Read Mark 4 - 5
In Today's Reading:
Jesus' parables; the storm stilled; a legion of demons cast out; Jairus' daughter raised
In a parable, Jesus described four kinds of responses from those who hear His Word, saying: Behold, there went out a sower to sow. . . . Some (seed) fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it (Mark 4:1-4). This means that some people respond to the Gospel with self-destroying indifference. They represent the hearer who expresses no concern for spiritual values but is open to pleasures and self-indulgence Satan comes immediately, and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts (4:15).
Others who hear His Word are like seed sown on stony ground (4:5). At first they are receptive but soon lose interest. These are they . . . who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for (because of) the Word's sake, immediately they are offended (4:16-17). "Stony places" means solid rock beneath a shallow covering of soil. These "converts" appear promising and full of life; but when they are confronted with a lifestyle that is inconsistent with the Christian life, or persecution because of the Word of God, they immediately quit.
Other "converts" are like seed sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful (4:18-19). Such people seem to recognize the true worth of Christ and eternal life, but they have never made a break from their past. When the things of the world that keep a person from being devoted to the Lord are not weeded out, they gradually take control of their hearts and spiritual interests are eventually crowded out.
But a more serious group of people who hear the Word of God are like seed sown on good ground; such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred
(4:20) By faith
, these people break up their stony places, removing the things that hinder spiritual growth. They root out the weeds and thorns of mixed motives from their lives thus making it possible to bear much fruit.
Jesus has said to all: I am the Vine, you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit (John 15:5).
5:26 bettered = improved; 5:30 virtue = healing power.
For Mark 4:12: See Isa. 6:9-10.
Pray for BP Staff: Benjamin Wallace · Government Official: Rep. Steven Rothman (NJ) · Country: Trinidad and Tobago (1 million) two islands seven miles off the coast of Venezuela · Major languages: English and Hindi · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 29% Roman Catholic; 25% Hindu; 7% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for His mercy (Numbers 12:11-14).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 2:14