LESSON 5: Mark -Chapter 4
First read Mark 4 all the way through.
The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 4
Events in Chapter four That You Don’t See Every Day:
Jesus commands the storm to cease and it does. The experience causes those with him to wonder who Jesus really is since “even the wind and the waves obey him.”
Notes and Commentary:
I. Introduction to ‘The Teaching on the Lake’- Verses 1-2:
Verses 1-2: These verses are an introduction to the ‘teaching on the lake’ which contains the largest body of teaching in the entire Gospel of Mark.
Verse 2– Tells us that Jesus taught the people many things in the form of parables. Theses verses represent only a part of what Jesus actually taught. The following parables are about the Kingdom of God. He presented them in general to the people, but explained them later when he was alone with his disciples.
The Parable of The Sower
Verses 3-20: Notice that the ‘good soil’ produces an incredible harvest, 30, 60, & 100 times the investment. Jesus explains this parable in verses 13-20. but first he refers to why he talks in veiled parables in the first place. He quotes Isaiah 8:16, and explains that the full understanding of the ‘Kingdom’ teaching is for those who are truly part of the ‘Kingdom’ movement.
Today, Jesus gives all believers his Holy Spirit in order to help in understanding his teaching and enliven the Biblical text. I am always surprised how very little unbelievers receive sometimes when they read the Bible and what they latch on to sometimes in the process.
Verses 13-20: Explanation by Jesus-
1. Those ‘along the path’–Satan had direct access to these people, probably through some false philosophical or religious system of thought.
2. Those in the ‘rocky places’ accepted the word for a short while, but did not continue when friends, family, or colleagues rejected them, or made fun of them because of their new faith.
3. Those ‘among the weeds’, believe and accept the faith, but are so busy that they really don’t take the time to follow through with Bible study, prayer, and Church meetings to be ‘disciplined’ and helped by other believers. Therefore, they really never grow and their faith is ‘choked’ out. I have been in the ministry long enough to have observed and to have personally known far too many in these first three categories.
4. However, I have also been blessed by observing the incredible growth of some in group number 4 with ‘good soil.’ The ‘good soil’ represents miraculous results in the lives of many people of faith. I have seen many whose lives have been changed for the better and have touched others in the process. Even in the midst of great adversity. With these folks, ‘The Kingdom’ advances and continues to grow at a miraculous pace.
The Parable of a Lamp On a Stand
Verses 21-25: As a lighted lamp is not meant to be hidden, so also the meaning of these parables is ultimately meant to be understood. Jesus was ‘the light of the world’, he came to reveal the Father to us, and yet he himself was God hidden in the flesh of a human. His true nature was ‘hidden’ like the true meaning of the parables.
Those who take the time to understand this teaching will be blessed and receive even more. Those who don’t, won’t even understand or be able to use what they have just been given. The amount of effort put in brings greater understanding and blessing. That is the key to greater understanding of the teachings and identity of Jesus and his Kingdom. Greater time (measure) and effort equals more while less results in even less or none at all.
The Parable of the Growing Seed
Verses 26-29: This parable is only in Mark. Once the Kingdom is sown on the earth, it grows until the end of the age. Micro growth in the life of every believer, and macro growth in expansion across the entire world. The Rule of God is designed to expand in the life of the believer to become increasingly more fruitful. The Rule of God is also expanding in the world as more and more believers come to Christ.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Verses 30-32: The Kingdom of God is likened to a tiny mustard seed. From small beginnings, a large plant grows up and becomes a beneficial perch for birds. The Kingdom did get its start here with just a handful of people.
It is uncertain what the birds might represent, if anything other than showing that the plant grew large enough to give shade. Because the birds represented evil in the ‘Parable of the Sower’, some teach that the birds perched here represent a more sinister outcome which include false teachers and evil shepherds. But I believe that kind of understanding goes beyond the more simple teaching of the text about the expansion of the Kingdom and rule of God.
Conclusion- Teaching of Parables
Verses 33-34: Jesus taught the people in parables, but the disciples were the only ones that he explained the teaching to in detail. They were able to dialog with him and ask questions, & they were able to walk with him, and have a continual conversation as friends and companions. Today, believers have the Holy Spirit to help in our understanding. The more we seek to understand and know about Jesus and The Kingdom the more will be given to us and even greater.
III. Jesus Calms the Storm- Verses 35-41:
Verse 35: Jesus tells his disciples: “Let us go over to the other side” (of the Lake).
Verses 37-38: A huge storm arises while Jesus is sleeping, and the boat is in danger of sinking, and other boats with them also. The disciples are afraid for their lives and cannot understand how Jesus can sleep through it all with little concern.
Verses 39: Jesus rebukes the wind–similar to the way that he rebukes demons. Some have inferred by this tact, that the storm may have been ‘demonically’ inspired.
Verse 40: Jesus questions their faith and asks why they were afraid. After all they were with him and he said that they we going to go to the other side.
Verse 41: At this point the disciples openly wonder exactly who this Jesus is since “even the wind and the waves obey him.”
The disciples are just beginning to discover that Jesus has far more authority than any man they ever knew. The level of faith displayed by the disciples is probably no greater or any less than ours would be in the same circumstances.
At least I know that I would be terrified in the middle of a Lake in the midst of a huge storm. I have been in a similar situation when a life threatening storm quickly arose while our family was in a small row boat fishing in the middle of a huge lake. We barely made it ashore before the boat began to sink. So I do know how frightening that can be. We did a lot of praying in the midst of the storm so we were thankful to God and believe that we had his help in getting safely ashore.
-Read Mark 5 in preparation for LESSON #6