Read Mark 4:21-34
In this second half of chapter 4, Mark continues his presentation of the parables of Jesus. There are three parables: the lamp on the stand, the seeds of the harvest, and the mustard seed. Then in verse 33, Mark indicates that these were but a sample. He says, “With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.” Again, as stated yesterday, Jesus wasn’t presenting the parables that the hearers might grasp the Truth intellectually; rather, His purpose was to draw them to Him with stories to which they could relate. The majority of the parables here and in the other synoptic Gospels were agrarian stories. This was an agrarian culture, and the people could relate to stories about seeds and harvests.
Mark’s experience of the Good News was the profound grace that he was shown by the Lord and the chosen leaders of the Church. For him, the Kingdom of God was dramatically different from what he had expected when he failed in his first attempts to carry out his calling. There was no condemnation. There was no open rejection of Him by Jesus, or Barnabas, or Peter. There was only grace. The nature of the Kingdom is declared to the people, not in intellectual precepts and reasoned arguments. Jesus’ use of parables is designed to present the Kingdom by comparison to common things that the people may grasp.
Ultimately what Mark is presenting in the three parables, and the brief explanation accompanying them, is that the Word of God is Truth, and there is power in the implanted Word. When received, the Word brings light, it works deep in the spirit of the one receiving it, and the Word will produce abundant fruit in and through us. We don’t need to understand how that works, we simply need to yield to His power made manifest through us by the Holy Spirit.