Mark 4:21-41 (Wednesday Evening Bible Study)

Mark 4:21-41

  • Mark 4:21-25
  • 21 He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. 25 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
  • We mentioned when we started this study that Matthew and Luke most likely used Mark as a source for their writings. Here is one example where we see differences between Mark and Matthew. Mark has these sayings of Jesus written consecutively, but Matthew has them spread around.
    • Mark 4:21 is found in Matthew 5:15
    • Mark 4:22 is found in Matthew 10:26
    • Mark 4:24  is found in Matthew 7:2
    • Mark 4:25 is found in Matthew 13:12 and Matthew 25:29
  • What do we take from this difference?
    • While these are sayings of Jesus, they may not be connected
    • Jesus more than likely said all of these more than once, as He taught in different locations to different people at different times during His ministry
    • Mark chose to record them together, Matthew spread them around. There is a chance that they were both correct in one way or another
  • 4:21 A lamp is meant to be seen and to help people see; and it is put in a place where it will be visible to all.
    • Truth is meant to be seen
      • Martin Luther nailing his 95 Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Church on Nov. 1
    • Our Christianity is meant to be seen
      • It is often easier to keep quiet the fact that we belong to Christ and His church; but our Christianity should always be seen by everyone
  • 4:22-23 Truth ultimately cannot be hidden
    • It applies to truth itself There is something about the truth which is indestructible. Some people may refuse to face it; they may try to suppress it; they may even try to obliterate it; they may refuse to accept it, but great is the truth and in the end it will prevail.
      • Copernicus discovered that the Earth was not the center of the universe and that the Sun did not revolve around the Earth.
      • He did not publish his findings until he was about to die, and it was not well received
      • Galileo accepted Copernicus’ discovery, and publicly stated so
      • He was summoned to Rome and forced to recant his statement or die
      • After a new Pope was in place, Galileo again publicly stated his beliefs, and again was forced to recant or be tortured. He again recanted, but was still thrown into prison
      • Even Martin Luther, who was opposing the Roman Catholic Church, thought of Copernicus as a heretic. “People gave ear to an upstart astrologer (Copernicus) who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon…this fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy: but the sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
      • Each of us must take care that we are not fighting against the truth
    • It applies to ourselves and to our own life and conduct
  • 4:24 In life there is always a balance. How much we give determines how much we get (not talking about offerings, although I do believe that it is impossible to out-give God)
    • In our study
      • The more time we put into the study of something, the more we are able to grasp
    • In our worship
      • The more we bring to worship, the more we get from it
      • Worship should be a lifestyle and not just something we do for 3-4 hours a week
      • There are three ways we come ill-prepared for corporate worship though
        • We come entirely for what we can get
          • What can I get out of this service? Instead of “What can I contribute to this service?
          • The likelihood is that we will criticize the music, find fault with the message, or will regard the whole service as a performance for our entertainment instead of it all being for God’s glory
        • We come without expectation
          • Going through the motions
        • We come without preparation
          • We haven’t spent time with God throughout the week, and our hearts aren’t right for a corporate worship gathering
    • In our personal relationships
      • If we are always in a bad mood, then we don’t connect with and build relationships with others.
      • Not saying that we can’t have bad days, but you really do get out of relationships what you put into them
  • 4:25 The whole lesson of life is that it is inevitably and profoundly true that the more we have the more we will given
    • Knowledge
      • The more we learn about a subject, the more we are able to continue to learn about a subject
      • You don’t become an expert in something before learning the basics
    • Effort
      • The more physical activity we do, the more capacity we have for physical activity
      • The opposite is also true; the less we do, the less we are capable of doing
    • Skill or Craft
      • The more we develop the skill of hand, or eye, or mind, the more we are able to develop it. If we are content to drift along, never trying anything new, never adopting any new technique, we remain stuck in the one job with no progress. If we neglect our particular skill, we will find in the end that we have lost it altogether
      • My mom always talks about how she used to be able to sing really well, but she stopped singing specials and solos in church. After a while of this, she lost her ability or skill to sing like she could before
    • Ability to bear responsibility. The more decisions we compel ourselves to make, the better we are able to make them. But if we shirk our responsibilities, if we evade decisions and waver all the time, in the end we will become flabby, spineless creatures totally unfit for responsibility and totally unable to come to any decision at all
  • Mark 4:26-29
  • 26 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. 28 The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. 29 As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
