In Mark 4, Jesus begins to speak in parables to describe the Kingdom of God to his disciples and the crowd who was gathering around him. The kingdom is compared to seeds that grow into grain for harvest or large shrubs that give birds a shady place to build a nest. Images of provision and protection. Where are the “shady places” in our lives made possible by the kingdom of God? In what ways does the kingdom of God nurture us and create space for us to survive and thrive?
- 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
- Psalm 20
- 2 Corinthians 5:6-17
- Mark 4:26-34
The Parable of the Growing Seed
He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’
The Use of Parables
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.