Notes Mark 4 B
We ended last week with Jesus by the sea side where He had entered into a boat and from there He began to speak to the multitude in parables. We learned that the parable of the sower is a key parable and that the elements of that parable will carry over to the other parables. We also learned why He spoke in a parable which was to spark the interest of the casual hearer and also to dim the light of the word so that they might receive it
And that is just what Jesus is talking about in verse 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?
The word used for candle here is actually a portable lamp or other illuminator. A lamp has a globe that disperses the light actually making it easier to see. Jesus says; is a lamp bought to be put under a bushel or under a bed?
What is Jesus talking about here? He is talking about purchasing a lamp or a candle something that sheds forth light.
1 Corinthians 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Jesus says something very similar in His sermon on the mound in Matthew 5:14-16
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Jesus was a perfect example of this; for he is the original light of the world.
Jesus said in John 8:12
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus too was a lamp; He dispersed the light. He was Emanuel God with us yet he came as a man and made himself in the form of a servant.
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
What was he doing? He was dispersing the light so all could come unto him. If we were to see God in all of His glory, His majesty we would run from the presence of God. So God hid His glory in a man the man Christ Jesus so we could be draw to the light and not repealed by it.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
Many people think that Jesus was talking about our sins being revealed and in part that is true. Remember Jesus is talking about purchasing a lamp and the way he is going to purchase this lamp is to reveal what is really true.
What did Jesus come to reveal.
1. The Heart of the Father.
Listen to Matthew 11:27-29
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father but it is soooooo hard for us to see it.
It was what Paul was talking about when he said in 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him.
2. Jesus came to reveal what true righteousness was.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
To do justly….to do what is right not what is the easiest or even what is the best for us but WHAT IS RIGHT.
To love Mercy….stop looking at peoples shortcomings but see their potential. Stop judging and start restoring…
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
To walk humbly with thy God…spend time with Him acknowledging that you can’t do it without Him by your side.
Yes, light is to be seen but it needs to be dispersed because in our limited knowledge our limited experiences we cannot begin to comprehend the Goodness, the Splendor, the Glory of God.
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus is again expressing our need to have ears to hear and he follows this by a warning in
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. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
Jesus not only gives us a warning in this verse but He also gives us a basic rule of life.
First Jesus said beware what you hear. Jesus did not say beware how you hear but what you hear. So people think that if you go to church or listen to a Christian program that it is always a good thing, BUT that is not always true. There are preachers and sermons that will actually rob you of your faith
Sermons full of condemnation, criticism, and legalism will rob you of your faith. And with what measure you use it will be measured back to you. If you are listening to sermons that dwell on outward appearance and are negative and critical then you will become negative and critical. With the scoop you use it will be ladled back to you. AND to you that do hear more shall be given. If you will hear the Spirit and act on what you hear He will share more with you. Again this is a basic truth of life if you do not use it you will lose it.
God has set forth a universal law. Some call it karma. If you put out good and think good thoughts it will come back to you good but if you put out bad and think bad thoughts it will come back to you bad. And in that they are right because God has set forth a universal truth and it will come to pass.
Verse 26 Parable of the wheat
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
This parable is different from the first because the focus is not on the soil but on the seed.
Jesus begins this parable by telling us that He is explaining a kingdom principle.
The farmer goes out and sows seed. Verse 26 “cast seed into the ground”
First we must remember what the seed is. Jesus told us the seed is the Word of God.
So the farmer who is expecting a harvest begins to sow seed. If we what to see fruit in our own lives we must begin by sowing seed by Speaking the word of God into our life or into the life of our children or loved ones.
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
Then he goes to sleep. He rest in the Lord. It does not say he goes home and paces the floor, bites his nails, cries, worries. No he plants the seed and rest in the Lord. The farmer has does His part. He understands what Paul said in 1Corinthians 3:6 For we are laborers together with God:
The farmer has faith that the seed will produce fruit. That it will happen naturally and that it will happen in stages. This is were most people give up and go and dig up their seed. They do not understand that most of the time the fruit of the word GROWS. The apple seed does not become an apple instantly. There is a growth stage.
When Tom was healed it took time. He got a little stronger, a little better. But because He was not healed instantly he did not dig up his seed by negative confession. He waited on the Lord. He thanked Him for the progress.
Look at the progress in verse 28.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
Look what Jesus says “the earth brigeth forth fruit of herself” but remember we are talking about Kingdom principles. Remember verse 26 So is the kingdom of God.
