Mark 4:21-41

v21-25, Most Jewish homes were lit with oil lamps. This was both beneficial and at the same time dangerous, as oil needed a safe & stable place to burn. So we see Jesus putting an emphasis on providing a basis for the light to shine effectively and safely. A lampstand is essential for safety and to help the light shine effectively. But the idea of judgment was on Christ’s mind, as he wanted his followers to recognize that if they treated the light of God with carelessness and apathy, then they would be judged. The very nature of this light needed care, and if they judged it unnecessary, neglecting it, they would get burnt! Just as we treat electricity with respect, so 1st century people had to treat oil lamps with respect. Jesus is the light of the world, and if people don’t pay close attention and learn the purpose of why he is teaching, they will suffer the consequences. Do not misuse the light of the world, use it efficiently! This parable is similar to Luke 8:16-18.

This parable is found only in Mark 4:26-29 and shows a complete picture of the coming of God’s kingdom: (1) sowing; (2) growth; (3) harvest. Some understand the parable as a reference to evangelism, but it does not seem to be the central idea. If you contrast it to the parable of the sower which emphasizes the quality of the different soils, this parable emphasizes the power of the seed to cause growth (with the clear implication that the mysterious growth of the kingdom is accomplished by God), without human understanding or observation.

v30-34, Jesus wanted us to have a clear understanding of the Kingdom of God, so most of his parables make comparisons to help us relate to the rule or domain of God’s Kingdom. Christ would become the King of kings, as the Kingdom of God entered the entire globe, and would not simply be represented by Israel any longer. So humankind needs to know it’s nature, values and purpose so that people of many different ways of life enter it, and grow in God’s domain with Christ ruling in their hearts. What do you believe is represented in his phrase, “so that the wild birds can nest in it’s shade?” A good way to see this from the past and into the future is to read Psalm 91:1-6 alongside Revelation 21:22-22:3. Keeping in mind that many christian soldiers die on the battlefield and many christian nurses die from contagions. While at the sametime, kings bring their glory into the New Jerusalem and the leaves of the tree of life in this city bring healing to the nations. How can we make sense of this? By looking at the benefits of God’s faithfulness in Christ in this life with all it’s perils. There is a reason why the western world has moved on from covid restrictions in September 2022, and China still suffers over 21 million people locked down! The kingdom of heaven grows like a mustard seed bush and the wild birds nest in it’s shade! The world benefits from God’s compassionate rule. Christians with this insight into Christ’s Kingdom are best at seeing the silver lining around any storm cloud that punishes our world. Hindus, Muslims, atheists and even Jews do not see His blessings like Christians do.

v35-41 “Peace, Be Still” is not a whispered request Christ makes to the wind and sea, but rather a command! See Mk. 9:25 & Luke 4:39. His authority overwhelms his disciples, amazing them. One day you and I will see his authority open the heavens and raise the dead on Judgment Day. Comfort and encourage each other with these words, 1st Thessalonians 4:14-18.

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