Mark 4 is a tremendous chapter about the integrity God's Word has—the power, the character, and the faith in it. There were at least ten parables taught during this one day. You have to compare Mark 4 with Matthew 13 and Luke 8 to come up with that.
There were a number of parables, one of which was about the sower sowing seed. In Mark 4:26 it says, "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground." Remember that in verse 14 it says this seed is the Word of God. God isn't really teaching you how to be a farmer, but is using a natural thing to illustrate spiritual truth.
Verse 27 says, "And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how." Now, I believe that's important. It says the man doesn't really understand. He doesn't know how this is happening.
Some people say, "I just don't understand what you're talking about. How can reading the Word of God really change me and cause God's life to come alive inside me?" I don't totally understand it, but I know it works. I don't understand how you can put a tiny seed in the ground and have an entire stalk of corn come up with ears of corn on it and reproduce a hundredfold. Nobody fully understands it, but it works, and I tell you that this works. Reading God's Word and letting it begin to saturate you changes your attitude, your experience, and your perceptions.
Verse 28 says, "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself." The earth was made to incubate seed, and to germinate and release that life. Your heart was made for the Word of God—it really was. God's Word was created to be placed in your heart. Just taking a Bible and holding it close, putting it on your coffee table, or carrying it with you doesn't have any virtue. It doesn't release power in your life. You have to take the Word, make it a seed, and plant it in your heart. When you do that, your heart is designed to bring forth fruit of itself. It will automatically change the way things work in your life.
The verse continues, "First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." This implies that there are stages or steps to growth and maturity. People come to me all the time expressing that they're believing God for something really good, a godly thing I can agree with. But if they have never done anything, if they have never led a person to the Lord, I can guarantee they aren't going to have a television or radio ministry within the next few weeks.
You have to do things in steps. There are stages to receiving from God, and that's what this parable is illustrating. First of all, you have to start, and then comes the hope, and then the faith, and then it produces results. There are always steps to victory. No one is going to go from zero to thousand miles per hour all at once. Though it may be a godly desire, it isn't going to work that way. This Scripture is showing that the kingdom of God is like a seed. The Word has to be planted in your heart, and growth comes in stages: first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. The next verse says, "But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." There are stages, but eventually there will come a time of fruitfulness and maturity.
The point is made in verse 35, "And the same day when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side." Jesus had been teaching them all day about the power of the Word, how the Word is like a seed, and how it will release God's life into your life. He'd been teaching them this in at least ten parables, so here He gives them a test. He tells them, "All right, here's the word from the Lord—let's go to the other side of the lake." He didn't say "Let's get into the boat, go halfway across the lake, and drown," but "Let's go to the other side." Then He got into the boat and went to sleep. The story goes that a great storm came and water filled the boat. You have to remember that this wasn't a cabin cruiser with berths below deck where Jesus was dry and didn't know what was going on. It was an open boat and Jesus was asleep, sloshing around in the water. The reason this was significant is because He knew what was going on, but He was still trying to sleep. The disciples got upset, came to Him, and said, "Master, don't you care that we perish?" In other words, they were saying, "Do something! Get a pail and bail water! Row, do something! You're not pulling your weight!"
Many times people do the same thing with God today and say, "God, why haven't you done something?" God has done something. He's provided everything we need through the atonement of the Lord Jesus. He has produced His Word and given us all these seeds. It's our job to sow them into our hearts. He's given us the Scripture, and it's our job to take the seed, put it in our hearts, and meditate on it until it releases life. But the disciples wanted to wake Jesus up and say, "Why don't you do something?" He got up, rebuked the wind and the waves, there was a calm. Then He turned around and said to His disciples, "Why are you so fearful? How is it you have no faith?" He didn't say, "Hey, guys, I'm sorry. I should have done something." No, His part was to teach them the Word and give them promises, and it was their part to take the Word and believe the promises. God has provided everything through Jesus coming to this earth. He gave you everything it takes to succeed in every area of your life in seed form in the Word. All you have to do is take the seeds of the Word of God and plant them in your hearts through reading it, meditating on it, thinking on it, and letting it take root on the inside of you. As you do that, you will be able to stand up and stop the storms in your life.
I believe God's best was for these disciples to take the teaching Jesus gave them that day and say, "Let's go over to the other side." They could have said, "According to everything He taught to us today, this is a promise. This is the Creator of the universe who said let's go to the other side, not let's go halfway and drown. They could have taken that word, mixed it with faith, and rebuked the wind and the waves. That's exactly what Jesus said: "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" You know what? We need to believe God's Word and act upon it.
- Read Matthew 13:19."When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." - Matthew 13:19If we do not plant God's Word into our hearts, what will happen to it?Answer
- Read Joshua 1:8."This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." - Joshua 1:8When should we meditate on God's Word?Answer
- Read John 6:63."It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." - John 6:63According to this verse, God's Word is spirit and life.Answer
- Read Matthew 4:4."But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4Mankind should live not by physical food alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.Answer
- Read Ephesians 6:17."And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." - Ephesians 6:17God's Word is like what kind of weapon?Answer
- Can a sword do damage to its enemy?Answer
- Read Romans 8:6."For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." - Romans 8:6When we give proper place to God's Word in our lives, we will have life and peace.Answer
- Read 2 Corinthians 3:18."But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 3:18What we set our attention on is what we become full of. What should we set our focus on?Answer