Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Mark 4-5
He who has ears let him hear.
Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:1-9
He who has ears, let him hear. What does this mean? It means that if you are seeking, seek and you will find the meaning to these parables. The Father tells us this over and over. This is an important lesson to learn.
Not everyone is seeking. All too often we go around trying to feed folks who aren’t hungry, or who don’t even want to eat. Sure, we should be kind to them and live within the same compassion that our Messiah operated in, but we also need to recognize and discern the seeds that want to grow, who is seeking that fertile soil, and nourish those. Energy spent trying to convince someone who is determined not to be convinced is energy that could be spent on someone who is earnestly seeking to grow closer to the Father, who just needs that little bit of encouragement to help add in that final plank in their bridge. Remember, we, in and of ourselves, cannot turn anyone around. Only the Father can do that. He is working on us all – on His timeline.
I want to talk a little more about the seeds mentioned in Messiah’ parable. Notice that the seed is the same in each of these scenarios. It’s the soil that is different. The soil represents us and how we respond to the Word. Mark 4:14 tells us plainly that the seed is the Word.
The first type of soil are those who receive the word with joy but have no root and only endure for a little while, giving way when a trail or tribulation comes their way. This was me before I dedicated myself to reading, studying, and knowing the whole word of YHWH. I only had a surface faith. I was really more of a worshipper of Paul’s writings than I was the Father and our Messiah. I didn’t really know the foundation of my faith and I was happy just living on the surface because, out of context, the only part of the Bible I read told me that was enough. But I was longing for soil that my roots could grow down into – and I found that once I began to live out the fullness of my Faith by sitting at the Father’s feet daily, drinking of His wisdom every chance I get, and stepping down from that throne to put him in His rightful place in my life.
The second type of soil is one I think we can all relate to these days. It is filled with thorns. This is people who hear the Word “but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” It is so easy to get caught up in the cares of the world today, especially in a society that has allowed itself to be so divided against one another, especially within the body of believers where golden calfs abound.
What is the good soil? The good soil is those who hear the word of YHWH and apply it to their lives. May it be so with us.
In Mark 4:21-25 we move into another analogy of a lamp and a basket. This passage is referring to those to whom understanding of the Word has been given. We have a responsibility to share that with others who are seeking.
Generally, I’ve found there are two reactions to a light being turned on in a dark room: Some people will immediately close their eyes and shield their face from the light with their hand. Others will immediately turn to the light and open their eyes wider to see the source. Spiritually speaking, we are to look for that second group. The ones who have not shut their eyes and ears to the words of the Father. Of course, there is room for stragglers in the first group to come around, should they make that choice at a later time.
Mark 4:25 also encourages us that to those who hear, more will be given. Hearing is a choice. When we choose to hear the Father’s Word, when we choose to embrace and allow His wisdom into our lives, He will bless us with more of the same.
Both the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the seed growing in Mark 4:26-29 and Mark 4:30-32 both demonstrate several principles but one common theme is that our efforts are not what make the difference, it is that when we partner with the Father, the harvest is more wonderful than anything our minds could ever fathom.
Mark 4:35-41 is the story of the storm and the boat. There are many facets to the Bible’s wisdom and the important thing is for us to know the text, so that the Father can reveal it to us as He sees fit, in His timing.
Today, the facet I see of this story is this: The storm was raging. The boat was being tossed about along with those in it. Messiah was at peace. Once they focused on Him, He calmed the storm. How often do the waves call our attention away from the very Savior they should cause us to focus on? Rightly so, when this happened, Messiah questioned their faith.
Mark 5:1-20 After having read the whole Word and knowing that pigs are unclean, it seems especially fitting that these unclean spirits would be sent out of their human victim and into them. However, many scholars have pointed out that pigs know how to swim and so it doesn’t make sense that they would have all drowned. One author pointed out that pigs are also known to be incredibly intelligent, more-so than dogs.
While it is clear from the text that the demons hoped to go into the pigs to preserve themselves, it doesn’t make sense that they would simply go into the pigs and then commit suicide. One thought, then, is that the pigs intentionally went off the cliff and killed themselves in order to avoid being tormented by the demons. This also demonstrates the principle of sacrifice being necessary in order to break the hold of evil on the world. I think this is a bit of a stretch in my mind, but definitely within the realm of possibility, especially considering the actions of some other animals we read about in the Word (Balaam’s donkey).
Why the pigs? While these could have been wild, it is a known fact that the town of Gerasenes was primarily inhabited by Gentiles. Remember, Messiah said that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. These gentiles did not live by the standards set by YHWH and as such it is likely that pigs were a food source for them. Without benefiting from YHWH’s authority over what was and was not food, they could have eaten any number of animals that a Jew would not even consider, such as rat, cat, dog, eel, and bats, too!
The book of Mark is one that helps me digest all of the information gleaned in Matthew by giving me additional time to ruminate, re-read a slightly different perspective of many events. I hope you’re enjoying the Gospels so far! I’d really like to hear if you’ve learned something new that surprised you in the Gospels so far. Let me know in the comments in the group – and leave your rabbit trails, too!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!