In Today's Scripture Reading:
Jesus' parables; the storm stilled; a legion of demons cast out; Jairus' daughter raised
Jesus described in a parable 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 cometh immediately, and taketh 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 ariseth 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 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 becometh unfruitful (4:18-19). Such people seem to recognize the true worth of Christ and eternal life, but 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 an 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, and they bear much fruit.
Jesus has said to all: I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit (John 15:5).
4:24 mete =eal out to others; 5:19 suffered him not =efused.
For Mark 4:12: See Isaiah 6:9-10; Jeremiah 5:21; Ezekiel 12:2.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Steven Rothman (NJ) • Country: Maldives (300,000) 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka • Major languages: Divehi and English • Christian witnessing is banned • 99.9% Muslim; .1% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for understanding of His will as you read the Word of God (Psalm 25:5).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:7