Mark 4

Jesus tells a story about a farmer's seeds

1 Again, Jesus began to teach people near the edge of Lake Galilee. A large crowd came together to listen to him. So, he went and sat in a boat that was on the water. The crowd of people stayed on the shore. 2 Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He said to them: 3 ‘Listen to me! A farmer went out to plant seeds in his field. 4 While he was throwing the seeds, some of them fell on the path. The birds came and they ate those seeds. 5 Other seeds fell on ground with rocks in it. There was not much soil in that place. The seeds quickly began to grow, because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, it burned the young plants. They soon died because they had not grown down well into the soil. 7 Other seeds fell among thorn bushes. Those bushes grew up with the young plants. They stopped the seeds from growing into strong plants. So the plants could not make any new seeds. 8 But some seeds fell on good soil. Good strong plants grew from these seeds. Some plants made 30 new seeds. Some plants made 60 new seeds. And some plants made 100 new seeds.’

9 Then Jesus said, ‘You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’

4:9When a farmer planted seeds, he threw them on to the ground round him.

Jesus explains to his disciples why he uses stories

10 When Jesus was alone, his friends and the 12 disciples asked him about the stories. 11 Jesus replied, ‘God has let you understand how he rules in the lives of his people. But these other people only listen to stories. 12 This is so that:

“They are always looking but they do not really see clearly.

They are always listening but they do not understand.”

If they did understand, they would turn to God. Then God would forgive them.’

Jesus explains the story about the seeds

13 Then Jesus answered the people who had asked him about the story. ‘You should understand this story. If you do not understand it, you will not understand any of my stories. 14 The seeds are like the message from God. The farmer is like a person who tells people about that message. 15 Some seeds fell on the path. That is like some people who listen to the message. But then Satan comes and he quickly takes the message away from their minds. 16 Some of the seeds fell on soil with rocks in it. This is also like some people who hear God's message. These people are happy to believe it for a time. 17 But they are like plants that have not grown down well into the soil. So they only believe for a short time. They may have problems. Or because they obey God's message, other people may do bad things to them. When that happens, these people soon stop believing. 18 Some seeds fell among thorn bushes. This is like some other people who hear God's message. 19 But they have many troubles in their minds. They think that more money and other valuable things will make them happy. So they do not let God's message change them. They are like plants that do not grow well and make new seeds. 20 But some seeds fell on good soil. This is like other people who listen to the message from God. They understand the message and they believe it. These people are like good plants that grow well. From one seed, some good plants make 30 new seeds. Other good plants make 60 new seeds, and some good plants make 100 new seeds.’

People put a light in a high place

21 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Nobody brings a lamp into a house and puts it under a pot or under a bed. You do not do that. You put it in a high place. 22 God hides some things now. But there will be a time when people will see them. God keeps some things secret now. But there will be a time when people will understand those things.’ 23 Then Jesus said, ‘You have ears, so listen well to what I say.’

4:23At that time, people burned oil in a dish. They called this dish a lamp. They put the lamp in a high place so that people could see. The word of God is like the light from a lamp. We should not hide it. Jesus wants people in every country to be able to listen to the message about him.

24 Jesus went on to say, ‘Think carefully about the things that you hear. God will give to you in the same way that you give to other people. And you will receive even more. 25 A person who has received some things will receive more. Some other people have nothing. They will lose even the little bit that they do have.’

4:25Jesus is telling his disciples about how to listen to him. They should listen carefully. Then they would be able to understand his message. They must believe the message from God. And then they must do what he says. So they will understand more and more. Some people think that they know about God. But they do not obey him. And so God will take away those things from their minds.

Jesus tells a story about seeds

26 Then Jesus said, ‘I will tell you a story about the kingdom of God. It is like this: A man throws seeds in his field. 27 Then he sleeps each night and he wakes each day. The seeds start to grow into plants. They continue to grow. The man does not know how this happens. 28 The soil causes the plants to grow. The leaves of the plant grow first. Then the flowers appear. Then the plant makes new seeds. 29 When the new seeds have completely grown, the man will cut the plants down immediately. It is time for him to take the seeds to use for food.’

Jesus tells a story about a very small seed

30 Jesus said, ‘I will tell you another story about the kingdom of God This story shows what the kingdom of God is like. 31 It is like this: A man takes a seed of the plant called mustard. He plants it in the soil. It is smaller than any other seed that people plant in the soil. 32 But when it starts to grow, it becomes bigger than the largest bush. It will have big branches. And the birds will come from the sky and they will live there. They will build their homes in the shade of the branches.’

33 Jesus taught God's message to the people. He used many stories like these. He told the people as much as they could understand. 34 He always used stories to teach the people. Then he explained everything to his own disciples when he was alone with them.

Jesus stops a storm

35 On that same day, in the evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘We should go across the lake to the other side.’ 36 So they went and left the crowd behind. Jesus was already in the boat. So the disciples took him across the lake. Some other boats also went with them. 37 Then a strong wind began to blow across the lake. Water began to go into the boat and fill it. Soon the boat was almost going under the water. 38 Jesus was in a comfortable place at the back of the boat. He was sleeping. The disciples woke him. They said to him, ‘Teacher, it does not seem to matter to you if we die here in the water!’

39 Jesus woke up and he spoke strongly to the wind and to the water. ‘Be quiet!’ he said. ‘Stop!’ Then the wind and the water became quiet again.

40 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You should not be afraid like that. You should believe in me.’

41 Then the disciples were very afraid and said to each other, ‘Who is this man? Even the wind and the water obey him.’