Friday, September 21, 2018

Devotional: God’s Amazing Kingdom, Mark 4.26-34

Mark 4.1-34 outline

Mark concludes this teaching section with two parables about the nature of God’s kingdom in verses 26-34. The big point is that the kingdom will start small, just a few a people, and become very large and benefit many. This growth will not happen because of the efforts of people, but will be accomplished mysteriously by God and enjoyed by many people. Though the disciples and the subsequent generations that follow them in taking Jesus’ message to the world will be the “workers in the field,” the worldwide “harvest” that fulfills the promise to Abraham that “all the families of the earth will be blessed through you,” will be accomplished by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The first parable (26-29) is about a farmer who plants the seeds and reaps the harvest but does not really do the main work of germinating and growing the plant and its fruit. The Creator has endowed the soil (see previous parable of the soils) and the seed with potential life and laid out and energized its process of growth. The farmer’s responsibility is to announce the gospel message (Jesus is King along with what he has done to liberate and lead his people) and then reap the harvest (continue to train those who hear as Jesus trained his disciples). The work of changing lives was already done (by the time Mark writes) by the resurrected, ascended Jesus at the cross and by his advocacy at the right hand of the Father, and is done in the heart of the people who hear by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the pressure is off the one who announces the gospel. God is the one  who has done and does the real work.

The second parable (30-32) teaches that the inevitable result of announcing the kingdom will be a huge movement that provides “shade” (comfort, protection, provision etc.) for all the varieties of “birds” indiscriminately (Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female etc.). This is a tremendous promise because it means that every small action and every word spoken to announce who Jesus is and what he he has done and that serves his people, has huge cosmic significance and contributes to God’s grand plan to restore the creation and its people. As God’s people, we participate (by his grace) in the most important operation of all time.

Finally, this is all done little by little through relationships. Jesus spoke these words to the disciples “as they were able to hear it.” (Mark 4:33 ESV) Jesus worked with them as they grew to be his witnesses, This is our calling and makes every relationship, every prayer, every deed done and every word spoken significant.

No comments: