allows to shine upon us. In other words do not get stuck in testimony mode - telling others of what the light did for you, but to tell them how it can do something for them.
While on the subject of light we might point out that the Word is not only a light unto the world but it is a light unto ourselves. It sheds forth into the dark corners of our own lives to reveal the sin and problems that reside there. If we are hiding the light under the bed it will give forth no light into our own lives and thus we will become as the lost as to this life.
It is within this context that MacLaren delcares in a better color than I "So, then, that being so He being our light, just because He fits our needs, answers our desires, satisfies our cravings, fills the clefts of our hearts, and brings the response to all the questions of our understandings - that being the case, if the lamp is lit and blazing on the lampstand, and you and I have eyes to behold it, let us take heed that we cultivate the single eye which apprehends Christ. Concentration of purpose simplicity and sincerity of aim, a heart centered upon Him, a mind drawn to contemplate unfalteringly and without distraction of crosslights His beauty, His supremacy, His completeness and a soul utterly devoted to Him - these are the conditions to which that light will ever manifest itself, and illumine the whole man."He continues his discussion with the other side of this idea. "But if we come with divided hearts with distracted aims, giving Him fragments of ourselves, and seeking Him by spasms and at intervals, and having a dozen other deities in our Pantheon, beside the calm form of the Christ of Nazareth, what wonder is there that we see in Him ’no beauty that we should desire Him’? ’Unite my heart to fear Thy name.’ Oh! if that were our prayer, and if the effort to secure its answer were honestly the effort of our lives, all His loveliness, His sweetness, His adaptation to our whole being, would manifest themselves to us. The eye must be ’single,’ directed to Him, if the heart is to rejoice in His light."
Indeed is not the light of the world dependent on the light that is within us. If we aren’t brilliant ourselves, we cannot shine forth to enlighten others.
14. "And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:" I won’t make comment on the varied ideas of what "pillow" might mean. One suggests it was the seat in the back of the boat one said that it was padded and covered in leather, one suggested that He was laying in the bottom of the boat with his head on this seat. The point to me might run along the lines of the extreme exhaustion of the Lord as He took this brief break from ministry.
A couple of points come to the surface. One that the Lord was tired, that He slept and that He slept soundly. He indeed was truly human and indeed He truly faced the things that we face in our daily lives. He could overextend his physical being as we often do.
Second, I hear constantly of how overworked some pastors are. Recently I heard the wife of a pastor complaining of her husband’s schedule and fatigue. I was tempted to tell her to tell him to stop taking on things that did not concern him, but I refrained for the polite.
It is not wrong to get tired in the ministry, indeed it might be that we ought to be getting more tired in ministry for our people’s sake. Fatigue is not sin, it is the natural way of things when you are busy about the Lord’s work. It makes sleep so much sweeter so why do we avoid it as if it were a plague?
When you are weary of a heavy schedule remember the Lord catching a few winks in the bottom of a boat and remember how nice that soft bed of yours is going to be. He had little of the comfort that we have yet we complain so easily.
MacClaren calls noticed to the weary Lord finding what comfort he could in the situation. Years ago when in the Navy there was a time when I was the only experienced technician on the ship. We had 15 other techs, but they were all just out of school and could not accomplish anything on their own. They needed constant oversight that took me from what work I could accomplish.
The ship was in terrible shape electronically and I determined to correct the situation. I started working on equipment and did not stop until the entire ship was in top shape electronically. It took me a couple of days of around the clockwork but it was finally done. I sat down in a chair leaned it back against the bulkhead and slipped into lala land immediately. I didn’t look for a soft mattress, I didn’t look for a recliner, I just closed my weary eyes and was immediately where Ineeded to be.
Pastor, if you are tired, be thankful for that little respite that comes along now and then and do not concentrate on what you have not. Even the Lord found Himself fatigued from well doing can we do less?