If you sow the seed of the word into the Kingdom of God in faith it is going to bring forth fruit of itself.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Then we see the progression… first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
But when the harvest has come then it is time to act again. Immediately he reaps the harvest. You may sow seed in your children life and God is at work. You notice little changes, but it is not time for the harvest, then you see a little more growth. Yet not time for the harvest. Finally you see it, they are ripe. This is when the farmer swings into action again; reaping the harvest he has planted.
There will be a time you have to act…..things are getting better, you are getting wiser and now you see a door open…now it is time to act…don’t let your harvest go to waste.
Don’t get frustrated and try to harvest before it is time.
And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 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: 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.
Now let’s take a look at the different elements in this parable.
1. There is the sower.
2. There is the field.
3. There is the seed sown; in this case the mustard seed.
4. There is the tree.
5. There are the birds that make their nests in the branches.
Jesus has given us a head start on the interruption of this story;
1. The sower is revealed in the Matthew version of this parable when Jesus says in Matthew 13:37
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
2. The Field Matthew 13:38
The field is the world;
3. The seed
Now the seed has been slightly different in each parable. Remember symbols never contradict themselves in scripture; they may differ slightly but they will not contradict each other.
1. We have seen the seed in the first parable is the Word.
2. In the second parable it was what the word produced; a harvest
3. In this parable the seed the word or the message of the kingdom, but why a mustard seed?
The dictionary tells us that mustard is a plant that is cultivated for its pungent seed.
I also looked up mustard in the encyclopedia and it said that the mustard plant, not mustard greens, is cultivated for its seeds. Much to my surprise it also mentioned the mustard seed of the Bible and said it was the Black Mustard plant and that it has the most pungent seeds of all, used in making spices, oils and extracted for medicinal purposes.
This tiny seed is so small, yet as any cook knows it refuses to go unnoticed.
The mustard seed is fiery, biting and to sometimes even irritating but by all means noticeable.
It is these traits that we are about to explore that prompted our Lord to choose the mustard seed to represent “the message of the Kingdom”.
So what are some of the uses of the mustard seed?
1. Stomach stimulant. A stimulant is something that arouses or accelerates physical or organic activity. It is used to cause hunger. It is often found in medicines given to cancer patients undergoing chemo so they will have an appetite to eat.
Our words or the seeds we plant should cause those around us to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.
Story of an Indian woman at flea market.
Not long after our family had undergone the tragedies of 1994 where Tom had suffered 3 heart failures which left him no hope of survival without a heart transplant and 2 or our 3 children were killed in a car accident; I was at a flea market selling some of the ceramics I had made for some income.
One morning while standing in line, waiting to get a table to sale my wares, an Indian woman (from India) began to talk to me. She said, “I noticed you several weeks ago and the smile on your face and something about your countenance caught my attention. I said to my neighbor there is a great woman (In the Indian culture it is the same as use referring to a blessed woman). Then my neighbor told me how you had just lost two children in a car accident and your husband was in need of a heart transplant. How do you do it? How do you lift up your head and have such peace?
She went on to tell me how she had recently lost her mother and her husband too was dealing with severe heart problems. She told me she would rise up a 3:00 AM in the morning to light candles and pray before coming to the market but she had no peace and could hardly stop crying.
I told her that I serve a God that could meet all my needs. That the God I served gave me peace and He was the strength of my life. I went on to tell her (as gently as I could) if the god she served could not meet her needs; “Maybe you need to seek another god”.
That was all I said. However the next week I took a Bible to the market with me, and although I did not see her in line, I found her booth and when she came out into the aisle to greet me I handed her the Bible. She tucked it under her garment and scurried back behind her booth.
The following week I ran into her again and she told me;
I have your Bible in my temple at home. The other day my son noticed the Bible and asked; Mother why is there a Bible in the temple, she simply said, “I am seeking.”
She went on to tell me she had already read the entire book of Genesis. I said Oh, you should skip back to the New Testament and read the book of John.
Her reply was “Oh, can I do that.” I said “Of course it will be fine.”
I only was her one or two more times before the season was over and they were thinking of moving to England. I know there are many Indian Christians in England so I believe as Jesus said,
Seek and ye shall find.
2. The mustard seed is used as an emetic. The Dictionary says an emetic is something that induces vomiting to rid a person of poison.
The fiery seed of the gospel should rid a person of hatred, malice, deceit, wickedness and the like.
