Mark 4 is filled with parables about sowing, and the Gospel text for today consists of two of them. Unlike the first parable (vvs 3-9) these parables are not about the soil but rather the one who sows. After He has explained the first parable, Jesus transitions to our text: “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 any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (vvs 21-23) And there are consequences for those who hear: “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (vvs. 24-25).
“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.” The man sows. That’s all. He sows. He sleeps but the seed sprouts and grows; first the green blade, then the ear, then the full grain. The sower doesn’t know how this happens. It just happens. He sows and God makes the crop grow. Jesus gives the disciples this parable and its explanation to make them sowers of the Good News. The promise God makes in Ezekiel 17 reveals who “makes” it grow; the second parable shows that it matters not how small the seed (faith) is, God will make a plant to grow as big as He wants it to be and that is that! The parable isn’t about how you might make yourself into “good soil” or even how to figure out what God is trying to teach you, or how He might change you. God has already raised you from the dead! Now He is sending you—the New You in Christ—out to share the Good News of forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life with the world. We’re told to scatter seed—the Good News in Christ—and trust God to do the rest.
Now, this is news to sinners living in a fallen world. It is the news that rocked the world from 30 AD to 300 AD. It is the news that rocked the world again in 1520. It is the news that broke through in a fallen world after WW I, WW II, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ultimately, it is the only news worth hearing: Christ died for your sins. You’ve been buried with Him and raised anew in Him forever. Your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. The Holy Spirit has called you and enlightened you; you have received His gift of faith in Christ. You are reconciled to God the Father by faith alone in Christ alone. You shall live forever in His kingdom. Alleluia!
Now, go scatter some seed in Christ’s name. Amen.