  • God’s Kingdom will grow through Him
    • This is the only parable found in Mark that is not found in any other gospel and it tells us  unmistakeable truths
      • Humans are helpless
        • We cannot create anything. Yes, we plant, but we don’t make the seed grow (figuratively or literally) (Paul planted, Apollos watered, but it was God who grew it)
      • The Kingdom of God (and how nature gives us an idea of how the Kingdom works)
        • Nature’s growth is often imperceptible
          • When you see someone or something day after day, it is often hard to see growth, but if you see someone or something after a longer period of time, that growth becomes apparent
        • Nature’s growth is constant
        • Nature’s growth is inevitable
          • Tree roots break through concrete and weeds come through asphalt
      • There is a time when it will be too late
        • There is a day when the harvest comes. Inevitably when the harvest comes, two things happen
          • The good fruit is gathered
          • The weeds are destroyed
        • Three things that this lays upon us
          • It is a summons to patience
            • We are creatures of the moment and inevitably we think in terms of the moment. God has all eternity in which to work
          • It is a summons to hope
            • We are living in an atmosphere of despair, but there is hope if we are Christ followers
          • It is a summons to preparedness
            • There are no more chances once Christ returns. We have to be ready on that day
      • Mark 4:30-32
      • 30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? 31 It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
      • From the smallest to the greatest
      • Two pictures that the Jews would automatically see
        • In Palestine a grain of mustard seed stood for the smallest possible thing. It did in fact grow into something very like a a tree, taller than a man riding on a horse
          • Birds were very fond of the seeds, and it was not uncommon to see a cloud of birds on or flying over a mustard tree
        • OT great empires were described like a tree and the tributary nations within it were said to be like birds finding shelter within the shadow of it branches
      • The figure of a tree with birds in the branches therefore stands for a great empire and the nations which form part of it. The parable tells us a few things
        • Never be daunted by small beginnings 
          • Drops of dye in a bucket of water
          • We often feel that for all that we can do, it is hardly worth while starting a thing at all. But we must remember this—everything must have a beginning. Nothing emerges full grown. It is our duty to do what we can; and the cumulative effect of all the small efforts can in the end produce an amazing result 
        • It speaks of the “empire” of the Church
          • The Church began with an individual and it is meant to end with the world
          • The Church is an empire in which all kinds of opinions and all kinds of theologies can find a place
            • Restoration Movement tenant: We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only
          • The Church is an empire in which all nations meet
            • Stained glass commission for a new church based on Ann Shepherd’s hymn “Around the throne of God in heaven, Thousands of children stand
            • Painter originally painted all of the children white until he dreamed of Jesus repainting the children all of the colors of the world
            • “Why! It’s God’s family at home.”
            • The Church is the family of God; and that Church which began in Palestine, small as a mustard seed, has room in it for every nation in the world. There are no barriers in the Church of God. The barriers are of our own making, and God in Christ has torn them down
  • Mark 4:33-34
  • 33 He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
  • The wise teacher and student
  • Jesus taught to the ability of those who were listening to Him
    • Kit vs. Andy
  • There are two dangers that wise teachers must avoid
    • Self-display
      • The goal is to draw attention to the subject, not the teacher
    • Aura of Superiority
      • True teaching does not consist in telling people things. It consists in learning things together
      • There are certain qualities which those who would teach must constantly seek to acquire
        • Teachers must possess understanding
          • We have to understand why someone is struggling with understanding before we can help them understand
        • Teachers must possess patience
          • Jewish Rabbi Hillel said, “An irritable man cannot teach”
        • Teachers must possess kindness
          • Cannot poke fun of someone that is not understanding something that we are teaching in a way that turns them off to learning at all
          • Kelley and her math teacher
      • There are certain qualities that students should seek to display as well
        • Wise students do not go away to forget
          • They go away to think over what they have heard. Wise students go away, not to forget what they have learned, but quietly to think it over until they have discovered what it means for like and for living for themselves
        • They seek the teacher’s company
  • Mark 4:35-41
  • 35 On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
  • In the storms of life, Jesus gives us peace
    • In sorrow of loss, we have peace in Jesus
    • When we don’t know what to do, we can find peace in Jesus
    • We find peace in Him when anxiety and the worries of life engulf us

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