Mark 4
The Marcan Parable Sequence: Mark 4:1-34 1

1 And he began again to teach by the lakeshore; and an immense throng gathered close to him, so that he boarded a boat and sat on the lake, while the whole throng remained on the shore close to the lake. 2 2 And he would teach them frequently with riddle-talk 3 and would tell them in his instruction: 3 "Pay heed. 4You see, the sower went out to sow, and in the course of his sowing, some fell beside the path, and birds came and ate it up, 5 and some more fell on rocky ground without much soil, and it sprouted right away since the soil wasn't deep; 6 and when the sun came up, it burned and withered for lack of roots. 7 And some more fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it produced no crop. 8 and other seeds fell onto good soil and kept bearing fruit that sprouted and grew and yielded thirty-fold and sixty-fold and a hundred-fold." 5 And he would say, "Anyone with ears that can hear should pay heed."

10 And when they were off alone with him, his followers, including the Twelve, 6 put to him the question of the riddle-talk. 7 11 And he would tell them, "Yours is this gift: the hidden truth of God's reign, but for those outsiders everything comes in riddle-talk, 8 12 so that they won't see what their eyes can see, and won't hear what their ears can hear, and won't understand, and so will never come back to God and be forgiven." 9 13 Then he said to them, "You don't understand this parable? How then will you grasp any riddle-talk at all?" 10

14 "The sower sows the seed, 15 and here are people beside the road 11 where the message is sown, and when they hear it, Satan comes right away and takes away the message that was sown in them. 16 And here are others sown on rocky ground: when they hear the message they accept it happily, 17 but they have no roots of their own-they respond to circumstances, and so, when hard times or persecution arises because of the message, right away they find all manner of difficulties. 18 And others over here are ones sown among thorns; they have heard the message, to be sure, 19 but concerns of the moment and the lure of riches and wanting everything else crowd in and choke off the message so that it goes fruitless. 20 And over there are the ones sown on good soil, who hear the message and welcome it and produce fruit thirty-fold and sixty-fold and a hundred-fold. 12

21 And he would ask them, "Does a lantern get put beneath a basket or under the bed? Surely not, but on a lampstand. 22 No secret gets kept for any reason other than to be told; nothing gets hidden away for any reason other than to get revealed. 23 Anyone with ears that can hear should pay heed." 13 24 And he would urge them, "Pay attention to what you're hearing. You'll get back just as much as you put in and even more. 25 It's the one who has it in his grasp that will get more; the one who doesn't have a grip on it will let get away even what he is holding." 14

26 And he would say, "The reign of God is just like a man casting seed upon the ground 27 and sleeping and waking with the passage of nights and days, and the seed sprouts and grows tall without his understanding how. 28 The soil bears fruit of its own accord, first the blade and then the ear, and then the full grain in the ear. 29 and when the crop is ready, right away he sends out the reaper, because the harvest is at hand." 1530 And he would say, "Is there anything quite like the reign of God; Can we imagine anything approaching it? 31 It's like a grain of mustard-seed: when it is sown in the ground, it's smaller than any other seed on earth 32 but once sown, it sprouts and grows larger than any other plant; it puts out leaves so enormous that birds of the sky take shelter beneath them."

33 And with lots of riddle-talk like that he would proclaim the message just so far as they could hear and grasp it; 34 he would not speak before the throng without using riddle-talk, but privately he would disclose everything to his own disciples. 16

35 And when it got late that day he said to them, "Let's cross over to the far shore." 36 And they left the crowd behind and took him along, as he was in the boat, 17 and other boats were with him. 37 And a great wind-storm arose and dashed up the waves into the boat, so that the boat was soon filling with water. 38 Jesus himself was at the prow asleep on a pillow, so they roused him and said to him, "Rabbi, don't you care that we're sinking? 39 At which he rose and spoke sternly to the wind and said to the lake, "Be calm and hush!" At this the wind dropped and a great calm came over the lake. 40 Then he asked them, "Why are you cowards? Do you still not trust? 41 Then they were terrified utterly and began asking each other, "Who is this man then, that both wind and water heed his commands?" 18

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