Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’ – Revelation 14:6-7
As I get to know student ministry leaders in dozens of countries around the world, one of the most important topics we constantly keep at the forefront is the Gospel of Jesus and how we can communicate it effectively to young people. As the passage from Revelation above excites our imagination about the activity of God in the spiritual realm to spread the yeast of his Good News to every tribe, tongue, and culture, we need to keep reminding ourselves that evangelism is absolutely central to the mission of the church. As we explore the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-9 in this post, I want to encourage you that no matter how hard you find it is to share the Gospel, or how discouraged you get, never give up on introducing people to Jesus. The central message of this parable is exactly that: NEVER NEVER NEVER STOP SOWING.
Each of the four Gospels are a type of “Top 10” list. We know that Jesus did and said more things than any library could hold… but the Holy Spirit in his perfect wisdom gave each Gospel writer a kind of “Top 10” list to record those events, experiences, and teachings that fully told the story of the Good News of Jesus.
For example, to illustrate, in just the 3 chapters of the Gospel of Mark, he records enough one-liners from Jesus to easily make a “Top 10” list of some of the most awe-inspiring statements Jesus ever made…
10. “Repent and believe the good news.”
9. “Come follow me.”
8. “Be quiet, come out of him.”
7. “I am willing… be clean!”
6. “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
5. “Why are you thinking these things?”
4. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
3. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.”
2. “If a house is divided against itself that house cannot stand.”
1. “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
THE GOSPEL OF MARK SHOWS WHO JESUS IS BY WHAT HE DID & SAID
So here is the main text we want to consider in this post:
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” -Mark 4:1-9
As I see it, Jesus was like the guy jumping off the diving board throwing down HUGE canon balls and getting everyone wet. At this point of his ministry everyone was watching. He was making a huge splash.
The first three chapters of Mark brings a sharp focus to the identity of Jesus, and presents him to Mark’s primarily Gentile audience as UNARGUABLY the central figure of all of history.
Now something really intersesting happens in the Gospel Mark as we get to the Parable of the Sower in chapter 4. Even though large crowds were overwhelmingly ATTRACTED to Jesus… at the same time there began an emergence of groups of people who were ABANDONING Him. The religious elite, and some common people couldn’t handle some of Jesus’ hard teachings so they rejected him and abandoned the crowds. Not only were people following him in droves, some were also ditching him and even saying nasty things about him as they walked away.
YOU HAVE TO GRASP THE CONTEXT OF MARK 4:1-9 TO UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS WAS TALKING ABOUT
So by the time we get to Mark 4, the disciples are completely shell-shocked. The stuff they’ve seen Jesus do is rocking their world. The enthusiasm of the crowds following him is completely overwhelming, and yet they are confused as to why the most religiously educated leaders who allegedly knew the most about the long-awaited Son of God are ditching him and slandering his name.
They are disoriented.
Jesus wasn’t behaving like the Messiah they were expecting… he walks around from village to village teaching and loving on people… Why wasn’t he garnering any political support to bring together an army of followers to take back the land that the Jews rightfully belonged to them? Secondly, The religious elite and many others are disowning Jesus and even worse, some are calling him possessed (like we saw in Mark 3.) So the disciples are thinking, “Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”
Well Jesus, knowing that his disciples are dizzy with conflicting thoughts… addresses their confusion in this parable. That is where we find ourselves in the text as we dive into the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-19:
Click here to hear learn more and hear my talk on “Never Stop Sowing. Evangelism and the Meaning of the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-9”
- What are three things you think the Lord might be speaking to you about from this message?
- What are three ways you and your team could grow together as Sowers of the Gospel this year?