We might also take note that Christ was so fatigued that the storm did not awaken Him. It was the apostles speaking and possibly shaking him physically that finally aroused Him to a conscious state. That would indicate the depth of the Lord’s fatigue. In recalling the ship incident we had an officer coming on board to inspect the ships electronics the morning that I collapsed into the chair. About fifteen minutes into my respite the man showed up and it took the fellows several minutes to bring me back to a conscious state. I could hear them calling and could feel the shaking, but I just could not crawl out of that deep hole of collapse. Finally it felt like my brain cells finally started coming to attention slowly and in a bit of a wave as reality started to overtake the fog.
This passage presents Christ as a servant of God toiling in the field. This is part of the reason most scholars view Mark’s purpose in writing to be to present Christ as the servant of God. MacLaren comments on this emphasis of Mark when he says "For instance, did you ever observe the peculiar beginning of this Gospel? There are here none of the references to the prophecies of the King, no tracing of His birth through the royal stock to the great progenitor of the nation, no adoration by the Eastern sages, which we find in Matthew, no miraculous birth nor growing childhood as in Luke, no profound unveiling of the union of the Word with God before the world was, as in John; but the narrative begins with His baptism, and passes at once to the story of His work. The same ruling idea accounts for the uniform omission of the title ’Lord,’ which in Mark’s Gospel is never applied to Christ until after the resurrection. There is only one apparent exception, and there good authorities pronounce the word to be spurious Even in reports of conversations which are also given in the ether Gospels, and where ’Lord’ occurs, Mark, of set purpose, omits it, as if its presence would disturb the unity of the impression which he desires to leave. You will find the investigation of the omissions in this Gospel full of interest, and remarkably tending to confirm the accuracy of the view which regards it as the Gospel of the Servant."
Maclaren continues to lay out the physical strain that the Lord was under from Mark’s viewpoint. He was constantly on the move and there is the air of stress and hurry throughout the first three chapters.
For those that do not teach or preach I would explain that there is a heavy toll for the activity. Most when finished with such activity feel drained physically as well as mentally. I have taught two hours in some of my computer classes, and when finished feel as if I have put in a day of hard labor. If your pastor/teacher is not as responsive to you as you think they ought please cut them some slack and realize that they may be tired.
For those that do preach/teach please take solace in the matter that Christ Himself also felt your pain, indeed, maybe much more powerfully than you yet have.More importantly than "us" and fatigue, we probably ought to dwell on the reason that Christ submitted to the stresses that He went through. US. He did it all for us. He did nothing for glory, nothing for fame, and nothing for Himself, all for us. Too often we dwell on the cross for His suffering, and rightly so for His work in salvation, but there was much suffering long before the pain of the cross. We might do well to consider His lifestyle before we go into our usual pity parties about not being able to afford that big screen or SUV.
15. Now to the fear of these men. Some of them had been fishermen and had weathered such storms often in their lives, but this one must have been extremely severe for they feared for their lives. Their calling for the Lord may have related a little to the difference in their backgrounds. The fisherman apostles probably knew of their peril and they were doing all that they could to save themselves and then they see this dumb carpenter laying sound asleep. How dumb it that?" they might have wondered. Let’s get this guy up and get Him into this worry mode so that we can get out of our situation quicker.
You know the more you worry the better off you are - NOT. It has often been said that worry just must work because all those things we used to worry about didn’t come to pass - worry must work.
The key probably is not that worry helps, but that we always have God close by waiting for our call for assistance. Often we tend to just keep rowing our boat into the waves when we could call upon the one that can control the waves of life to give us an assist.
16. Mark alone tells us the words spoken by the Lord. "and said unto the sea, Peace, be still." Rather like a loving mother calming her baby that is crying as if the whole world were crashing down around her. Peace, be still. Almost as if the calming words of the creator were truly calming the created - indeed is this not exactly what it was?
Mark alone suggests that the Lord did not care of the impending dome. "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Maybe we just have the more honest showing of feelings in young Mark as opposed to the more mature gospel writers, but at the minimum we have to see it as honest reporting of the facts as he saw them.
In my mind these two items indicate that Mark was reporting his gospel as something other than under the guiding hand of Peter as many suggest. Matthew was present for the event and he does not record these two items nor does John. If Peter were guiding the writing of Mark, I would think that the two comments would not have appeared.
