The One About the Seed (Mark 4:26-29)

‘Crisis’ seems to be a common part of our vocabulary these days. Personal/local/global we seem to be surrounded by it. In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus illustrates a facet of his Kingdom that puts the mind and heart of the disciple at ease in uncertain times.

KINGDOM: WHERE SEED AND SOIL CONSPIRE
*In the midst of the chaos the Kingdom is at work; finding its place
*God’s Kingdom is not an apocalyptic event and end of history but as the success of a world mission

…ALREADY IN PROGRESS
*The point is not merely that the kingdom is coming, for most Jews would assume that. The parable asserts that the kingdom process is already under way with Jesus’ teaching and activity
*Perhaps part of the beauty of the kingdom is that we’re joining something that God is already been working on
*As God programs the seed and the soil to do their thing, so too does is the kingdom an unstoppable force
*This is an automatic thing. Amidst the chaos and crisis the wheels are already in motion, whether we recognize it or not.

HOPE
*The kingdom involves the passing of time
*No hint is given as to how long that time might be but this parable should at least slow down any overemphasis on a soon appearing kingdom.
*The sower can do nothing other than trust the seed. This in turn speaks to issues of control, patience, confidence
*The parable promotes the presence of the kingdom
*We don’t necessarily understand how it all works, but its inevitably producing fruit for harvest
*Humans do not bring in the kingdom, they are servants of the kingdom, not its cause
*while people go about their daily routines, the kingdom is present and at work

“In Jesus’ teachings the kingdom of heaven is a powerful force in the world which brings healing and wholeness. Jesus defines the kingdom from his present experience rather than from his view of the end of time…and he expected his disciples to continue the kingdom’s work.” (Brad H. Young)

“But then comes one of the most startling statements in all of Scripture, Jesus says, the earth (and all of it mind you, good bad or indifferent) bears fruit of itself, automatically. Just put the kingdom into the world, he says in effect, put it into any kind of world — not only into a world of hotshot responders or spiritual pros, but into a world of sinners, deadbeats, and assorted other poor excuses for humanity (which interestingly enough, is the only world available anyway) — and it will come up a perfect kingdom all by itself.” (Robert Capon)

“When someone who is hated by others loves in return, when someone who is persecuted learns to forgive from his or her heart, then the inner force of the kingdom is released.” (Peter Rhea Jones)