Day 12: Mark 4:1-9
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Mark 4:1-9 (NRSV)
Jesus was a great storyteller. And a lot of his stories have become quite familiar to us. This might be a story you have heard a time or two over the years. But I hope when the stories of Jesus are familiar to us, it doesn’t make us miss the message they may have for us. In this case (and in others, too), perhaps there is meaning under the surface we haven’t considered before.
Most of the time when Jesus told a story, it was about the Kingdom breaking in. And this story is no different. But, like a lot of his stories, it may have been hard for the people to hear. The people listening to Jesus had certain expectations about the arrival of the Kingdom, and they wouldn’t have likened it to a farmer sowing seed. Jesus himself says that part of the seed is wasted - choked by weeds, burnt up by the sun, lacking roots. His listeners could not conceive of this relating to the Kingdom. When the Kingdom came, wouldn’t it be so glaringly obvious that no one would miss it - that all the seed would take root and produce quite a crop?
But that was not the Kingdom Jesus brought.
When have our expectations of Jesus caused us to miss his subtle, quiet work around us? This Lent, has Jesus (or one of his people) tried to sow seeds in your life, but they’ve been choked out by other things, or they haven’t taken root?
Today, invite Jesus to sow into your life, and then watch for the unexpected ways he may do so.
Brad Taylor, Executive Pastor