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The Parables about
  Seed Growing Secretly
and the Mustard Seed


Mark 4:26-32

Service Notes

MARK 4:26-34
    26.  Jesus said, "God's kingdom is the same-as a man throwing seeds on the ground.
    27.  The man sleeps during the night and wakes-up in the morning.  While he sleeps the seed grows, but the man doesn't understand how.
    28.  The ground makes the seed grow and blossom; first the green leaf, then the small grain, and finally the full grown WHEAT.
    29.  When the WHEAT is ready, the man starts to work to harvest the good WHEAT."
    30.  Jesus said, "What can we say about God's kingdom?  What comparison story can we tell?
    31.  God's kingdom is the same-as a tiny MUSTARD seed.  That is the smallest seed in our garden.
    32.  A man takes that seed and puts that in the ground, and it grows to become a large bush.  It grows large that birds come and make homes in the branches."
    33.  Jesus told many comparison stories to teach the people God's word.  Jesus told them only the things they could understand.
    34.  Jesus always spoke to the people with comparison stories.  But when Jesus was alone with HIS Disciples, Jesus explained everything to them.

The Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly (Mark 4:26-29)

The Farmer = 

The Seed = 

The Field = 

The Plant = 

Harvest Time = 

Application to me: 


The Parable of the Mustard Seed  (Mark 4:30-32)

The Seed = 
       
The Mustard plant = 

       
The Garden = 

       
The Birds = 

       
Application to me: 



More stories about seeds...

We already had one story that focused on different kinds of ground -- meaning different kinds of people, different kinds of hearts that receive or reject God's Word. (The Parable of the Sower)

Now here in one Bible lesson we have two more stories about seeds growing.

The first story is about seed growing secretly.
That story focuses on the power of the Gospel in the hearts of people who received it.

The second story is about the mustard seed.
That focuses on what happens in a person when God's Word changes him and makes him grow.


SEED GROWING SECRETLY (Mark 4:26-29)
Jesus said, "God's kingdom is the same-as a man throwing seeds on the ground.  The man sleeps during the night and wakes-up in the morning.  While he sleeps the seed grows, but the man doesn't understand how.  The ground makes the seed grow and blossom; first the green leaf, then the small grain, and finally the full grown WHEAT."

Jesus didn't explain what this story means.
But we can borrow some ideas from that previous story
    about the different soils.

In that previous story...
The Seed = God's Word

And for this story, the meaning is the same.
The seed means God's Word in a person's heart.

Who is the farmer? 
    Any person who shares God's Word with other people.

The Farmer = Preacher, Teacher, Evangelist
The Field  = People who receive God's Word (Christian)

When we share the Gospel of Jesus with other people -- Christians or non-Christians -- we plant the seed.  

Then what happens?   Faith grows.

The Wheat Plant = Faith

We can' see the faith that God is working in that person,
    the same as a farmer can't see the seed growing.

We don't-know how faith grows,
    the same as a farmer doesn't fully understand
        how seeds grow.

And faith grows slows, the same as plants grow slowly.

When a person trusts Christ for the first time, can we expect that immediately that person will have strong faith, strong character, and right attitudes?  No!

Physical maturity is slow -- it takes time.
Spiritual maturity also is slow -- it takes time,
    requiring patience, learning, training.

 
When we spread the Word of God, we maybe will not see quick success.  Sometimes it will be a long time for the seed to grow. We maybe will not see any success.  But we can trust God that His seed will grow and the Word of God will spread.

In the Old Testament, God said:

Rain and snow fall from the sky
    and water the ground, before the water goes back up.
The rain makes plants to sprout and grow,
    making seeds for the farmer
    and bread for the people to eat.
The words I speak are like that.
My words will not come back to me empty.
My words make the things happen that I want to happen,
    and My words succeed in doing my plans.  (Isaiah 55:10-11)


Jesus ends this story:
When the WHEAT is ready, the man starts to work to harvest the good WHEAT.

That's a picture of what?

When the Bible talks about "harvest," 
    we see two different meanings:

Harvest Time =  (1) People trust Christ & join the Church*
                             (2) Judgment Day**
*(see Matthew 9:37-38, Luke 10:2)
**(see Matthew 13:37-43)


Which meaning here is the right one?
    Jesus didn't say.
So we can guess that BOTH are right.
When a farmer plants seeds, and they grow well,
    can the farmer brag about his success?
No.  He must thank God, because God blessed him
    and gave his seed success.

The same is true about faith in a new Christian.
When share God's Word like seeds on a field,
    God makes faith in people.
The preacher cannot feel proud of "his success."
No.  We must thank God for giving His Word success.

 
Now, story #2.

THE MUSTARD SEED   (Mark 4:31-32) 
God's kingdom is the same-as a tiny MUSTARD seed.  That is the smallest seed in our garden.  A man takes that seed and puts that in the ground, and it grows to become a large bush.  It grows large that birds come and make homes in the branches.

The parable of the Mustard Seed emphasizes that no-matter that planting seed (God's Word) seems so small in the beginning, the results of that seed growing are tremendous. 

Here are some interesting facts about the mustard seed and plant:

What does this parable mean?
Various interpretations are possible:

#1.
The Seed = God's Word (as in previous parables)
OR Faith (see Matthew 17:20, Luke 17:6)

The Mustard plant = a new believer who starts with a "baby" faith, but quietly over time matures and grows to have an important ministry which touches many people
The Garden = The Church
The Birds = Other Christians & people in need who receive comfort and protection from the believer.


#2.  Similar but apply it to a Christian congregation rather than an individual believer...
The Garden = our church congregation
The Birds = our community

Our little church has a bigger influence in the world than we may know. 
In our case -- Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf receives feedback from readers of our monthly newsletter "The Mustard Seed" from all over the country, and we receive email from readers of our website from all over the world!

 
#3.  Similar to #2, but apply it to the whole Christian Church...
The Mustard plant = The Christian Church, beginning so small with 12 clumsy Disciples
The Garden = The World (see Daniel 2:35,44-45; 7:27; Rev 11:15)
The Birds = People in need who find comfort and shelter in the church

The church began very small -- 12 Disciples. 
Little by little, over many years, the church grew to cover the world, giving comfort and shelter to people in all nations.


Have you ever seen a mustard seed?
The mustard seed is one of the smallest of all seeds.
[Distribute mustard seeds to the congregation.]

The mustard seed is so small that you it is hard to see.
Some people wear a necklace that has one of these tiny mustard seeds inside of a piece of glass. They wear this necklace as a symbol of their faith in God. Do you know why the mustard seed is considered a symbol of faith?

One day, Jesus was talking to his disciples when one of them turned to him and said, "Lord, increase our faith."

Jesus answered and said, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."

Jesus was not saying that you and I go around trying to move trees or mountains just to prove that we have faith.

What Jesus was trying to teach his disciples -- and what he wants you and me to learn -- is that it doesn't require a great faith to produce great results. Why? Because the results don't depend on us, they depend on God.  

This tells us that we do not necessarily need to have great knowledge of the Bible, nor do we need to have great faith to plant the seeds of God’s Word in people.  

Sometimes we worry about what people will think about us,
or we worry about what to say when sharing our faith.
We only need faith as small as a mustard seed to share.


Continue planting seed -- sharing Jesus. 

Success is His responsibility. 
    Our responsibility to only to be faithful.  

Don't ask for a great faith so that we can do great things -- ask for faith the size of a mustard seed so that we can see God do great things!

And when success happens, all thanks and praise belong to Him.


Parables Index