Mark 4

The Parable of the Sower

[Once] again, [Jesus] began to teach beside the sea, and [such] a large crowd gathered around Him that He got into a boat [and] sat in [it] , while all the people crowded along the shore. And He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said, “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. And as he was sowing, some [seed] fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Some fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun rose, [the seedlings] were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other [ seed ] fell among thorns, [which] grew up and choked [the seedlings] , and [they] yielded no crop. Still other [seed] fell on good soil, [where it] sprouted, grew up, and produced a crop— one bearing thirtyfold, another sixtyfold, and another a hundredfold.” Then [Jesus] said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of Jesus' Parables

10  As soon as [Jesus] was alone [with] the Twelve and those around Him, they asked Him [about] the parable. 11  He replied, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside, everything is expressed in parables, 12  so that, ‘vvv they may be ever seeing [but] never perceiving, and ever hearing [but] never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.’”
Isaiah 6:9,10

The Parable of the Sower Explained

13  Then [Jesus] said to them, “vvv Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand [any of] the parables? 14  The farmer sows the word. 15  [Some] are like the [seeds] 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. 16  [Some] are like the [seeds] sown on rocky ground. [They] hear the word [and] at once receive it with joy. 17  But they themselves have no root, [and] they remain for only a season. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18  [Others] are like the [seeds] sown among the thorns. [They] hear the word, 19  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in [and] choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20  Still [others] are like the [seeds] sown on good soil. [They] hear the word, receive [it] , and produce a crop— thirtyfold, sixtyfold, [or] a hundredfold.”

The Lesson of the Lamp

21  [Jesus] also said to them, “Does [anyone] bring in a lamp so he can place [it] under a basket or under a bed? Doesn’t he set it on a lampstand? 22  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will [not] be brought to light. 23  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24  He went on to say, “Pay attention to what you hear. With [the] measure you [use] , it will be measured to you, and even more will be added to you. 25  For whoever has will be given [more] . [But] whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

The Seed Growing Secretly

26  [Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed on the ground. 27  Night and day he sleeps and wakes, and the seed sprouts and grows, [though] he knows not how. 28  All by itself the earth produces a crop— first [the] stalk, then [the] head, then grain [that] ripens within. 29  And as soon as the grain is ripe, he swings the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30  Then He asked, “To what can we compare the kingdom of God? With what parable shall we present it? 31  It is like a mustard seed, which is [the] smallest of all seeds sown upon the earth. 32  But after it is planted, it grows to be the largest of all garden plants and puts forth great branches, so that the birds of the air nest in its shade.” 33  With many such parables [Jesus] spoke the word to them, to the extent that they could understand. 34  He did not say [anything] to them without a parable. But privately He explained everything to His own disciples.

Jesus Calms the Storm

35  When that evening came, He said to [His disciples] , “Let us cross to the other side.” 36  After they had dismissed the crowd, they took [Jesus] with them, since He was already in the boat. And there were other boats with Him. 37  Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that [it] was being swamped. 38  But [Jesus] was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. [So] they woke Him and said, “Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?” 39  Then [Jesus] got up [and] rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm. 40  “Why are you so afraid?” He asked. “Do you still have no faith?” 41  Overwhelmed with fear, they asked one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
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