Mark 4a Notes

Mark4a (vs1-20)                              Notes



1 Again he began to teach by the sea


Another (renewed?) occasion


Not in synagogue, but outside


very large crowd gathered about Him


intensive great number of interested people


so he sat in a boat on the sea


as previously arranged with fishermen (3:9)


crowd beside the sea on the land


listeners gathered on the shore


2 He was teaching them many things in parables...


Much of His message now using stories. Deliberate shift in   approach.


3 "Listen!


Your attention, please


Sower went to sow.


to draw out and to scatter / "Parable of the Sower" -- or   more accurately, of the Soils.


4 As he sowed... some seed fell along the path


Why waste seed on path? nature of broadcasting the seed (1).


birds came and devoured it.


flying creatures have opportunity to pick it off


5 Other seed fell on rocky ground


Sower not see the rocks? Can't always tell what lies under   the surface


where it did not have much soil


shallow earth to receive seed


immed. sprang up -- since no depth of soil


can germinate quickly in shallow soil, but not root well


6 When sun rose, it was scorched


change in weather / dry season burns the plants


since it had no root, it withered away.


w/o deep root there is no access to water, no reserve to   prevent dehydration.


7 Other seed fell among thorns


Sower not see the thorns? weed seed, dormant in the   ground, grow later


and thorns grew up and choked it


latent native plants also grow, but more virally,   competing for nutrients


it yielded no grain.


Purpose of sowing: multiply the seed


This soil could not produce any.


8 Other seeds fell on good soil


(note plural 'seeds'- for multiple grains)


in ground fit, right / where seed belongs


growing up and increasing


(this phrase logically here) all of the growth, increase   in size, toward one goal...


produced grain: yielding 30x, 60x, 100x.


Purpose of the plant: to reproduce, make more seed, at   varying rates in nature


9 He who has ears, let him hear."


What are ears for? If you have ears, use them! Listen   carefully -- to understand.




10 When he was alone


comparatively speaking: large crowd dispersed, yet never really   alone


those around him -- with the twelve


secondary and primary circles of disciples who would not   leave / plus the 12




asked him about the parables


Why teach in stories? What do they mean? The spiritual   meaning not apparent to them.


11 "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God,


Why do I use stories? to reveal truth of God to those who really   want it.


but for those outside everything is in parables, so that


As a deliberate filtering device, separating truth-seeker   from thrill-seeker.


12 "they may indeed see but not perceive,


Isa6:9: look right at truth but be unaware, not even   (really) see


and may indeed hear but not understand,


hear but not 'put it together' or comprehend


lest they should turn and be forgiven.""


not at any time / never to repent and be forgiven


13 "Do you not understand this parable?


same as v12: "not perceive" = are you also looking right   through this story?


How then will you understand all the parables?"


Goal: full awareness, familiarity. Right spiritual mind   can unlock all His stories. (2)


14 The sower sows the word.


The Key to this parable, unlocks its full meaning   (1Pet1:23) /


15 These are the ones along the path, where the word is   sown:


Constant: message 'sown.' The variable: soil types. Same   activity > different results from person to person (3)


When they hear, Satan immed. comes and takes away the word   that is sown in them.


Message meant to root into the heart, but Enemy deprives   these poor minds


16 These are the ones sown on rocky ground:


Shallow minds -- may appear receptive on the surface


the ones who, when they hear the word, immed. receive it   with joy.


enough attention to germinate seed - a flash of   enthusiasm, but short-lived (4)


17 They have no root in themselves, but endure for a   while;


picture true to nature, as plant requires root, or its   life will be only temporary


then, when tribulation or persecution arises


as in nature, each life will have its hard times: pressures,   burdens, troubles


on account of the word, immed. they fall away.


because of the message. Warning that world will oppose   truth & target believers.


18 Others are the ones sown among the thorns. They are   those who hear the word,


Fertile soil, almost too fertile. Filled with other seed   also -- grows just as well.


19 But the cares of the world


Competition for the message of the kingdom: this world's   concerns -- ready distractions for our weak minds.


and the deceitfulness of riches


deluded by possessions. need for basic things in life   grows to obsession for more.


and the desires for other things


heart set in longing for everything else (but God) in this   life. Sense over spirit.


enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.


word crowded out. nutrients robbed by weeds, truth cannot   grow. No fruit for God




20 But those that are sown on the good soil


The beauty of virtuous ground! God and the farmer smile on   it (Heb6:7,8)


are the ones who hear the word and accept it


As the receptive womb en-folds and nourishes the seed.   Gives heaven a chance.


and bear fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold.


fulfilling the purpose of the seed -- bringing more seed   into being



Note1: Method of agriculture in 1st C Palestine: Broadcasting seed by hand over large areas. Modern method of farming uses 'drilling' -- pressing seeds into the ground in measured quantity and even intervals by machine. This method conserves seed on prepared fields and facilitates harvesting by machine.


Note2: Listeners often think to critique the speaker. Many of Jesus' hearers examine His words carefully. But, unbeknownst to them, the message critiques the audience. We are the ones being tested by our reception of the word. The truth is timeless, ageless, changeless. The really story here is in how we respond to His teaching - what we do with the message in the long run.


Note3: Graphic explanation of the parable: "These are the ones..." (v15) / "these are the ones" (v16) / "Others are the ones..." (v18) / "Those are the ones..." (v20). We might see Jesus motion with his hand, pointing toward each soil type, correlating it to a group of people, each in a different location, with varying characteristics.


Note 4: Use here of "immediately" not as quickly, or in little time, but "like clockwork." Metaphoric 'directly,' or surely to occur, as the effect is certain to follow the cause. Growing and harvesting seed requires some protracted time; a season there begins with fall rains, continues thru winter, and concludes with harvest in spring of the next year. The produce of a life does not occur quickly, but as surely as if -- when viewed with spiritual eyes - the results were present the very moment the message was first heard.


notes by David Teel Saturday, March 01, 2014