Ephesians 5:26 tells us that our Lord uses His word to sanctify (to be set apart for an intended purpose) us and cleanses us by the washing of his word.
This fiery seed of the gospel is able to:
Make the hateful…harmless
The fiery seeded of the gospel has the ability to rid our hearts of the poisons of this world.
3. The mustard seed is used as a liniment: a medical fluid rubbed into the skin to soothe pain and relieve stiffness. It will feel hot, it may even be irritating but it will take away pain and relieve stiffness.
When we are down and troubled and we need a helping hand…we find that our hope lies in the gospel; weather we live or die, weather this life goes as planed or not; our hope lies in the gospel
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
4. Jesus also said it was the smallest of all seeds.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
It is the smallest of all seed but the world cannot grasp its earthshaking supernatural effects.
IT IS FOOLISHNESS UNTO THEM.
I have one more story to share with you.
It took almost a year from the time the Lord moved on Tom’s heart until everyone, even his doctors recognized that something supernatural had happened. After the tragedy we had moved from the home we were living in; we were still in the same development, but we lived in a different neighborhood.
One day Tom and I were at the supermarket across the street from our development when we heard a voice come from across the ice cream coolers.
Tom, is that you?
It was our old neighbor, Bob. Bob is this big strong man. He works as a private citizen for the government and has been in Iraq and Afghanistan off and on since the beginning of the war. He is in character a man of war.
The last time Bob had seen Tom he looked like he was at deaths door with one foot across the threshold. Yet now Tom looked fit for God had healed him.
Tom, is that you? What happened, did you get your heart transplant?
Tom replied, No, Bob God healed me.
Bob, “No, tell me what happened, you got the transplant didn’t you.”
No Bob really God healed me. I never had the operation.
Bob just stood there and shook his head in wonder.
About a week later we saw Bob at the pool. He is not a Christian but he said, Well if you need anyone to go with you to church and back you up, I will, I will go and tell them how sick you were and how bad you looked, I will go tell them. Bob was so stern about this, I expected to see him begin to smite his chest at any time. This man of war, saw the fiery seed of the gospel at work, you could not have told Bob, but he could see its results and in line with his nature he was ready to defend what he knew to be true.
The gospel is a fiery seed, one that is hard for the world to comprehend but one they can not deny it. It refuses to go unnoticed.
The next element of this parable is the tree. I what you to see that Jesus said IT BECAME A TREE.
It mutated into something it was not intended to be.
Now the Mustard seed of the Bible grows to be some 12 feet tall, it is greatest among all herbs, but it was never intended to be a tree.
What does the tree represent in scripture?
The tree in scripture symbolizes Authority and Power. In the book of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar was symbolized as a tree. In Psalms 1 those who meditate on the word are symbolized as trees.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
As Christians we are to have power and authority as the mighty mustard plant, the greatest among herbs. But this greatness has mutated into something entirely different. What was intended to be an organism; the body of Christ; has mutated into an organization? The church has become an organization and like the mighty tree with its looming branches it has split and divided with a branch here and branch there and smaller branches splitting and sprouting out here and there.
Then what does Jesus say happens when this tree grows so large, with all its power and authority:
Birds come and lodge in it.
Are the birds a good thing? No
Remember these parables are all spoken in the same day; they all relate to each other and as we have seen by the first parable Jesus interpretation of the birds, represent the wicked one.
Some may say that in verse 4 Jesus calls the birds fowls, but in verse 32 He calls them birds; however if you look back in the original Greek you will discover Jesus used the same word, peteinon in reference to these flying creatures in both verses; so we must accept His interpretation of these birds as “wicked ones”.
When the mustard seed grows out of proportion it makes an easy home of those who would preach false doctrine or pray off of others.
When denominations grow too large they are unable to know their pastors or know what they are preaching. Paul warned the leaders of the church at Ephesus; this very thing.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN EVERY CHURCH IS PREACHING FALSE DOCTRINE BUT THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE IS HAVING A HARD TIME KNOWING THOSE WHO HAVE LODGED IN ITS BRANCHES.
Finally we need to ask ourselves about the mustard seed in our own lives.
Do we cause others to hunger and thirst after righteousness?
Do our words rid the heart and soul of the poisons of hatred, malice and deceit or do they stir up contention?
Do your words sooth the brokenhearted, calm the troubled mind, loosen and sooth the tension in stress filled atmosphere.
How is the mustard seed in your own life?