17. We see the apostles fearing for their lives, and then they witness the calming of the sea. They are met with rebuke from the Lord "how is it that ye have no faith?" However I think this is a gentle prodding of the Lord for the men to consider just who they were the apostles of. Their reaction is "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
It is evident that they have no idea whose cloak they have tied their hopes to. They had followed Christ, maybe even thinking that He was their Messiah, but they had not caught the concept thatHe was also God.
Imagine the roller coaster that they were on. From elation of the crowds, to the relaxation of getting away from the crowds for a break, to fear of death, to excitement of their lives being spared to wondering about whom this man was that they had decided to follow.
So, many that are seeking eternal peace in our own day go through many emotions and mind games trying to figure out what the truth might be, the truth that will give them peace with God. At times God will put a person through trials and hard times to bring them to a realization that they are not capable of the eternal things on their own.
And the great thing about God’s work with mankind is that He has opted to include the likes of us to assist these lost folks through their quest for peace - if we will only take the time to do so.
Do not miss the clear contrast here. The apostles were going through hard times, but the Lord had also been through a rigorous time and was fatigued, even exhausted yet when He was awakened He did not rebuke them for their need, nor did He neglect their need. He ministered to them in the clear and concise way that was needed.
Pastors and teachers, when you feel you have been through the mill, when you feel you are about to collapse, when you cannot go further and the phone rings -Christ is our example. Did I have to say that? No, but it is quite really the truth and we ought to be willing to minister at any time there is a need.
When teaching I was up by 4:30 or so and in the office shortly after and seldom left the office before midnight and oft times 1 or 2. When the phone would ring and a pastor on the other end asked if I would fill the pulpit for him Sunday - you get the picture. Be ready to minister at any time for your Lord.
18. If this topic has arisen prior to this please overlook the second raising of the subject. The Jewish leaders were those that were to point man to God. Their responsibility was to teach about God, to assist the lay person to finding a relationship with Him. They were as stated, leaders, yet they threw their responsibilities out the window when the Lord started to point out their fallacies in thought and action.
So, today when someone dare question a pastor or teacher the leader is not open to consider the question, they are immediately on the defensive to protect their turf and buck. Heaven forbid they realize that someone else in this world with billions of people walking the surface of the earth might have a single thought that might be superior to theirs!
The Jewish leaders lost all concept of reality when they went off to plot the murder of Christ to protect their little power scheme of life. I have seen pastors/church leaders tear churches apart because "they know best" and the lay people "know little."I do not mean to say every pastor is power hungry, but there are many today that are swinging their power as if it were a club. I personally believe that much of the disenfranchisement that has gone on among Christians is from power hungry leaders that are going to have their way no matter who it hurts nor how divisive their wants might be.
There are so many that have left the church over the music that is being forced upon the church by many "hip" pastors that need it to fit their casual, laid back type of ministry. It just does not fit to have a man standing on the platform that looks as if he just stepped out of the garden to be leading songs about the majesty of God. Gotta have some singy songy stuff to make him fit into the church he is supposed to be leading.
Others have given up on church because of the heavy handedness of pastors in running their church under the assumed guise of being "God’s appointed." Even more crowds have left over the King James only furore that has become normal in many churches.
I have written to a person for a couple of years now and one day out of the clear blue he was totally, unequivocally and rabidly King James only. He had read a book that set his mind into a shoe box and set it on the shelf. He went from a totally logical, well thought out person to a radically non-thinking quoter of others. He made the comment that his was the only stand any "true believer" would take. I encouraged him to consider whether he really thought I was a lost person :-)
I do not believe that pastors today are as the Jewish leaders, plotting to kill the Lord, but it seems they have plotted the demise of many spiritual lives and churches. Yes, those believers walking away from the church are responsible as well, but just where do they find the fellowship and encouragement that the church is to give its members if they cannot find it in the body of believers that was once home to them?
