講題大綱分享 Mark 4:1-20

Sow in faith, plow in hope

Mark 4:1-20

D-160 Mu-tien Chiou

BFC Mark 4:1 ¶ Jésus se mit de nouveau à enseigner au bord du lac de Galilée. Une foule nombreuse s’assembla autour de lui, si bien qu’il monta dans une barque et s’y assit. La barque était sur le lac et les gens étaient à terre, près de l’eau. 2 Il leur enseignait beaucoup de choses en utilisant des paraboles et il leur disait dans son enseignement: 3 «Écoutez! Un jour, un homme s’en alla dans son champ pour semer. 4 Or, tandis qu’il lançait la semence, une partie des grains tomba le long du chemin: les oiseaux vinrent et les mangèrent. 5 Une autre partie tomba sur un sol pierreux où il y avait peu de terre. Les grains poussèrent aussitôt parce que la couche de terre n’était pas profonde. 6 Quand le soleil fut haut dans le ciel, il brûla les jeunes plantes: elles se desséchèrent parce que leurs racines étaient insuffisantes. 7 Une autre partie des grains tomba parmi des plantes épineuses. Celles-ci grandirent et étouffèrent les bonnes pousses, qui ne produisirent rien. 8 Mais d’autres grains tombèrent dans la bonne terre; les plantes poussèrent, se développèrent et produisirent des épis: les uns portaient trente grains, d’autres soixante et d’autres cent.» 9 Et Jésus dit: «Écoutez bien, si vous avez des oreilles pour entendre!» 10 ¶ Quand ils furent seuls avec Jésus, ceux qui l’entouraient d’habitude et les douze disciples le questionnèrent au sujet des paraboles. 11 Il leur répondit: «Vous avez reçu, vous, le secret du Royaume de Dieu; mais les autres n’en entendent parler que sous forme de paraboles, 12 et ainsi ‹Ils peuvent bien regarder mais sans vraiment voir, ils peuvent bien entendre mais sans vraiment comprendre, sinon ils reviendraient à Dieu et Dieu leur pardonnerait!› » 13 Puis Jésus leur dit: «Vous ne comprenez pas cette parabole? Alors comment comprendrez-vous toutes les autres paraboles? 14 Le semeur sème la parole de Dieu. 15 Certains sont comme le bord du chemin où tombe la parole: dès qu’ils l’ont entendue, Satan arrive et arrache la parole semée en eux. 16 D’autres reçoivent la semence dans des sols pierreux: aussitôt qu’ils entendent la parole, ils l’acceptent avec joie. 17 Mais ils ne la laissent pas s’enraciner en eux, ils ne s’y attachent qu’un instant. Et alors, quand survient la détresse ou la persécution à cause de la parole de Dieu, ils renoncent bien vite à la foi. 18 D’autres encore reçoivent la semence parmi des plantes épineuses: ils ont entendu la parole, 19 mais les préoccupations de ce monde, l’attrait trompeur de la richesse et les désirs de toutes sortes pénètrent en eux, ils étouffent la parole et elle ne produit rien. 20 D’autres, enfin, reçoivent la semence dans de la bonne terre: ils entendent la parole, ils l’accueillent et portent des fruits, les uns trente, d’autres soixante et d’autres cent.»  


    (Setting the stage.) As Jesus’ initial ministry has received considerable success (Mar 1:28), wherever he goes it will be followed by multitudes of people (1:33, 37; 2:2). He is already daily occupied in healing, but still people want to listen to his teaching which they find innovative and interesting.

    To protect himself from mass pressure, and the better to command his audience, Jesus chooses to keep a distance with the people— physically and verbally. He embarks a boat and pushes off a few yards from the beach. Then he employs figurative language, making the mystery of the Kingdom rhetorically cryptic. Instead of being indulged in instant fame, the wise rabbi challenges his followers with a touchstone of understanding of the gospel.

Proposition: To become a fruitful tree of the gospel, we need plow the soil of our heart and then persevere for the eternal hope.            

Organizational sentence: In the parable, we find within four aspects of spiritual husbandry four kinds of soils, which are marked in gradation. In this gospel account, an internal story is made to fit the external narrative in order to serve the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive purpose for mankind.

  1. The sower. Every Christian, in terms of an evangelizer, is a sower. Christ is emphatically the Sower. In terms of his ministry and death, he was both the Sower and the Seed (Jn 12:24).


  2. The seed: the Word of God is "the seed of the kingdom. (v13)" Though initially small and insignificant as a mustard seed (Mar 4:31), it has within it inherent vitality to grow and multiply hundredfold. It is tender and the growth depends upon the treatment and it meets with.


  3. The soil. Different types of soils represent our level of readiness to receive and to cherish the spiritual seed. Instead of encouraging fatalism, the fate is actually open to us as whether we respond the calling for salvation as it demands us (note: the seed only fulfill its end when it bear spiritual fruit). Four types of soil:
    1. Seed falling by the wayside (vv 4, 15): such people listen to the gospel but receive it not at all just like the hard and the well-trodden ground. Their inner being is frequented by the evil one, who constantly snatches away the seed and turn them back to their sinful life. We need pray for the softening of their heart.
    2. Seed on the rocky ground (vv. 5-6; 16-17): it is like the heart of those who delight in the Word of God as they hear it. They receive it because of its beauty and novelty. But the rock, which stands for trial and persecution, prevents the word from striking a deep root into their soul.

