Jesus is a phenomenal storyteller. In Mark 4 and 5, Jesus tells parables – stories that teach a lesson. Jesus’ first parable will help us answer two essential questions: what is the Bible and why should we read it?
In Mark 4, verse 3:
“‘Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.’
Then Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’”
So it’s a farming story. A farmer is planting seeds; some seeds grow and some don’t, depending on the soil. Not too exciting, but Jesus gives us the key to this parable in verse 14:
“The farmer sows the word.”
In Luke 8 Jesus says:
“The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11).
So Jesus compares God’s Word to a seed. Think about seeds. They’re not much to look at. The fruit is much more interesting. But the seed inside, that unassuming little speck, has hidden inside of it all the blueprints and all the construction tools necessary to build an entire bush, plant, or tree – from roots to branches to fruit – and all out of dirt. A seed is amazing: you bury it and it creates life.
And Jesus tells us: the Word of God is a seed. May not look like much, but the blueprints of life are in there. All it needs is good dirt.
The Bible is more than a book. It’s actually 66 books. But much more than that, the Bible is the Word of God. 2nd Timothy says,
“All scripture is God breathed”(2 Tim 3:16).
That means that the Bible claims to be God’s Word.
So if the Word is a seed, what’s the soil? That brings us back to the parable.
Jesus explains that the soil is the ones who hear the word. The soil is you and me. It’s our hearts, and there are four kinds of soil – four different hearts when it comes to hearing God’s word.
Some hearts are as hard as solid road. The word hits and doesn’t get in. Other hearts are like the rocky soil. There’s a little loose dirt, and the seed grows a little, but the roots can’t grow deep. When trouble comes, they give up on faith. Then some hearts are like that soil with thorns and weeds, so caught up in the pleasures and worries of life, there’s just no room to grow faith. But then there are some hearts that… Well, have you ever seen a field of plain old dirt turn into a garden? Amazing.
So how can you make sure that your heart is the kind that grows? To find out, read Mark 4. Remember, the power is in God’s words, not mine. I’m here to get you started, but my real goal is for you to open the Bible and read it for yourself.
My hope for you is a healthy Bible habit. That’s an essential part of following Jesus. Read the Bible daily. Plant good seeds in good dirt and grow good fruit.
So read Mark 4 and 5, and consider which kind of soil you want to be. If you have time, read the full chapters, and follow Jesus as He tells more amazing stories. And watch as He speaks to a huge storm and calms it, as he casts out demons, heals the sick, and even calls the dead back to life. And all of that, with the power of His word. And if Jesus’ words can do all that, just imagine what they’ll do in your life. All you need – is good dirt.
For Reflection & Discussion:
- Why do you think Jesus pictures the Word of God as a seed? How are they similar?
- If the dirt represents your heart, what can you do to make sure that Word is planted in good dirt and has room to grow and bear fruit?
- How have you seen the word of God affect you and people in your life? Share your story.