Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
A Good Soil
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, sixty, some a hundred times what was sown. (Mark 4:20)
Read Mark 4: 13-20
A parable is a story to illustrate a spiritual or moral truth. This parable of the sower describes the different sorts of people who come into contact with the gospel: the casual, the shallow, the worldly and responsive.
While the seeds are the same, the type of soils are different. The point is made here that there will be antagonism from the evil one and from the world. There will be tribulations and persecutions, and the worries and pleasures of this life could wither a seed from growing. The sower, whether he be Jesus in the first instance or a disciple later, can be assured that, although some of his seeds were wasted, there will still be an abundant harvest that produce a hundred, sixty or thirty times more! Although the seeds are the same, it was the different types of soils that made the difference. Therefore, cultivating one’s life to be good soil that is responsive to the gospel or the word of God is essential.
There are three criteria in a good soil: soft, sticky and spongy.
First, a good soil has to be soft enough to allow the root to grow into it easily. Likewise, a believer is to cultivate a soft heart that is responsive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, a good soil must be sticky enough to hold the root firmly for the plant to grow. Similarly, a believer must persevere enough to hold firmly and to obey the word of God in his life. The word of God is a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path. (Psalm 119:105)
Finally, a good soil must be spongy enough to store nutrient and water to nurture the plant. The soil must not easily drained away. Likewise, a believer is to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the word of God until they become part of his life.
A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart. That's why Jesus, finishing the interpretation of the parable said, ‘take heed how you hear’ (Luke 8:18). It is not only that one hears the Word, but it is also how one hears it, for many may hear the Word but only those that hear it and keep it in a good and honest heart will be fruitful. (Source: The Journal of Biblical Accuracy)
Editor: When you read the Word of God, take delight in it. Ask yourself these three questions: (1) What is God saying in this passage? (2) What is God saying to my heart? (3) How does God want me to respond to his word? Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23) The reading God’s word is a good start; but hearkening to his word is even better! Obedience is necessary.
Lord God, every seed that you have planted in the past, every seed that you are planting in the present, and every seed that you plant in the future will bear fruit in my life for the benefit of others and to your glory. Perhaps with my effort, I could make the thirty-fold harvest but I pray that by your grace you will supernaturally – above all that I can ask, think, imagine or dream about – bring me to that place of the hundred-fold blessing. In Jesus Name, Amen!
Article by the Venerable Dr. Stephen Soe, Archdeacon of Upper North Archdeaconry and Vicar of St Paul’s Church, Penang.
Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:34).
The primordial will of God for humankind can be seen in Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let us make man in our image”. This was his purpose for creating human beings at the beginning of time and this will remain his purpose for human beings in the end of time. Out of love God created men and women so that in them God’s image can be realized.
In short, God’s will for you and I is that in our life on earth (to be continued in the hereafter) that image of God can be realized. When God’s image can be seen in our life, God will be glorified. One big problem for humankind is to find a perfect model of that image of God to look up to and to imitate. In Jesus Christ, God-becoming-man, we now can see this perfect image of God in a human person. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). In his life and example, in his attitudes, words and deeds, Jesus showed us what God has originally intended for Adam when he created him. Jesus also showed us that in this sinful world it is still possible to live and realize that image of God in a human life.
Jesus’ primary mission in coming to Earth, therefore, is to help restore that image of God in every human person and thus repair the broken relationship with God caused by the marring of that image. Salvation is all about the restoration of the image of God in the person so that one day he or she may become like Christ. Christlikeness is the goal of the Christian life. Through his example, through his teaching and more importantly through his Holy Spirit, Jesus is helping to restore God’s image in our life.
When we cooperate with God and allow his Holy Spirit to help us to become like Jesus, then we are doing the will of God. This is what sanctification is all about. Paul says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3a). Just as Jesus was doing his Father’s will, so when we do God’s will in cooperating with and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us, we are in the same boat, as it were, with Jesus. We are ‘his brother and sister and mother’ and likewise it is incumbent upon us to also help and encourage our fellow brothers and sisters to realize that image of God in their lives.
How far have I gone in my Christian life towards achieving Christlikeness?
Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34). Such was his passion for doing the Father’s will. May we have that same passion in embracing God’s will in our life.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still. Amen.
(Song: ‘Have Thine Own Way’ - Lyrics: Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907.)
Article by the Right Reverend Aeries Jingan, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Kuching.