Mark 4

Another time Jesus began teaching by the lake. A great crowd gathered around Him. So He got into a boat and went out on the lake. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water.

Jesus sat in the boat so that people could hear Him better. Also, if people were always touching Him to be healed they would never learn the things that He was teaching. So healing is important but learning the Bible is even more important because it shows you how to live in healing.

2 – 5

Jesus used many stories to teach them. He said, “Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was not much dirt. The seed grew very fast there because the ground was not deep.

Many places in the Bible show birds being used by the devil. Some teachers say that we should not share the Gospel in every place because people will not listen. They say these things as if Jesus was saying that the seed should not be planted in these places. Jesus did not say that! If you want to prove something from the Bible you need to find it in more than one verse. See Matthew 28:19.

6 – 8

But when the sun rose, the plants withered. The plants died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and choked the good plants. So those plants did not make grain.

Some other seed fell on good ground. In the good ground, the seed began to grow. It grew and made a crop of grain. Some plants made 30 times more grain, some 60 times more grain, and some 100 times more grain.”

We can see that the weeds took away the things in the dirt that the seeds needed so the first thing we need to do is to put back the things that were taken away.

9. Then Jesus said, “Let those with ears use them and listen!”

Be careful what you listen to!!! There are many stories of Christians who thought that listening to garbage in school or somewhere else would not hurt them. We do not think about it but lies can enter our minds and come out of our mouths if we are not centered on the Words of the Bible.

10 – 12

Later, when Jesus was alone, the 12 apostles and others around Him asked Him about the stories.

Jesus said, “Only you can know the secret truth about the kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by using stories.

I do this as Isaiah said: ‘They will look and look, but they will not learn. They will listen and listen, but they will not understand. If they did learn and understand, they would come back to Me and be forgiven.’”

But people who are not spiritual cannot receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they cannot understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 1 Corinthians 2:14, Isaiah 6:910

13. Then Jesus said to the followers, “Do you understand this story? If you do not, then how will you understand any story?

Some teachers say that this story was given to help us understand all of the stories that Jesus told.

14 – 15

The farmer is like a person who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the road. This is like some people. They hear the teaching of God. But Satan quickly comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.

The first thing that we learn is the seed is the Word of God. So before we think about anything else we need to see that the devil wants to take away the Words of God from our minds!

When we have a problem do we first think, “What does the Bible say about this?” If we do not then the devil has already taken God’s Words away from us. People will say, “The Bible has nothing to do with this problem!” When we hear this we know that the devil has won the fight for their minds.

16 – 17

Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy. But they do not allow the teaching to go deep into their lives. They keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching, they quickly give up.

Even beautiful Christians can think that they have done so much for Christ that they should never have trials in their lives. Some people are so embarrassed that a problem has come up that they will hide from others so that nobody will know. The devil tells them that it is strange for them to have problems and that other people will look down on them. 1 Peter 4:12

18 – 19

Others are like the seed planted with the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching. But then other things come into their lives: worries, the lies of money, and wanting all kinds of other things. These things stop the teaching from growing. So that teaching does not produce fruit in their lives.

Money can lie to you. Money can make you think that you are doing very good and no longer need to pray or go to God for what you need. Do not live with the thorns! These thorns come from too much worry about what will happen. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow.

If you keep on worrying then you are saying that you do not want to listen to what Jesus told you to do! The original language calls worry the same thing as imaginations. Imaginations are things that may never happen but the devil makes it sound like they will happen. Matthew 6:34

20. Others are like the seed planted in the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce fruit—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”

How do we make good ground? Put back the things that have been taken out of the ground! This is our job and we cannot do it if we do not know how to bring the see of the Bible to people.

Tell people a story like Jesus did and they will listen! These people are Christians but they waste a lot of their time with other things and do not see the beauty of bringing others to Jesus and so their life is not complete.

21. Then Jesus said to them, “Do you hide a lamp under a bowl or under a bed? No! You put the lamp on a lampstand.

Jesus just got done saying that not many people are planting the seed of the Word. Now He is asking why anybody would hide what God has done for them.

22. Everything that is hidden will be made clear. Every secret thing will be made known.

We have sent away the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2

23 – 25

Let those with ears use them and listen! “Think carefully about the things you hear. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you. But God will give you more than you give. The person who has something will be given more. But the person who does not have much, even what he has will be taken from him.”

People who do listen to the Word of God will see that it is beginning to change them. First, they will see a new way growing in their life. Then they will see that the things of the world are not interesting to them anymore. If you plan to things of the Spirit in your life they will grow slowly and put down deep roots.

26 – 29

Then Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who plants seed in the ground. The seed comes up and grows night and day. It does not matter whether the man is asleep or awake; the seed still grows.

The man does not know how it grows. Without any help, the earth produces grain. First the plant grows, then the head, and then all the grain in the head. When the grain is ready, the man cuts it. This is the harvest time.”

People who make the word of God, a part of their lives every day. Start to lose their old ways. They feel bad for people who do not live this way. They start to ask God how they can help someone else to have what they have found. God will send people to you and you will be amazed as you watch them change their lives.

God gives to His loved ones even while they are sleeping. Psalm 127:2

30 – 32

Then Jesus said, “How can I show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. The mustard seed is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. But when you plant this seed, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches. Even the wild birds can make nests in it and be protected from the sun.”

This mustard seed is not growing in a way that we expect. The wild birds are mixed with God’s people, and we welcome them and make them thirsty for a new kind of life.

33 – 34
Jesus used many stories like these to teach them. He taught them all that they could understand. He always used stories to teach them. But when He and His followers were alone together, Jesus explained everything to them.

If you never spend time alone with Jesus, how can He explain the Bible to you?

35. That evening, Jesus said to His followers, “Come with Me across the lake.”

Jesus is saying, “We are going to get to the other side.” Do not doubt in the storm what Jesus has told you before the storm.

36 – 37

He and the followers left the people there. They went in the boat that Jesus was already sitting in. There were also other boats with them. A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves began coming over the sides and tortured the boat. It was almost full of water.

This storm came because Jesus was going to a place where a man needed to be set free from a demon. When there is a storm in your life it may be because the devil is trying to turn you away from what you are supposed to be doing.

38. Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went to Him and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, do you care about us? We will drown!”

Jesus had already told them that they were going to the other side. After God teaches us something that will be a test to see if we were listening.

39 – 40

Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and the waves to stop. He said, “Quiet! And stay quiet!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. Jesus said to His followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

First He rebuked the wind and the waves, and then He rebuked the disciples. When Jesus tells you that you are going somewhere then it does not matter if a storm tries to stop you. He had just told them to listen to what they were told and they did not listen carefully.

41. The followers were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”

Elijah learned that God was not in the storm but He speaks quietly to us. 1 Kings 19:12