Mark 4:32
But when it is sown, it grows up, and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
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4:21-34 These declarations were intended to call the attention of the disciples to the word of Christ. By his thus instructing them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick, that they may give light to a room. This parable of the good seed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makes progress in the world. Let but the word of Christ have the place it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good conversation. It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear; after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, it will go forward. The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now, while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is perfected in heaven!See the notes at Matthew 13:31-32. 29. But when the fruit is brought forth—to maturity

immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come—This charmingly points to the transition from the earthly to the heavenly condition of the Christian and the Church.

Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mr 4:30-32).

For the exposition of this portion, see on [1432]Mt 13:31, 32.

Ver. 32. See Poole on "Mark 4:30" But when it is sown, it groweth up,.... So the Gospel, when it was preached, it spread notwithstanding all the opposition made against it by, the Jews and Gentiles: there was no stopping it; though the Jewish sanhedrim charged the apostles to speak no more in the name of Jesus, they regarded them not; though Herod stretched forth his hands against the church, and killed one apostle, and put another in prison, yet "the word of God grew and multiplied", Acts 12:1, and Gospel churches when set up, whether in Judea, or among the Gentiles, presently had additions made unto them, and "grew up", as holy temples in the Lord: and wherever the grace of God is really implanted, there is a growing in it, and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus:

and becometh greater than all herbs: the Gospel exceeds the traditions of the Jews, and the philosophy of the Gentiles, and any human scheme whatever, in its nature, usefulness, and the largeness of its spread: and the Gospel church state will ere long fill the world, and all nations shall flow unto it; when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall come, it will be a greater kingdom, than any of the kingdoms of the earth ever were: and the grace of God in the heart, is vastly above nature, and does that which nature can never perform; and which spreads and enlarges, and at last issues in eternal glory:

and shooteth out great branches, so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it: by whom are meant, saints; such to whom the Gospel is come in power, and who have the grace of God wrought in their hearts, who are partakers of the heavenly calling: these come where the Gospel is preached, and where gracious souls are met together, even in the several Gospel churches; where they not only come and go, but where they lodge, abide, and continue, under the shadow of the Gospel, and Gospel ordinances, and that with great delight and pleasure; singing songs of praise to God, for his electing and redeeming love, and for calling grace, and for all spiritual blessings, and Gospel privileges: for a larger explanation and illustration of this parable; see Gill on Matthew 13:31, Matthew 13:32.

But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Mark 4:32. μεῖζον π. τ. λαχάνων, the greatest of all the herbs, still only an herb; no word of a tree here as in Matthew and Luke, though comparatively tree-like in size, making great boughs (κλάδους μεγάλους), great relatively to its kind, not to forest trees. Mark’s version here is evidently the more original.32. great branches] In hot countries, as in Judæa, the mustard-tree attains a great size. Thomson, Land and the Book, p. 414, tells us he has seen it on the rich plain of Akkâr as tall as the horse and his rider. A variety of it may have been cultivated in the time of our Lord, which grew to an enormous size.

the fowls] The seed of the mustard-tree is a favourite food with birds. For the language comp. Ezekiel 17:23.Groweth up

Mark only.

Herbs (τῶν λαχάνων)

Rev., rightly, the herbs; those which people are wont to plant in their gardens. The word denotes garden - or pot-herbs, as distinguished from wild herbs.

Shooteth out great branches (ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους)

Lit., maketh, etc. Rev., putteth out. Peculiar to Mark. Matthew has becometh a tree. On branches, see note on Matthew 24:32. One of the Talmudists describes the mustard-plant as a tree, of which the wood was sufficient to cover a potter's shed. Another says that he was wont to climb into it as men climb into a fig-tree. Professor Hackett says that on the plain of Akka, toward Carmel, he found a collection of mustard-plants from six to nine feet high, with branches from each side of a trunk an inch or more in thickness. Dr. Thomson relates that near the bank of the Jordan he found a mustard-tree more than twelve feet high.

Lodge (κατασκηνοῦν)

See on Matthew 8:20. Lit., pitch their tents.

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