Monday Morning: 29 Apr 2019 – Mark 4:1-20 ~ understanding the secret of the Kingdom of God

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 4:1-20 (NLT)

Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
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Morning Reflection:

Insiders and Outsiders

“You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.
But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders.
– Mark 4:10

In today’s reading, Jesus draws a distinction between those who accept his teaching (insiders) and those who reject it (outsiders).

+ The “insiders” are given new revelations about the coming messianic kingdom in parables which the Holy Spirit enables them to understand.
+ The “outsiders” remain clueless – unable to comprehend the parables and the significance of what is happening in right front of their eyes.

God uses revelation to enlighten the receptive, and befuddle the unreceptive.

Questions for consideration:

Please re-read Jesus’ explanation of the parable and consider the types of soil –

  • The Footpath: Have you ever heard and not understood? What was Satan’s role in this? Do you know others who are in this situation? Please explain.
  • The Rocky Soil: Have you ever been excited about something you heard, but never followed up? Can you think of ways that you can become more “rooted” in God’s word? Please explain.
  • The Thorns: What are some of the worries or desires, that crowd out God’s word in your life? How do you decide on your priorities? What influences your decision-making? Please explain.
  • The Good Soil: What sort of harvest (good fruit) is God producing in your life, e.g. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? How have you influenced others to receive and believe the Good News of the Kingdom of God? Please explain.
  • Do you consider yourself an “insider” or “outsider”? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for Christians in the midst of persecution:

Heavenly Father: I pray for Christians suffering persecution and hardship because of their faith. Meet them in their deepest sorrow and comfort them. Strengthen them in faith that they may continue to follow you, and empower them with your Spirit to respond in love to the evil shown by their persecutors – that doors will open to share the Good News of your Kingdom. I ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: I am receptive and do want to understand the revelation of your Kingdom and its presence in and around me. Please forgive me when I miss your clear teaching altogether; when I fail to follow through on what I do understand; when I let other things take precedence over seeking your Kingdom. Produce in me the good fruit of your Spirit that I might influence others to follow Jesus. All to the glory of your name. Amen.
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“Kingdom Come” – Covenant Worship

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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