“And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” Mark 4:21-25 (KJV)
For the second time in chapter four Jesus uses the phrase “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear”. What we have been given by God’s grace can be seen by all. Our life, our work, our play, our family, is a witness to all around us. How bright is that light shining from me? How about with you? Is the light of Christ clearly displayed for all to see.
Jesus says that what has been in secret will be revealed. The Gospel is to the unbelieving something hard to understand and is “hidden” until the Spirit of God turns on the light. To the unbelieving the preaching of the cross is foolishness; to the Jew it is a stumbling block.
God has given to every believer the light to shine for all to see. We have been given much, so much is required of us. Let us not lose what God has blessed us with. The blessed gift and privilege of sharing Christ with others can be lost if we are not sharing the story. The more you share the gospel with others the more you will enjoy it and the better it will get. To have a gift and not use it is to lose it.
“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4:26-29 (KJV)
It is a marvel of God’s creation how a seed can be dropped onto the earth’s soil and it spring up and bring forth life. Only God really knows how that happens. It is a matter of life.
The farmer knows what he is to do, and that begins with plowing the ground – for a good crop – and preparing it for the seed. He will then sow the seed, and wait patiently for it to grow into a harvest. That seed will struggle and push its way up through the soil, it will grow to its highest potential, with “blades” of the plant it is supposed to be and eventually bring forth its fruit. After reaching its time of harvest the farmer then will proceed to gather the harvest, and usually with much joy.
The good farmer knows the right time to harvest the grain. When that time comes he puts in the “sickle” and brings in the harvest.
“And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” Mark 4:30-34 (KJV)
The growth of this mustard plant is not normal. It even shelters the “Fowls of the air” which are seen in the previous “parable” as being representative of the devil.
There is a tree which is seen in the fourth chapter of Daniel where it is said of it that the “birds of the air” rested in its branches. This can be found in Daniel 4:11-12.
“The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. Daniel 4:11-12 (KJV)”
The “Mustard seed” is one of the smallest seeds known to man. When Christ started the church He began with only twelve, and over the years it has grown and flourished. It is not without problems or problem people, but it still continues to grow. Within this Kingdom there is good and evil, and the good will triumph because Jesus Christ is its Head. Warren Wiersbe states, “The growth of the kingdom will not result in the conversion of the world. In fact, some of the growth will give opportunity for Satan to get in and go to work!” It is imperative that we understand that the church is not perfect. It is basically a “Hospital” with “sick” people. Someone once made the statement, that “If you find a perfect church, and you go there, it is no longer perfect.” There are members within many churches who are not genuinely Christian. They “came forward” during an invitation, “took the preachers hand” or someone else’s, they filled out a card and there was no giving of self to Christ as Savior or Lord. When the local church is made up of saved and lost people it is no wonder there will be problems in the congregation.
We must note that the “birds” who are resting in the branches of the tree are not part of the tree. They only find solace, security, and some sanctimoniousness.
What Jesus started with only twelve people has grown to be millions. The Church of Jesus Christ will not fail. She will prevail, because Jesus has already conquered sin, death, hell, the devil, and the grave.
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 (KJV)
After giving the parables and teachings he had given on this same day he got in one of the boats and said, “Let’s go to the other side”. Now, what is on the other side? Gadara. There is a need for Jesus to go there, and He goes.
On the way to the “Other side” Jesus goes to sleep in the stern of the boat. While He sleeps a storm that frightens even the seasoned fishermen – Peter, Andrew, James and John. Even these guys are afraid that they are going to die. Jesus is still sleeping. Unafraid, unencumbered with the weights of this incident He sleeps. There are three reasons a man or woman can sleep during storms of life. First of all, physically exhausted, or dead. Secondly, emotionally drained or depressed due to a rebellious attitude toward God. Thirdly, they are at perfect peace with God. Which one of those categories did Jesus fit into? That is really a crazy question. He is Deity, God in Flesh. Of course He was at perfect peace with God. He knew His destiny. He knew God’s plan for His life. How about you?
One thing we as Christians need reminded of from time to time is that we are still going to have some storms in our lives. We are not exempt from them at all.
These seasoned fishermen saw that this storm was different or they would not have been so afraid as they were. Because they were afraid they went to the right person. They went and roused Jesus from His sleep. Jesus was somewhat disappointed with their faith – or lack thereof. They must not have been sure of their destiny, or God’s plan for their lives, or Jesus’ life for that matter. If they would have believed Jesus’ previous words they would not have been afraid of the storm. They would have kept on rowing; knowing and believing that they would reach their destination on “The Other side”. Jesus had an appointment in Jerusalem He had to keep, and nothing would deter Him from that meeting.
At the storm they were afraid of it, now they suddenly turn their fear toward Jesus. They really were not afraid of the storm; rather they were afraid of dying. Now they have their eyes opened, and they receive a proper fear. A fear of God, for here, standing with them is the One who made the elements, which causes the storm, and now calls them to be at peace. Now the disciples can be at peace.
WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS THIS? That is the best question. He is the God-man. Jesus Christ the incarnate One; worthy of praise, honor and glory. It is to Him alone that we owe our complete allegiance, and to no other.
-Tim A. Blankenship