MARK 4:21



After teaching the parable of the sower, several other parables that Jesus taught are related to us in Mark chapter four. Jesus said in Mark 4:21-22, “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? And not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad. Everything has a purpose. We all understand the purpose of a candle especially in the first century. If we talked about the same thing in our age we would be talking about a light bulb. If you moved into a house that needed more light, you would not put the light bulb into a socket and then cover it up. The light bulb has a purpose in the same way that candles once had a purpose. In a spiritual sense truth is the light. The purpose of truth is to shine as a light. Because God gave this purpose to truth, it is what happens. The truth from God shines as a Light in a dark work. Even the very creation declares the glory of God. There is no place under heaven where this truth is not proclaimed. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” In the world the Lord raises up witnesses to the truth. God gives to His believers the privilege of being witnesses to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The truth marches on. No one can stop the truth. If you were able to stop every human who speaks truth from doing so, the very rocks would cry out according to Jesus, because truth will always come to light. This is a fact regarding the truth of God’s Word, and it’s also a fact regarding the practical affairs of human beings in this world. Jesus wanted to emphasize this great and important principle to His believers so that they would always be on the right side of truth. Of the things that get human beings into major trouble, lies and deception are among the chief. It is a foolish and unwise person who thinks that they can do something and cover it up and no one will ever know about it. That’s why criminals are so foolish. That’s why someone who cheats in any way is foolish. Jesus said, “There is nothing hid which shall not be manifested.”  He also said in Mark 4:23, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” It’s too bad that more people have not listened to what Jesus said concerning truth. It’s too bad that more people do not understand the spiritual significance behind a candle and a candlestick.


If you are on the wrong side of truth, there will be consequences. Of course, that is true with any kind of right and wrong. Jesus said in Mark 4:24-25, “And he said unto them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall be more given. For he that has, to him shall be given: and he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has.” For every action, there is a reaction. You reap what you sow. This is the universal law of consequences. Some of the things that happen to you are circumstances beyond your control, but many other things that happen to you are simply a result of your own behavior. He that has friends must first of all show himself friendly. Generally speaking, people will treat you the way that you treat them.


The same is true concerning your relationship with God. When God speaks to you, receive it willingly and thankfully, and then He will speak to you more and give you more. Turn away from Him, and you may not hear from Him again, or not for a long time . God loves to give, but He is not going to pour His gifts down a black hole. Receive His gifts and use them well, and God will give you more. Misuse what He has given to you, and not only will He not give you more, He will take away that which you had. “For he that has to him shall be given; and he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has.” 


Jesus taught another parable in Mark 4:26-29. It says, “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” In this parable Jesus is teaching some important characteristics concerning the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King, and He has a Kingdom. This parable tells us some of the things that Jesus wants us to be aware of about His Kingdom. If we understand what happens when a farmer plants a field of grain and then later harvests that field, then we will understand a similar thing concerning the Kingdom of God.


The first thing to note is that the farmer plants the seed alright, but he really has no part in the growing of the plants. There is a force in nature, the force of life, that given the right circumstances of soil and water and sun the plants will grow of themselves. Day after day goes by with the farmer doing nothing to make the plants grow, but they do indeed grow. If you looked at the plants from one hour to the next, it would appear as though nothing were happening; but even though we cannot see it with our own eyes, it is growing. It takes time, but when the right amount of time has passed the plants will have grown to full maturity and are ready to be harvested. The same is true concerning the planting of the seed of the Word of God. As servants of God, we can spread the seed of the Word of God, and when it falls on good ground, on a heart that is ready to receive it, it will grow into a mature Christian and will bear marvelous spiritual fruit.


Once all of the grain has reached the right moment of maturity, the harvest will come. One thing to notice about the harvest is the suddenness with which it will come, and when it comes the time for growing will be over. The time for growing and the bearing of fruit could last for many months, but the harvest would take place in one day. We live in the age of grace, a time when the Word of God is being sown in the hearts of men and women around the world. We are also given time to grow in Christ and to see what fruit we will produce. But the age of grace will end. The opportunity to know the Lord, and grow in grace, and bear fruit for Christ will end. Then will come the harvest. God will put His sickle into the earth in one day and gather the grain into heaven. Woe to those who could have born fruit for Christ and did not. The day of harvest is coming. Plant the seeds of truth that you can while you can, so that you can have part in the growth of the Kingdom of Christ.


