Week 4: Mark 4: What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?

Monday: Listen!!                                                                            vv1-9

‘Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”’ v9

If we want to be changed through this series on Mark, we are going to need to learn to listen.  Jesus uses parables because he wants to explain things that are stunningly difficult to grasp in a way that we can understand. But understanding will only come when we truly learn to listen to what He is saying.  As you sit to read through the different bits of the chapter this week, spend some time asking God to give you those ears to hear and a heart to understand what he’s saying to you.

Tuesday: By their fruits, you will know them.                vv10-20

‘Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.’ v20

It’s quite clear here.  If we are that ‘good soil’, the seed of the word of God will grow, it will produce fruit and it will be obvious.  People will know by what they see in us.  We will know by what we see in ourselves.  Can you see fruit growing?  Are you becoming more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, good, faithful, self controlled?  If not, try coming back to the Sower and ask him to prepare the ground with good soil. Pull up the thorns and make your roots go down deep into his marvellous love.

Wed: It’s not enough to just listen.                                       vv21-25

‘ “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.’ v24

We’ve talked this week about listening to the word and really hearing it, letting it take root in us and grow the fruit of the Spirit.  Here, Jesus is telling us that we need not only to listen, we then need to consider carefully what we have heard and try to understand what it means in our lives.  The promise is that if we do so, we will learn more and more and our lives will be changed.  The flip side of that, of course, is that if we don’t, our knowledge and understanding of the truth will lessen and we will miss out.

Thurs:  The Kingdom of Heaven is…                                   vv26-34

‘All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.’ v28

It may not feel like it sometimes, but the Kingdom of God is growing.  We may watch the news and feel as though Satan is winning but he’s not. God is the farmer who has planted the seed in the ground and is now patiently waiting until the time when the harvest can be taken in.  When you are feeling despondent with the way the world is, hold on to this and also to the truth in the second parable today; that it may feel like you’re in a minority at the moment but the Kingdom of God is going to be HUGE and you are a part of it!

Fri: This Jesus!                                                                          vv35-41

‘He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.’ v39

This, this is the God we adore;

our faithful, unchangeable friend;

whose love is as great as his power,

and neither knows measure nor end.

‘Tis Jesus the first and the last

whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;

we’ll praise him for all that is past,

and trust him for all that’s to come.

Joseph Hart (1712-68)