19. The Life Application Bible observes that Christ was surrounded by all sorts of people. There were power hungry men plotting to kill Him, there were true believers, there were people following for the political Messiah they thought He was, and there were those just wanting healing or some other benefit. All sorts of needy people wanting a piece of Him for their own polluted reason - pastor, are you feeling a little of his pain today :-) Sounds like many of the churches of our day. People who come for every sort of reason, yet the pastor must lead each and every one to Christ for their particular answer.
Pastoring is not an easy life even though it is much easier for many than in years past. Pastoring is about leading and shepherding people. I once saw an interview of a modern day shepherd. The man was asked of his life among the sheep and he described his solitude and loneliness. Even as tears filled his eyes telling of the long lonely days and nights he was asked why he decided to take on such a life. His reply was simple, "Because the sheep needed a shepherd."
Pastor, consider well the Timothy passage when it says if a man DESIRES the office. If you are a pastor for any reason other than that you desire to be a shepherd you are probably in the wrong business. The sheep need a shepherd, not a power grubber, or an egomaniac.A fine line there is between the Jewish leader and the true leader of God’s children but it must be found and adhered to even in our modern age.
Recently a survey was released in America and there was a very close similarity to the groups of people just mentioned. There were the actively churched, the churched, the professors and the personal Christians. The later group being the believers that have been disgusted with the church its sin/compromise and have left it to find some semblance of their Christianity in their personal lives aside from the organized church.
Pastor - you have a big job ministering to such people with such a wide gap of stance. Just remember you are in good company, for He was faced with it long before you.
20. It might cross one’s mind after seeing these different accounts of Christ’s activities and teachings that the passage that mentions there are many other items of Christ’s teaching that are not recorded, just what was contained in some of that teaching. One must not speculate too far into this thought due to the fact that the Spirit of God inspired that which He intended for us to have. (John 21-25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 20:30-31 records "These stories used familiar scenes to explain spiritual truths. A parable compares something familiar to something unfamiliar. It compels listeners to discover truth, while at the same time conceals the truth from those too lazy or too stubborn to see it.")
One might just think and ponder what else might Christ have taught to the apostles that we do not have recorded. It could be surmised that most anything "good" would be something that Jesus would have taught, though if it were important it would have been included in the written record one should assume.
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 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. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 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. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
HEY, LISTEN UP, might be the thought of "Hearken; Behold," for both are in the imperative or they are a command and the words draw special attention to what is being said.
We do not know who the sower is because we are not told in the text. Some assume it and treatit as fact, while a wise interpreter might suggest that Christ is the sower but not assume and declare it.
The sower is one that is sowing seed. Anyone in my neighborhood knows what a sower looks like, they know that on the capital dome there is a large statue of a pioneer sower. They also have most likely seen old man Derickson out sowing in his yard. My lawn is so terrible I sow grass seed twice yearly at the very least. Now I am not gold plated but I resemble that statue. We both have a bag of seed and we are both casting seed in a sweeping motion to spread the seed as it falls from our hands. Well, his hand is not really swinging, but you get the point of the story I am using do you not? You should look to the point of the story, not the detail, remember.
Now, like the sower in the Lord’s parable there are different types of ground. There was ground that was stony, some weedy and some good. Well this is where my story falls apart. My yard is stony and weedy but there is little good ground so I will stick to Christ’s parable from this point on.
I wish I could quote to you some of the long expositions that I have heard on these few verses but I have none to quote. On the other hand those illustrations would probably detract from the Lord’s own exposition of the parable that follows. He explains all of it quite clearly in the immediately following context so let us go on (not that all expositors leave it at the Lord’s interpretation).
The Net Bible translates verse nine as follows: "Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!" This indicates the imperative that the "listen" is a much better translation than the "let him hear" of the King James. The listening isn’t an option, it is a necessity to the spiritual life to know.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
First of all some of the people did not understand the parable. These were not the twelve from the construction. Then second the Lord broke the people into groups. The twelve, those present at the question and those present for the parable. Third He explains the reason for parables, and fourth He seems to question the spiritual condition of those asking the question.
Let us look at these four things for a few moments.
