James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.Mark 4:1-5:43
PARABLES AND MIRACLES
This lesson contains the parables of the sower, the candle, the seed growing secretly and the mustard seed (Mark 4:1-34); and the miracles of the stilling of the storm, the healing of the Gadarene and the woman with the issue of blood, and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:43).
The parables of the sower (Mark 4:1-20) and the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-34) are the only two out of the seven in Matthew 13 which Mark records. The whole of the seven taught the mystery of the Kingdom in its present form which explains their presence in Matthew, the Gospel of the Kingdom; but why two of them are given in Mark, and only two, is not easy to determine. Keeping in mind, however, that Mark presents Jesus as the Servant of Jehovah, it may be because these two miracles relate to His work of ministry. Mark adds an interesting sentence to the parable of the sower (Mark 4:13) which indicates that it is fundamental in its character and teaching, and that until it is understood, the others cannot be.
While the parable of the candle (Mark 4:21-25) is in Matthew yet it is found there in another setting. In the present instance, taken with that of the sower. It seems to teach that the word of truth sown in the heart is not only to give life and yield fruit, but to shine forth in testimony. The bushel stands for the cares and material things of life, and the bed for ease and comfort. We should be careful that our testimony be not hindered either in the one way or the other.
The parable of the seed growing secretly (chaps. 26-29) is peculiar to Mark, teaching that the spiritual processes of the Word of God are mysterious in human life, and will only be known by the matured fruit at harvest day.
In the story of the stilling of the storm (Mark 4:35-41) we have another characteristic touch of Mark (Mark 4:36).
He also describes the condition of the Gadarene with the greatest fullness (Mark 5:1-20), and alone gives Mark 5:26 in the story of the woman with the issue of blood.
1. Name the events in this lesson in their order.
2. Why, presumably, are but two out of the seven parables of Matthew 13 found in Mark?
3. Can you quote and explain the sentence added by Mark to the parable of the sower?
4. What does the parable of the candle teach?
5. Explain the figures of speech in that parable.
6. What is taught by the parable of the seed growing secretly?
7. What are the characteristic touches of Mark in 4:36 and Mark 5:36?
8. What descriptions of the demoniac are peculiar to Mark?