Friday, January 28, 2011


Mark 4:26-34 26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." 30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

1. The kingdom is like the seed cast into the ground (4:26). The sower lives through his sleeping and waking hours. The human being, has nothing to do with the seed’s growing into the blade that cuts through the soil, then the green ear, and finally the ripe grain. He returns to the action only when he puts in the sickle for the reaping of a harvest that owes nothing to his efforts.

2. The image of harvest and the usage of sickle for the same recall the prophetic description of the end time and God’s final judgment in Joel 3: 13. Kingdom of God is like the mystery of growth, beyond human control.

3. The kingdom of God will grow and bear fruit, but it will not be the result of the successful labor of the disciples. The harvest is the outcome of the gracious gift of God, despite the ambiguity of those who sow the seed.

4. It is known to us all the mustard seed is not the smallest of seeds, but it is used only to show its smallness. A mustard seed did in fact grow into something very like a tree. A traveler in Palestine speaks of seeing a mustard plant which, in its height, was higher than a horse and its rider. The birds are very fond of this black seed and we can always see a cloud of birds over a mustard plant.

5. This parable says, never to be daunted by small beginnings. It may seem that at the moment we can produce only a very small effect; but if that small effect is repeated it will become very great. Everything must have a beginning. Nothing emerges fully grown.

We give credit to the organization of an event only when the minute details are taken care. Diligence in small things adds to the degree of perfection. We give paramount importance to small things simply because we take bigger things for granted. When a person builds a huge house spending a lot of money, he is more concerned about choosing the colour of the paints, type of electric switches, design of the taps and other small details. We need to take a little more care in little things. If a person who loves his/her beloved wholeheartedly fails to smile at him/her, the love which he/she has for his/her beloved does not make much meaning to him/her.


The Gospel of Mark a Commentary – Francis Moloney

William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

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