Prior to Jesus mentioning the kingdom of God has come near in chapter 1, He mentions it three times here in Chapter 4. Yesterday we heard Him tell His disciples in private that the secret of the kingdom of God had been give to them while everyone else would be given parables. Then Jesus proceeded to explain the parable to the disciples. In today’s reading, Jesus uses three more parables in teaching about the kingdom of God along with a great lesson for the disciples regarding resting in the storm.
This little light of mine… Jesus continued His teaching by reminding the people that things are not meant to be hidden, but to be revealed. One doesn’t purchase a gift and keep it wrapped. Instead, it is meant to be opened by the person receiving it and then to be enjoyed by the person.
The next two parables return again to the picture of sowing. Both the man who sows, waits, and then harvests as well as the mustard seed, the tiniest of all seeds, is planted and grows to the largest of all point to what the kingdom of God is like. This should encourage us to be the sowers planting and when we see that souls are ripe for the harvest, we should not cast our sickle aside and let someone else reap, but should step out in faith and ask the friend, neighbor, or loved one, “Would you like to put your complete faith and trust in God today?” We should be growing to produce a crop that is 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown so that others can find support and rest in the branches that have born fruit in our lives. We should also be a resting place for new believers to receive nurture and support so that they in turn can grow to be large and a place of refuge for others as well.
What a privilege the disciples had in their time with Jesus. Jesus would speak to the crowds in parables, but in private Jesus would explain everything to them. How can Jesus explain anything to us if we are not with Him?
When evening comes, Jesus decides to go over to the other side of the sea. Here is the exchange:
“On that day, when evening had come, He told them, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.’ So they left the crowd and took Him along since He as already in the boat. And other boats were with Him.” (Mark 4:35-36)
Pause right there. Can’t you just picture this scene? Jesus tells them let’s go over to the other side. They leave the crowds and walk with Him to the boats. Jesus is the first to get in and the disciples think, well I guess we will go ahead and take Him since He is in our boat. Were the disciples really considering not having Jesus in their boat with them? Do we sometimes consider not taking Jesus with us?
A storm comes up and waves begin to break over the boat and the boats around them. Imagine these experienced fishermen doing all they could to keep the boat from sinking while Jesus is in the stern of the boat sleeping on a cushion. Sense how rough the boat is as the men try to keep their footing. Hear their voices calling out to one another over the loud waves and thunder. All their knowledge and understanding as fishermen was being put to the test.
Then, all of a sudden, they remember they have someone on board who can surely save them if He can heal and cast out demons. The disciples find Jesus asleep on the cushion and criticize Him for not caring about them. The disciples thought that their circumstance was causing them to die and that Jesus didn’t care. Do we sometimes fell like our circumstances are swallowing us up and that God doesn’t care?
Awakening to the words, ‘Teacher, don’t You care that we are going to die (4:28)?,’ Jesus rises from His cushion where He was at perfect peace, rebukes the wind and tells the sea to be silent and calm. At His word it becomes reality. He turns to the disciples and asks them, Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith (4:40)?”
How were the disciples to respond? Could they have been remembering Psalm 89:9, ‘You rule the raging sea; when its waves surge, You still them,’ when they asked each other, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him?’ Jesus was not concerned at all about the raging, loud sea. He wanted to see if the disciples could rest in the middle of a storm knowing that Christ was enough. They did not have to strive in their own strength to save their lives. They only had to cast their cares on the Almighty and He carried them through. We too need not fear, but rest in the promises found in Proverbs 3:21-26:
“Maintain your competence and discretion. My son, don’t lose sight of them. They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.”
Lord, help me to be willing to be with Jesus wherever He decides to go. Help me to imitate Jesus in how I handle the storms that come. Help me to follow His example to rest and not fear sudden danger. May I cast my cares on the One who will be my confidence and keep my feet from a snare.
During my first 31 Days I wrote on this same passage under the topic of security. You can read my thoughts from 3 years ago here: Dying to Security