THURSDAY, JULY 23
SCRIPTURE: Mark 4
Mark goes away from focusing on Jesus’ actions in chapter 4 and gives us three parables that Jesus taught. A parable is story illustration from common things that teaches a spiritual truth. Most parables have one main point, so we need to be careful to discover the main point and not add to go beyond what Jesus intended to teach.
Verse 3 begins the parable of the four soils and continues with its meaning through verse 25. The disciples did not understand the parable, so Jesus explained it to them in verses 13-20. A person who teaches the Word of God to others can learn that not every person will receive the teaching the same. Do not be discouraged, teacher, for people are one of these soils and not every seed will understand and reproduce. Our purpose is to scatter the seed and try to find the good soil.
We may not understand right now, but pay attention (verse 24-25). God’s light is not hidden. We may not understand it all right now. Listen, and more understanding will come. Be patient and keep seeking, listening, obeying, and following after the LORD. In my personal devotion yesterday, I read Philippians 2:12-13. Go read it for yourself. The big part for me, was “work out your salvation by fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure.” The author of the devotion said that salvation is a process not an event. I almost threw the book down, but I kept reading. Yes, we are saved in the moment that we repent, believe and confess Jesus as Savior and LORD, but this word “salvation” carries with it a meaning of God delivering us through something. For example, the children of Israel were saved from slavery and left Egypt, but there was a process to reach the Promised Land. This passage in Mark tells us to pay attention and gain more understanding. You won’t always get it right in that moment, but don’t give up. One day you will understand. We are only temporary on this planet. It is not our home. Our salvation will be complete when we are with the LORD Jesus.
The second parable comes to us in verses 26-29. A farmer scatters seed. A process takes place within the earth, and then a harvest comes. A farmer is involved, but there is a process that the farmer has no control. Do our part, trust in the LORD, wait for Him to act, and when the harvest comes, and we must be ready to act.
Our third parable comes in verse 30-32 and again Jesus uses a planting/farming parable to teach. It is also in Matthew 13:31-32. A seed, like our faith, may start small or insignificant, but through time it will grow. Verse 33 in the NLT says “Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand.” Think about when you were 8. Everything was black and white. You were very literal in the way you thought. Then as you grew through your teens, you discovered abstract thought like sarcasm and maybe even understood things like algebra. Regardless of your age right now, your thought processes should be very different than when you were 8 years old. Spiritually speaking, we should be more mature now than when we were new believers.
Verses 35-41 finds Mark back to his focus upon the miracles and actions of Jesus. This time is when Jesus calmed the storm. Notice in verse 36, the disciples leave a crowd, and Jesus is exhausted and lays down to rest in verse 38. Even the Savior got tired! Don’t think that you are exempt from this regardless of what you do or who you are. We need physical rest.
Meanwhile, a storm develops and the disciples overreact. I say that because I wasn’t there. Had I been there, I would be leading the cries for help in verse 38. Perspective is really important for us to remember. I imagine that the disciples, who many were familiar with boats and storms, tried to do everything in their power to make it through the storm. However, it came to a point that they went running to Jesus, the giver of life after they couldn’t do anything. You see where I am going, don’t you! After they couldn’t save themselves, they went to Jesus. We do the same thing, but when we see it in others, we can remind others to run to Jesus. We need the right perspective, and that is Jesus is in control. Run to Jesus, call out to Jesus. Don’t let your ship get destroyed in the storm first.
Jesus spoke to the storm and it stopped. Even the wind and waves obey Him! Jesus created the world by speaking it into existence. Jesus is the Word.
What is the storm in your life that you need Jesus to speak to stop? Have you asked Him? Or are you trying to survive the storm on your own? It is an amazing thing when Jesus speaks up, shows up, or does something that we didn’t expect or even could imagine. The disciples saw this and were “absolutely terrified. Who is this man that even the wind and waves obey Him? We should be the same.