First of all some of the people did not understand the parable. These were not the twelve from the construction. The twelve, if they did not know were being quiet about their ignorance and allowing others to show their ignorance so they did not have to. We do not know if the twelve knew the meaning of the parable for we are not told but I would assume that Mark would have clarified his statement if they did not grasp it. Second the Lord broke the people into groups. The twelve, those present at the question other than the twelve and those present for the parable. There is a contrasting of the groups as well.
There is the group that was with the Lord for the question, which included the twelve, however the twelve seem to be slightly separate from the group.
There are those that heard the parable but did not come with the Lord. Christ describes the parable listeners as "without" and that they see but do not perceive and hear but not understand.
Third He explains the reason for parables. The parable is to separate the lost from the saved. Obviously these are lost people who do not grasp spiritual truths. Further they will not be converted, nor will their sins be forgiven.
Fourth He seems to question the spiritual condition of those asking the question when he asks them how they will understand further parables if they do not understand this one. The clear implication is that anyone that does not understand this parable will not understand further parables. Further the implication is that those raising the question are lost and in the same group as the parable listeners. Further that they will not be converted, nor will their sins be forgiven.
If true this had to be a real wake-up call for those folks to evaluate their true condition. "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:" seems to be a clear indication that they would be believers in that they were to know the mysteries but also the entire text would indicate that some of them were not yet believers.
The parable seems rather obvious to me as a believer, but to one that does not understand the Word, it would be a nice story. We know, as believers, that the Word sometimes falls on deaf ears, while it sometimes falls on a listening ear, but after a seemingly change in life, there is a falling away to the old life. We also know by experience that when the Word was planted in our life that it grew miraculously into something wonderful for us as a believer.
To look upon the Christians that we know we can know that the increase is more for some and less for others. We all grow where we are planted and we all produce in different ways/amounts. This variance in result is not necessarily a direct result of our efforts though it may be. Results are normally up to the Lord if we are open to serving Him.
It is of great note that Luke records an interesting fact concerning the Lord as He spoke the parable. In 8.8 Luke states that the Lord did something as he finished this parable. "As he said these things, he cried" Now we are not told what brought the emotion to the Lord, but it is easy to assume that it was either sadness over the loss of some, or the joy of the saving of others as well as their increase. It would not be inconceivable that it was a mixture of both.
A couple of obvious points might be made - Christ as our example and as a man, cried. The other point is that we ought to also be emotional at the lost or coming to the Lord as we go about His work. Emotion is not wrong, it is human and it is to be expressed if it comes forth.Just a little side note, this passage shows a particular truth that there were the disciples and there were the twelve apostles. We know that the twelve were once disciples, but this text shows the two groups distinctly. Mark in verse ten the two groups are shown as different. Matthew 13:10 mentions only the disciples, but they are the ones questioning the Lord. Also we see that Luke in 8.9 mentions the "disciples" asked the question rather than the twelve.
One further point we should notice. When Christ is speaking of the reason for the parables Matthew mentions a little further note of information. 13.12 "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." Just how many times have you heard that text quoted out of context to mean material blessings or money? I trust you will understand it to be speaking of spiritual knowledge rather than money.
Matthew adds information that Mark does not relating to the purpose of parables. He mentions that this was a prophecy from Isaiah 6:9-10. This further information is obviously to the Jews that Matthew was writing to. I will quote Matthew’s comments on the parable below for your reading.
"14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them]. 18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, somethirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
As you read this portion it is not hard to envision the Lord speaking and as he speaks he motions to the groups that He is speaking to. "These are they by the way side" - can you just see the Lord sweeping his hand toward the Jewish leaders direction. "These are they likewise which are sown on stony ground" - again sweeping His hand toward another group, possibly a portion of the disciples that have asked the question. "These are they which are sown among thorns" - again sweeping gesture toward another portion of the group. "These are they which are sown on good ground" - a sweeping hand to indicate the apostles and any others that had believed.
