Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mark Chapter Four

And he began to teach them by the shore of the sea and great crowds were gathered to him, so that arising, he sat in a boat on the sea and the whole multitude stood on the land. And he instructed them by many parables, and said in his teaching, “Listen. Behold a farmer went to scatter seed and as he sowed some fell by the way-side, and the birds flew down and ate it up. And some fell upon the rock so that it did not have depth of earth and it soon came up because it had not much earth. But when the sun arose and it became hot and in that it had no root, it dried up. And other fell in the place of thorns and the thorns sprang up and chocked it and it gave no fruit. But other fell of good ground and it came up and grew and gave fruits some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred.” And Yeshu said, “Whoever has ears to hear let him hear.”
And when he was alone those who were with him along with the Twelve inquired of him about this parable. And Yeshu said unto them, “Unto you is given the right to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but to those who are on the outside everything is in parables[1].

That while seeing they may see and not perceive.
And while listening they may hear, but not understand,
Lest they be converted and their sins be forgiven them.[2]

And he said unto them, “You don’t know the meaning of this parable? If you can’t understand this parable how are you going to understand others? The farmer who scattered the seed was planting the Word. Those which fell on the wayside are those in whom the word is planted but when they have heard immediately Satan come and takes away the Word that was sown in their heart. And those who were sown among the rocks are those who, once they hear the Word receive it with joy but they have no root in themselves but are shallow and when there is affliction or persecution or account of the Word they quickly fall away. The seed scattered among the thorns represents those who hear the Word but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth, and other lusts enter in and choke the Word and it doesn’t produce any fruit. And those who are sowed in good ground and those who hear the Word of God and receive it and produce fruits, thirty, sixty and a hundred times over.”[3]

And he said unto them, “A lamp is never put under a bowl or under a bed. Is it not put on a lamp stand? Nothing is hid which shall not be revealed neither is there any secret that shall not be manifested. If any man has ears to hear let him hear.”[4]

And he said to them, “Consider what you hear[5]. With the measure you measure out to others it shall be measures back to you. And there shall be more added to you that hear. For whoever has unto him shall be given and whoever has nothing, whatever he does have will be taken from him.”

And he said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer scattering his seeds across his pasture. He sleeps and rises up by day and night. The seed increases and grows up log without his even thinking about it. For the earth yields to him the grain. First there is the stalk, then the head and finally the full grain in the head. But when the crop is mature, immediately comes the sickle because harvest time has come!”[6]

And he said, “To what may we compare the Kingdom of God? And with what comparison can we compare it? It is like a mustard seed. When it is planted in the earth it is smaller than all other seeds in the world. But when it is sown is becomes greater than all herbs and puts out large branches and birds hide beneath its shadow.” In parables such as these Yeshu spoke with them, in parables such as they could hear. He didn’t speak to them without using parables, but while alone with his disciples he explained all the meanings.

And he said to them that day, in the evening, “Let us pass to the opposite shore.” And he sent away the crowds and got into the boat. There were also other boats with him. And there was a great commotion and wind and the waves splashed over the boat and it was almost filled with water. But Yeshu was sleeping with his head on a pillow in the stern of the vessel. And they came and woke him up, saying, “Rabbi, don’t you care that we are going to die!” And he arose and restrained the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be silent!” And the wind ceased and there was a great stillness. And he said to them, “Why were you afraid? How is it that you don’t have any faith?” And they were filled with a great fear and said one to another, “Who is this, to whom the wind and seas obey?”



[1] The Mystery or Secret of the Kingdom of God, God’s cosmic purpose revealed to these select few.
[2] In this passage Jesus is not quoting from the traditional Hebrew text of the scriptures but rather the scriptures as they were known in an oral Aramaic form. These Aramaic Versions of the Bible are known as the Targum or the Targumim. Bruce Chilton and Father Martin McNamara have written extensively on Jesus and the Targums. Targumic renderings of scripture are quoted by Jesus, Paul and John the Revelator.
[3] In this parable Jesus warns his hearers of the danger of apostasy which is a falling away from the faith.
[4] “Let he who has ears…” this means “let him who catches my meaning do so. Since his hour had not yet come Jesus often had to speak with symbolic language. “Bar Nsaha” the Aramaic for “Son of Man” literally means a man, a person or a human being. In Daniel and the Book of Enoch, the Son of Man is a pre-existent divine cosmic judge who will come in the last days to judge evil and to redeem the righteousness. “Son of Man” is thus a Messianic title. To those not seeking the lord it may have seemed ambiguous. Those who knew the scriptures knew that the Son of Man meant the Messiah but how could Jesus be tried for treason for claiming to be a human being? The term “He who has ears let him hear” is also found in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13 and 22).
[5] Literally “Look what you hear” or “Listen, Look!”
[6] This is Judgment Day, the Day of the Lord, the Day of the Son of Man. According to the teachings of Jesus every soul will give an account of his or her life and be judged according to their works. Jesus’ teachings at times had an apocalyptic theme.

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