This is Episode #289 and today we’ll read Mark chapters 4-5 together. A little girl is raised from the dead, Jesus calms a storm, and 2000 pigs take a dive off a cliff.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #289 and today we’ll read Mark chapters 4-5 together. A little girl is raised from the dead, Jesus calms a storm, and 2000 pigs take a dive off a cliff.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Mark Chapter 4
The Parable of the Sower
Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them, “Listen!
“Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly, since the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit. Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.” Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”
Why Jesus Used Parables
When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that
they may indeed look,
and yet not perceive;
they may indeed listen,
and yet not understand;
otherwise, they might turn back
and be forgiven.”
The Parable of the Sower Explained
Then he said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand all of the parables?
“The sower sows the word. Some are like the word sown on the path. When they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them. And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away. Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.”
Using Your Light
He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and more will be added to you. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
“The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself — first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
Wind and Waves Obey Jesus
On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
Mark Chapter 5
Demons Driven Out by Jesus
They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore — not even with a chain — because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!” For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
Into a Herd of Pigs
“What is your name?” he asked him.
“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.
A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.” So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.
The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs. Then they began to beg him to leave their region.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him. Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.
A Girl Restored and a Woman Healed
When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the sea. One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.” So Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against him.
Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”
But he was looking around to see who had done this. The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”
Don’t Be Afraid, Only Believe
While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”
When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother.
They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion — people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was. Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded. Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat.
So does anybody know which prophet Jesus quoted in Mark 4:12? I’m hoping you’re reading out of a Bible with good study notes and footnotes. That’s makes it easy!
Were you curious about verse 11? Jesus says, ‘to those on the outside.’ To whom was He referring? If you said those who are not followers of Jesus, you would be right. That certainly plays out when it comes to understanding Jesus’ parables. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. Without spiritual discernment, His parables cannot be understood.
Finally, I’m always halted by the reaction of the Gerasene people to Jesus. They had absolutely no idea how to reconcile what they were seeing. They must have been irritated that a herd used for food and income was now over the cliff. They were stunned by Jesus’ power to transform the possessed man. When Christ’s power shines its light on sinfulness and ungodliness, it’s frightening. And know they were indeed frightened. The only thing they could think to do was to ask Him to leave…immediately. But the formerly demon-possessed man had no such fear. He may very well have been the first missionary to take the Gospel to the Decapolis.
Let’s pray. Thank You for Your parables, God. It might sound a little crazy, but I fear we would become lazy without them. They cause us to think hard about Your teachings. I pray boldly that You would give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand Your teaching. Place in us an insatiable hunger for Your Word and to be driven to seek You. And help us not to hide the light of Your Good News under a basket or under our beds, Lord. Let us shine so that the whole might see that light and be drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Forgive us please when we are frightened at Your display of power and want to shoo You away from our tidy and ordered little worlds. Give us extra measures of faith to serve You. Amen.
Oh, dear…I didn’t even talk about that little girl whom Jesus raised from the dead and how the crowd laughed at Him or that poor woman that was hemorrhaging for so long. Please share your thoughts with me about those things at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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