¹He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land.
²And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,
³Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; ⁴as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.
⁵Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil.
⁶And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
⁷Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
⁸Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
⁹And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
¹⁰As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.
¹¹And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, ¹²so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.”
¹³And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?
¹⁴The sower sows the word.
¹⁵These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
¹⁶In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
¹⁷and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
¹⁸And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, ¹⁹but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
²⁰And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
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How do we hear?
Listening is not necessarily the same as listening.
We also see this in the tremendous influx of curious people (Mark 4:1) around Jesus.
Why do they go to Him?
Are they just coming to see miracles of healing?
Or are they coming to hear the messages of the Kingdom of God?
And when they hear, do they also understand?
God’s word asks:
▪︎ not our superficial consent, but our conversion,
▪︎ not just our admiration, but our faith,
▪︎ not our so-called willingness to listen, but our obedience.
Jesus makes that clear by means of parables (Mark 4:2).
A parable is a story from everyday life.
By way of comparison, Jesus shows something of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
It is striking that not everyone is interested in the deeper meaning of such a story, at most they are eager for some sensation, such as when a miracle happens again. Many hear the story and walk on without asking what it means (Mark 4:11,12; Compare Romans 9:6-8).
▪︎ You can hear God’s Word and not pay attention to it.
▪︎ Even though God’s Word has sounded clearly, you can pay no attention to it, and therefore get none out of it.
▪︎ Although God’s Word has sounded clearly, but because you did not receive any out of it, you can not benefit from it.
▪︎ And so you can hear God’s Word many times and still get lost.
If God’s word does not really reach you, it will not be long before it is gone. The devil takes away that Word that was left unused (Mark 4:4,15).
You can also hear God’s Word, receive it, and be happy with it, while everything remains very superficial. Faith then has no roots, no depth. Then you are soon a plaything of the circumstances (Mark 4:5,6,16,17).
You can also give God’s Word a place, but not the full place. You then also give space in your heart to other things, that may not remain in it if the new life is to be able to grow in you (Compare Ephesians 4:20-24).
The worries remain in your heart, and that is contrary to trusting God.
The lust for riches and other things your life also take away the possibility to grow (Mark 4:7,18,19).
▪︎ Whoever wants to listen carefully to God’s word,
▪︎ Who meditates on God’s word,
▪︎ Who takes God’s word in and nourishes it ,
Receives a treasure of incomprehensible glory and riches.
The bottom line is that you really hold on to God’s Word.
Then it will really become harvest time (Mark 4:8,9,20; Luke 8:15; Romans 6:22)!
▪︎ Ask God to help you to stay out of things that keep you away from Him.
▪︎ Ask God to help you to seek His Kingdom above all else.
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