January 29, 2017 Series: The Drama of the Gospel: What It is and How It Changes Everything
Passage: Mark 4:1–4:20
In our study thus far of the gospel of Mark we have seen where Mark has taken us. He stated his purpose right at the outset of his gospel, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1). Then, after going through some of the history of John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus begins his public ministry with the words, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In other words, Jesus’ proclamation of the gospel was a proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom. Those two things go together. The gospel is the good news of the story of the kingdom. And as we this morning look at the parable of the sower we see that this parable tells the story of the kingdom. In this passage we see three things about the kingdom story. We see first of all that it is a secret story. That is, it reveals a mystery. Second, it is a subversive story. The kingdom doesn’t come in any way that was usual or expected. And finally it is a salvation story.
The story of the kingdom is a salvation story. In John 12 Jesus says, unless a grain of wheat (seed) falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also (John 12:24-26) What is Jesus’ work that the parable of the sower tells? For a seed to bear thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundredfold fruit it must fall into the earth and die. If it doesn’t fall into the earth and die it remains alone (bears no fruit). And what did Jesus do? He went and died. He showed that the seed produces and releases its power through weakness, not strength, through death (and resurrection) not a bold assertion of power.