If this be true, would not there be a lot of people considering their stance before Christ - were they true believers, or just followers for the benefit of the miracles and teaching. I would think there was a lot of soul searching going on. At the same time I must wonder if the apostles didn’t have a great feeling knowing that their Lord and Master accepted them as complete and devoted believers.
The obvious question arises, were all these but the final group lost, or were some saved that became lost? If you look at the passage alone, you could come to the final conclusion that they were, but if you look at the whole of Scripture it is hoped that you would come to the conclusion that the doctrine of eternal security is the Biblical truth rather than the heresy of lost salvation.
Years ago an aunt of my wife dropped in for a visit and being a Seventh Day Adventist doctrine soon came into the conversation. My wife stated our belief in eternal security and the aunt replied "You don’t believe in that damnable heresy do you?" The topic was dropped and we returned to family talk.
The first group is definitely lost. The Lord of this world, Satan the great deceiver, deceives this group. He destroys any vestige of the Word in the lost person’s life. As to the middle two groups it is difficult to decide whether they be lost or saved. It would seem easiest to view them as believers that accept the Word, that begin to grow but are not sufficiently grounded (rooted) or are choked out by the thorns. John 15:1-27 is clear that some of the branches are taken away but that the fruitful ones remain so that they continue to bear fruit. This picture seems to fit these two groups. They are people who hear and then respond and are saved, yet later on are sidetracked by lack of growth or the cares of the world and are not fruitful.
The last group of course is those that hear, respond, accept and grow into fruitfulness. This is the group that God is primarily interested in for the furtherance of His work here on earth. The middle two groups are of interest to God but they fail to bear fruit for their Lord and as a result are not helpful to the harvest of souls through time.
This should concern those believers that fail to produce fruit of some sort for the Lord. These may be taken from this life early if they do not produce for the Lord. This fruit need not be souls but should be some sort of fruit for the Lord be it soul winning, teaching or ministering in some manner for His work.I assume the main point of this parable is not that there are several groups of people, but that there are the lost and the saved and within the saved category are some that are fruitful for their Lord. The following parable would indicate that this is true. It suggests that once a candle is lit it should be useful and give forth light, not be hidden somewhere. It is also evident that the two parables teach that fruit is the expected result of the life of the redeemed. You may not have much fruit, or you may have a lot, but fruit seems to be the result. This after all is part of the basis of our judgment seat of Christ experience, the burning of wood, hay and stuble and the emergence of the rest from trial by fire.
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? 22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
Well, in our own world this might not relate as well as with Christ’s world. I seem to remember when I didn’t want to go to bed and when I was made to do so as a child I would take my flashlight with me along with a toy or two, prop up the covers with my knee and play awhile with my light hidden from view. Christ must have been speaking to adults in this context most definitely.
Christ used a little humor here I would think. Who in their right mind would put a lit candle under a basket or under a bed where fire would most likely be the result? Of course the parable is speaking to the hiding, but the safety is an added reason to let your candle be placed on the candlestick so that it can be of use.
The point of Christ’s statement about the candle relates to the hearing but not understanding issue of the previous thought on the purpose of parables. The light is made to be shown forth not hidden, or the Word of God is given to man to be made manifest to the world, not hidden within the church walls. Though the lost do not accept the Word and as a result do not understand it is not the Word’s fault but the lost person’s fault. The truth of Christ’s teaching is to bring light to the world, but also to hide it from the lost that reject it out of hand.
A little application might be appropriate here. It is of interest that something as small as a seed or the light of one candle would be used to picture the believer and his works. Maybe it is the Lord’s way to show that it isn’t OUR individual work that is important to the plan of God but the cumulative work of all those that produces God’s desired accomplishments in the world of our time. One plant is not going to do much to feed the hunger of the world, nor is one candle going to light the cities of the planet, but the combined crops of the farms across the world will feed the world, the light of billions of candles can light our way and the fruit of millions of believers can change the earth for the God that we serve.
Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. Simply put if you respond to what you are first given, then more will be given to you. The opposite principle also applies, if you have a little and respond not, then what you have and more will be taken from you.