Jesus had one more parable to give concerning the Kingdom of God, and again He used a seed that is sown in the earth for the teaching. This time He used a specific seed, the mustard seed. The Bible says in Mark 4:30-32, “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” The important thing to notice about the mustard seed is how small it is compared to the size that the mustard plant will eventually be. It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts. That’s why you can get saved and start serving God even at an advanced age. It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts. When we look at the Kingdom of God and see how it grows in the life of someone, we see a process very similar to that of the mustard seed. Someone believes on Jesus, and the world may not notice, and their belief may be just one more of many facts in their life. But as the Kingdom of God grows within them, that fact becomes the most important of all facts. Concerning the Kingdom of Christ, it started small. It started with an itinerant preacher and his twelve followers. But millions upon millions have been saved since Jesus died for the sins of the world; and the Kingdom that Jesus established will end up being the greatest of all kingdoms.


Concerning the method that Jesus used to teach His disciples, the Bible says in Mark 4:33-34, “And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” There are three important things to notice about the method that Jesus used. One: Jesus spoke the Word unto them. Two: Jesus used parables. Three: When they were alone with Jesus, then is when Jesus expounded the teachings to them.       


Jesus spoke to them the Word. If you are going to teach, you must teach the Word. “If any man speak, let him speak as of the oracles of God.” It’s not our wisdom nor our words that will make the difference, but the Word of God. If Jesus spoke the Word, then certainly we need to do the same. “Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season.” When Jesus used parables, it showed how down to earth He was. He did not speak above others not use a vocabulary that was difficult to follow. By using parables Jesus demonstrated His understanding of the true nature of things. Behind everything physical is something spiritual.


Mark 4:34 gives a very important clue as to the proper method that should always be used when preaching or teaching God’s Word. It says that Jesus “expounded all things to the disciples.” The word that is translated “expound” comes from a Greek word that means to unloose. There are wonderful things in the Word of God, and those things need to be opened up, explained, and expounded to the listeners. Many sermons have lost their spiritual value because of using an improper method to preach. The scriptures should never be used simply as a starting point, with a preacher then going off on some tangent or personal preference. A sermon should never be simply a presentation of someone’s system of theology. Preachers and teachers should do the same thing that Jesus did. They should open up and present the Word of God to the listeners.


The Bible says in Mark 4:35-41, “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Jesus said that the disciples had two problems. They had fear, and they had a lack of faith. You will have fear, if you do not have faith. Human beings are plagued by fears of every kind. The fear of not being loved, the fear of losing their job, the fear of heights, the fear of the unknown, the fear of crime, the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of death, and every other fear imaginable. Fear itself can be a great enemy to human beings. Fear can ruin you, and fear can ultimately destroy your life.


But there is an answer to whatever fear may plague you. Faith in Christ is the answer to your fears. “This is the victory that overcomes the world: even our faith.” We see Peter’s lack of faith by the very question that he asked. Peter said to Jesus, “Don’t you care that we perish?” We might think that it is a foolish question, but actually it is an emotion that many human beings have experienced. If only we understood and remembered and believed how much God really does care about us and love us! God is love. He loves you and cares about you infinitely more than anyone else ever could. God is the lover of your soul.   


Peter was worried about a very difficult circumstance, but God does not worry. Nothing catches God by surprise, nor puts Him in a bind so that He knows not what to do. God is the all-wise and the all-knowing. And God can do anything. The fact that Jesus could do anything was proof of His divine nature as God the Son. The disciples were well aware that the ability of Jesus to quiet the storm was something significant about who He was. They said, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” It is a great thing to know that the Lord is always with us just like He was with Peter on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus will always be with us and ready to quiet any storm that comes into our lives. 



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved