- What does this parable tech concerning: (a) the reasons why even the teaching of Jesus failed to produce fruit in the lives of many of the hearers? (b) the method by which the kingdom comes in this present age? (c) the criteria by which true success is measured in gospel preaching?
- He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ Is the Word of God finding entrance into my heart (verse15)? Is it taking deep root (verses 16, 17)? What measure of fruit is being produced in my life (verse 20)? Cf. Heb. 3:7,8.
- A new method in Jesus’ teaching begins here. The first parable is itself an indication of the purpose of teaching by parables. See verse 13. Such a method brings hearers under judgment, and finds out the truly responsive. The real cause of blindness to the truth is unwillingness to repent and to be forgiven. Those who, as disciples, are responsive are given fuller understanding. See verse 34.
- Verse 11. ‘The secret’ (AV and RV): this is not something that cannot be understood. Rather it is something specially disclosed by divine revelation to those who are ready to understand it. The secret of the kingdom of God’ is the content of the gospel of Christ. Cf. Eph. 3:4; 6:19
- Verse 21-25. What is the responsibility of the hearer: (a) for what he does with his knowledge, and (b) for his personal response to what he hears? What, therefore, are: (a) the divinely intended consequences of spiritual privilege, and (b) the conditions of spiritual progress? Cf. Mark 3:14
- Verse 26-29. What is suggested in this parable concerning the character and purpose of: (a) the first coming, and (b) the second coming into the world of the Lord Jesus? Cf. Ps. 126:6. What truth do both of the parables illustrate here concerning the seed of God’s word when it is sown in human hearts?
Note. Verse 26, 30. ‘Kingdom’: this word (Particularly its Old Testament antecedent) signifies ‘sphere or territory’, i.e., the sway exercised by a king, and only secondarily ‘realm’,i.e., the sphere or territory over which he rules. ‘This is what the kingdom f God is like…’ (verse 26) virtually means ‘the way God exercise his sway and works out his purposes among men is like this’.
- 4:35-41. What were the disciples surprised at in Jesus, and what was he surprised at in them? What was he both testing by leading them into such an experience? Why did this miracle men more to them than anything that they seen Jesus do?
- 5:1-20. Contrast men’s way of treating the demoniac with what Jesus did for him. In which way is the power of evil active in my life being dealt with?
- Why did the people ‘plead with Jesus to leave their region’ (5:17) and why did Jesus leave the healed demoniac behind? What may be the best form of witness in a home or neighborhood that seems not to want Christ?
- 4:40. It is significant that Jesus did not rebuke men used to sailing on to Sea of Galilee for their failure to bring him safely through the storm.
- 5:1-20. This happened in Decapolis, on the south-east side of the lake, in Gentile territory. The use of the title ‘Most High God’ (verse 7) and the local keeping of swine (verse 11) confirm this.
- These three incidents all emphasize the same necessity for any who would enjoy the experience of Christ’s saving power. What is it? Why is it sometimes lacking? What must it resist?
- Why were the disciples puzzled by the question of Jesus (5:30, 31)? Why did Jesus wait for a trembling women to speak in public before a crowed? What had she to give which no-one else there possessed? Do you possess it, and are you giving it – particularly before people who think that contact with Christ makes no difference?