I personally would relate this to Romans one where it speaks to the fact that creation displays information about God and if you respond to that revelation then He will surely give you more revelation, but if you reject what he has given in nature then He will take even that away from you - that is what Romans one illustrates - they reject the creator and start worshiping the created.
Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."
I do not believe for a moment that God is sitting up there waiting to drop the ax on those that do not respond, but when they have had every opportunity to hear and respond, He will certainly say "ENOUGH!" and as Romans puts it "[gives] them up to uncleaness through the lusts of their own hearts...." He does not seem to sugar coat his actions, just states em like they are!
Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; 27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. 28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. 29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle because the harvest is come.
A simple illustration to convey the truth that there is a harvest coming. When the harvest is ready it will most certainly come to pass. When the fruit is ready it will be picked. This life will one day be over for each of us and the fruit of our labors will be harvested. The fact of the differing amounts of fruit in the earlier account may indicate the accounting at the judgment seat of Christ where our fruit is examined and our reward given.
30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
The Lord continues in his declaration via another illustration. The kingdom of God is like a small seed planted that grows to give forth great benefit. The kingdom seed was planted when the Lord shed His blood for our sins. The great benefit has been going on for centuries, but will have a culmination when all will see the grand kingdom set up in the Millennium when all mankind will fall under the rule of God on earth.
There is great discussion about the validity of the science behind the mustard seed being the smallest and it being able to produce a tree. The Life Application Bible New Testament Commentary may shed light on this discussion. Some suggest that there are smaller seeds than the mustard seed, though the writers of this commentary specify that this was the smallest seed a farmer would use. They tell us that it takes 12,000 mustard seeds to make an ounce of seed. Truly small seeds.
Mark 4:33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
Another declaration that Christ was not in the business of trying to convince the doubters and rejecters, indeed He now is in the business of keeping the truth from them. It also indicates that some of the disciples still needed to have the parables explained to them "he expounded all things to his disciples." This also might indicate that there was a constant separating of the disciples from the others so that the Lord could give them further instruction.
Matthew 13:33 ff adds the parable of levening and adds a quote from Psalms 78:2. Matthew 13:35 mentions this: "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."
My, what an education the apostles were getting. They had opportunity to listen to the expounding of the mysteries that were hidden from the beginning. Too bad they did not have recording equipment so that we could have enjoyed it as well.
Mark 4:35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
I think we can all relate to this account. They are on the sea of Galilee when a storm comes up and the boat is filling with water - worry and fear would be the normal reaction for the thinking person, though with the miracles that they had been seeing they might have considered the possibility of another in this instance.Christ chides them for their lack of faith and their fear of the storm. After the occurrence they had other fears "And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Now, I’ve been in storms like this. When in the Navy two of us on a bright sunny day climbed up the mast to do some work on an antenna. I happened to look forward of the ship and saw a wall of storm. It was much too close for us to chance climbing down the metal ladder on the mast so we clamped our legs and held on. The squall was over in a couple of minutes, but there was strong wind, strong rain and a lot of swinging to and fro as the ship wallowed in the heavy seas.
The storm passed, we squished our way down off the mast, not a dry spot between us. I was wearing boots at the time and had to remove my boots and pour out the water that had accumulated. Storms can come along so quickly and they are so harsh. I can relate to their fear though with the Lord with them you would think they would have been stronger than they were.
There is indication that they knew that he could care for their situation in that they asked Him if He did not care if they perished. It may also just indicate that they thought "If we are going to die, He is going to wake up and suffer the fear with us." I think the first is more the likely. They had seen great things and they would have hoped that he would be able to deal with this situation.
One might wonder at the knowledge that they had of the Old Testament. It contains a number of comments about God controlling the rain and the sea. If they had known this surely they would have had a different reaction if they had grasped the fact that Christ was truly God.
Psalms 104:3 "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:"
Psalms 107:23-30 "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
Psalms 135:7 "He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries."
By way of application we might wonder about our own fears and lack of faith when the storms of life find us and pummel us. Do we turn to Him in faith? Do we look to Him for our safety? Do we understand that He can most certainly assist us when we are in trouble?
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 4". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13