A Basket and Two Seeds


Series: Mark

Title: 2. A Basket and Two Seeds Mark 4:21-32; The Kingdom of God


  • 2015-08-08: White Rock Lake

  1. Introduction
    1. The Great Awakening
      1. First Great Awakening: 1730s to c. 1743
        1. George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards
        2. Sermon style changed from sermons full of dense theology read to the congregation to more modern approaches
          1. Emotionalism
        3. Significant increase in spiritual interest
        4. May have been the precursor to the American Revolution
      2. Second Great Awakening: late 18th cent. to mid 19th cent.
        1. Started in the “burned over”1 region of New York.
        2. Reached all classes, not just the higher classes
        3. In this milieu, William Miller began studying the prophecies of Daniel, and began to preach.
      3. Third Great Awakening: 1850s – c. 1900 – Missionary work
    2. How does God’s Kingdom advance?
    3. Mark 4: Partly parallel to the parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 13 and Luke 8.
  2. Light under a basket
    1. Gideon: Judges 7:16, 17, 19, 20: The army of Midian2 was secure in the darkness; but when Gideon and his men broke their jars and the light was revealed, they realized they were in trouble
    2. Mark 4:21-25
      1. I first thought of Matthew 5:14-16—let your light shine; but this is different
      2. Light is a revealer
    3. Several possible types of revelation mentioned:
      1. You can’t hide things
      2. Hidden truth (The language of vv 24-25 suggests that Jesus is talking about truth)
      3. Caution: Make the best of what has been revealed, or else you’ll lose what little you have
    4. This parable is a strong warning, and it’s followed by two parables of the Kingdom of God.
  3. What is the Kingdom of God/Heaven?
    1. Two meanings for the term
      1. Meanings
        1. Heaven/Dwelling with God (e.g., Mt 8:11, 12)
        2. The collection of God’s people, the invisible church (e.g., Mt 11:12)
      2. About the meanings
        1. In some passages, the first meaning is primarily in view; in some, the second meaning is primary; in still others, it’s some combination
        2. //In this passage, it’s the second meaning which is primary
  4. Mark 4:26-29: Parable of the Growing Seed
    1. A rare passage in Mark which has no parallel elsewhere in the gospels
    2. The seed grows on its own, without human intervention
    3. Illustration: Planting potatoes
    4. We don’t know the details of how God works, but we can see the final results
    5. We sometimes may think that all is lost, that a situation is hopeless. But God has it under control.
    6. With the other meaning, we can see how Jesus planted the seed of the gospel, throughout history, it has worked, and at the Second Coming it will be harvested.
  5. Mark 4:30-32: The mustard seed
    1. Starts insignificant, becomes huge
    2. Wild, unkempt, spreads everywhere
    3. The Kingdom of God
      1. Starts small in our lives, but grows to be all-encompassing (the parable of the yeast) and contagiously spreads
      2. The gospel of the kingdom started small in Jesus’ day, and has grown and keeps growing until the Second Coming
        1. Cf Matthew 16:18: The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church triumphant.


  1. So called because of all the hellfire and brimstone being preached. 

  2. Midian was the son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah. Their territory was across the Jordan River, east of Israel.