Deeper // Mark 4: Listen!

Deeper mark 4

The heart behind these posts is to explore the bible together, and to try and apply what it says to our lives, to genuinely let the Word of God affect us on a Monday as well as a Sunday.

For the next sixteen weeks we will be looking each week at a chapter of Mark. I would encourage you to read through the whole chapter at least once as well as the specific chunks we’ll be focusing on.

Mark is the shortest of the four gospels that show the life of Jesus. It is the action film, it is fast and punchy.

Mark 4

I love reading and I love reading the Bible. One of the things that I particularly enjoy about the bible is the use of rural and agricultural imagery.

When these terms were first used as metaphor, everyone would have known exactly what they were.  Now we live in a society that is essentially urban. I don’t know anyone that has ever “put their hand to the plough” for example.

The Parable of the Sower

In this passage from Mark we read about Jesus using the metaphor of a sower. A sower is not a job description you will find much these days. But as the name suggests a sower was someone who used to sow seed into a field, probably a ploughed one! This would have been done by hand, at the time Jesus was speaking.

“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Mark 4:3-9)

Jesus goes on to explain to his disciples exactly what this parable means. Jesus explains that the seed is the word of God and that each of the different soils the seed falls upon is like the different ways we can receive a message.

The word of God is always good seed that can grow into something good but sometimes we hardly really hear it and something takes it away before it can grow. Sometimes we hear the message and we respond enthusiastically at the time but later when things are boring or hard we forget the word. Sometimes we hear the message but there are other things in our life that are more important to us and so we don’t let the word grow within us.

But sometimes we hear the word of God and we accept it and let it grow into something good within us. Something so good it changes our lives and even the lives of other people.


The key to this passage is what Jesus says first and last: “Listen!”, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Jesus wants us to listen. To really listen and take to heart what he says, the word of God.

Sowing is hard work, it involves walking back and forth across a field, scattering seed with your hands. And you know full well that some of the seed you carry will be wasted!

There are good people who dedicate their lives to making sure people hear the word of God, however hard they have to work.

What kind of soil are we?

If you want to you can change soil, break it apart and make it good soil for sowing into. Ploughing a field isn’t easy but the good news is we don’t have to do it on our own. Jesus does most of the hard work for us.

We just need to listen!

Sam BrittenThis post was written by Sam Britten, an intern at Gold Hill and one of the leaders in our youth ministry. If you want to read more Deeper posts, they are all here.

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