Mark 4:1-20, 30-32

A parable defined, “An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Alexander McClaren

The Seed Is Symbolic of God’s Word: vv. 1-14

“Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3‘Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.’

9″Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’

10″When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.

11″He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that, “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”

13″Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14The farmer sows the word.'”

1. God’s Word is true . 2 Peter 1:16

2. God’s Word is complete . 2 Timothy 3:14

3. God’s Word is clear . Titus 1:9-10

4. God’s Word is alive . Isaiah 55:10-11


The Soil Is Reflective of Our Heart: vv. 15-19

“Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

1. The soil must be receptive . v. 15

2. The soil must be penetrated . vv. 16-19

The Fruit Is Indicative of Our Lives: vv. 20, 30-32

“‘Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a cropthirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

30″Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.'”

1. Generous . Luke 6:38

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

2. Patient . James 5:7-8

“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

3. Productive . 1 Peter 1:23-25


“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation'” (Mark 16:15).