      Application: This is a warning against some stray versions of Pentecostal church and theology of prosperity.

      Illustration: Bonheoffer’s critique against cheap grace

    3. Seed on the thorny soil (vv 7, 18-19): The third condition is so much better than the former, inasmuch as the seed is able to take roots and grow into a plant. But a fruitless plant is of no use but is subject to being cut down for firewood (Mat 21:19; Jn 15:2; Tit 3:14). Our temporal and secular cares are just like these thorns that choke our aspiring soul for heavenly things (1 Tim. 6:10).

      Illustration: a testimony of one who has been attempted to serving God by earning as much money as he can.

    4. Seed on the good soil (vv 8, 20): The good ground is in contrast with the several varieties of bad soil. In this case it is neither stolen, nor starved, nor choked, as it is prepared by Divine influences and responsive to Divine culture.

16671_gravesite_620The fruitful harvest. "My word shall not return unto me void (Isa 55:11);" "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy (Ps 126:5)"; the real expectation of the spiritual sower is that abundant fruits be reaped in the harvest time, beside which anything is without virtue. Few of those who followed Jesus out of intellectual curiosity would persevere, and like bear soil, they abandoned the Word on various trials and yield nothing in the end. Jesus just let them, since had they ever realized this they would have turned for salvation. There is a harvest in time, and a richer, riper harvest in eternity. As sinner, the conversion to Truth just marks a beginning. Only perseverance in faith and hope and yield the spiritual outcome: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23)


Application: 1. The seed is heavenly; is the soil kindly prepared to receive it? Somehow the Truth is not completely presented to us just as the parable is cryptic for Jesus’ contemporaries (even including his disciples!), an attentive faith (Mar 4:9; Heb 11:1) is needed for the seed’s striking a deep root. 2. If you have heard about and received the gospel, would you persevere in this hope so that it can result some hundredfold in this lifetime, and the eternal life when the Ultimate Reaper comes (Mar 10:30; Lk 18:30)?

Conclusion: In this parable, the seed is the Word of God, the soil is the heart of man, the life is our spiritual journey, the fruit is Christian character, and the harvest is eternal result and retribution. For various reasons and at different occasions we are introduced to the gospel and drawn to the church (just like the initial multitude surrounding Jesus), but spiritual growth is about listening to the Word and abiding by it consistently. By abundance alone can the husbandman be satisfied and recompensed.


Explanation: The fascination of the parable itself often overshadows the fact that It is a Mise en abyme (English equivalent: story within story, frame story), so that when trying to interpret the parable readers/interpreter are so hasty to draw significance between perceptions of the contemporary world and the [ahistorical] Mise en scène of the parable. The result is the abdication of the greater narrative context. It put to secondary place the literary device by which the author’s intent was embodied.


「撒種比喻」之前耶穌已經顯了許多治病趕鬼神蹟,以致所到之處民眾簇擁、合城風靡。他所說的話新奇,被稱作是「從來沒有聽過的新道理」(可1:27; 參約3:7)。應當關注的是,這些人心態正是那些淺土、硬土。當耶穌決定改用含意模糊曖昧的佈道/訓誨方式來為福音的本質劃定界線時,他也藉著船和海域,將自己和岸上的民眾隔開。

耶穌的福音預工在如今就像是社會工作、文化更新、政治改革的事工,運用權力做事並要讓自己的聲音被聽見。「智慧的拉比」、「神人的祭司」是他在當中建立的形象。他卻不將自己交與眾人、未曾迷失掌聲中,因為他深知人心一切(約2:24)。耶穌此時曾多次不希望透露自己身份的事跡被傳開,「因為人子的時候還沒有到」,也是不希望造成攔阻以及民眾的誤導。「人子的時候」(o` kairo.j tou ui`o.u tou/ avnqrw,pou[1],耶穌謎般的敘述,在末後的十架受難、死亡、復活、榮耀顯現達到解答。一切先前的預備,是為指向終極的完滿(consummation)。






[1] (1.00) 約翰福音 2:4 耶穌說:「母親(原文作婦人),我與你有什麼相干?我的時候還沒有到。」 (1.00) 約翰福音 7:6 耶穌就對他們說:「我的時候還沒有到;你們的時候常是方便的。 (1.00) 約翰福音 7:8 你們上去過節吧,我現在不上去過這節,因為我的時候還沒有滿。」 (1.00) 約翰福音 7:30 他們就想要捉拿耶穌;只是沒有人下手,因為他的時候還沒有到。 (1.00) 約翰福音 8:20 這些話是耶穌在殿裡的庫房、教訓人時所說的,也沒有人拿他,因為他的時候還沒有到。  (1.00) 馬太福音 8:29 他們喊著說:「神的兒子,我們與你有什麼相干?時候還沒有到,你就上這裡來叫我們受苦嗎?  



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