Mark 4:1-20: Good Soil
April 10, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-20, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40
Jesus now teaches his famous parable of the sower. The contours of it are familiar enough for many. What is surprising to many is Jesus’ rationale for telling parables (4:11-12), where he seems to explain his parables in precisely the reverse way to how it is normally explained. Typically, we are told that Jesus told parables as a way of making his teaching easier to understand. But Jesus, quoting from Isaiah 6, teaches that the parables actually—in some way—are told that people may see but not perceive, hear but not understand.
Parables, then, function like a sieve; those who understand will receive the kingdom: “to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of heaven.” Those who do not understand will be left “outside,” and everything will remain “in parables,” not clearly understood. This is the lesson that Jesus drives home when he explains the meaning of the parable of the sower (4:13-20).
In one way or another, various soils do not receive/understand the word/seed. But the good soil not only hears the word but also “accepts it” (4:20), and therefore bears much fruit. Let us then who teach do all we can to make the word clear so that it may be understood. And all of us who hear the word, let us do all we can to accept it that we might be good soil bearing much fruit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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