Mark 7

Mark 7

7:1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,


  “‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
  in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

(ESV)

Going Deeper

Going Deeper

Mark 2-6 (8.17.19)

Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Mark 4.

Mark 4:1-3 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.”

The main point Jesus is making in this parable is one of hearing. When you read the entire chapter, you will see the main point Jesus is talking about is the importance of and means of us hearing the gospel. Now, the hearing He speaks of is not just a hearing with the ears. It is a hearing with the heart. The varying receptiveness and readiness of the heart is the issue as to whether or not the gospel will take! We are also going to see that it is God’s authority that ultimately decides who hears and who doesn’t, which is fitting for how Mark is portraying Jesus in the first 8 chapters as the supreme King.

Look with me at verse 4 as we are introduced to the first heart condition.

  1. Hardened Soil – Hard Heart

Mark 4:4 “And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.”

Mark 4:15 “And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.”

This path represents a hard heart—a heart that is tight and solid and rigid and cold and not pliable. It is a person who, on the outside, looks alive and maybe fun and vibrant; but on the inside, his heart is closed off and rigid and cold and dead. If you are this person, then when you hear the gospel, it is with the ears on your head only, because your heart rejects its truth and is not ready to receive it. It is snatched away by the enemy before God changes your heart to reconsider.

Some practical examples of this for today:

You hear the words of the gospel, but your affections are so stirred for something else that the gospel of Jesus is just not THE GOOD NEWS to you. In other words, you hear the words, but someone else snatches them away.

So, you go to lunch after church, and it doesn’t take more than a meaningless conversation about last week’s favorite TV episode for the gospel truth you just heard in your ears to be completely out of mind before it even gets to the heart. Some people can even be regular attendees of church, but in the end, the good news has not scratched the surface. It doesn’t matter how good the preacher is if the sovereign God has not changed the heart from stone to flesh.

God says clearly how He moves upon those He will save through His prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:26:And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

For those who are reading this who have a hard heart or for those who are witnessing to others who have a hard heart—the command is to listen.

Jesus opens the parable with the word “LISTEN!” This is super important! Keep listening. Keep watching the gospel lived out in others around you who are mature in Christ. If you are the one sharing it to the person with the hard heart, keep sharing it even though they are turned off, because we don’t know if or when God will regenerate a dead heart to flesh, thereby making it ready to receive the good news.

Now, there’s a second scenario, and this one can be troubling when we are honest with what Jesus is saying.

  1. Rocky Soil – Shallow Heart

Mark 4:5-6 “Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.”

Mark 4:16-17 “And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.”

This seed lands in soil that is shallow due to all the other rocks and stuff in it. When seed lands in shallow soil, the person says, “Yes. Thank You,” but it never actually takes and produces growth.

Let’s say it another way: The initial response to hearing the gospel is excitement, but when hardship or trials come—because the receiving is a more emotional receiving and there is no real ROOT–the seed withers and the plant never grows.

He is talking about men and women who can point back to an event and say, “I said the prayer, I walked down the aisle for an alter call, I heard the message, or I grew up in the church. I remember saying ‘yes’ to Jesus, but from that moment on I have had no objective evidences of regeneration and conversion at all.” At most, over the years, this person has been conformed to a moral pattern or church culture but has not been regenerated or transformed by the Holy Spirit of God. To this person, the gospel was a good “idea” or an emotional momentary “experience,” but it did not take root. It did not transform the way the gospel does when it truly is taken in.

What Jesus is saying here is that there are men and women who point back to this moment where they received a gospel message with joy, but they never developed roots; and when hard times blow through, their roots in faith in God prove to be non-existent. This is what the Bible commonly calls a “dullness of hearing.” The promises come to the ear, but there is no passion for the promises, no lover’s embrace, no cherishing or treasuring, no real faith and therefore, no perseverance.

This is like hearing the Bible or the preaching of the Bible the way you hear the freeway noise near your house or the way you hear music in the dentist’s office waiting room. You hear it, but you don’t. You have grown dull to the sound. It does not awaken or produce anything.

There is a placebo effect when it comes to religion that is dangerous. It is an inoculation (baby shot)—a small dose of something so your body can adjust to it, so that you don’t fully get it. This placebo or inoculation for many people is their church attendance, prayer life, financial giving, routine confession from sin, or effort to do good things.

The problem is the placebo, inoculation, or routine religious experiences are not what save you or transform your heart. The real sickness is not addressed. Jesus is not really the Lord of your life. You said yes to the “idea of the seed growing in you,” but the actual seed never took ROOT. It never transformed your soil with sustaining plant growth.

If this is you, if your faith is much more about religion (obeying so I can get God’s acceptance) than it is about the gospel (recognizing I am accepted so I have the power to obey), what you need is to go back to the cross and discover what you missed the first time that has you longing after the world for identity and hope and not rooted in Jesus.

Let’s keep going. Soil number 3:

  1. Thorny Soil – Preoccupied Heart

Mark 4:7 “Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.”

Mark 4:18-19 “And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Preoccupied Heart: This kind of soil is the kind that is crowded with other affections. This person believes they have received the seed. They have said “yes” to the gospel and are taking real steps to grow in their walk with God, but it never produces true life change. WHY? Because the gospel to them is just religion. It is something they add to their life. It doesn’t radically change their life. The gospel cannot be just one plant of many you are trying to grow in your soil.

This is the person who says “yes” to Jesus, but also says “yes” to other functional saviors. This is the compartmentalized Christian life that just won’t produce fruit. This is what Jesus described when he said, “Who is your master? You cannot serve both God and money.” Your heart is trying to worship Jesus in principle, but you really have multiple idols that you worship. In the end, you have not truly made Jesus the Lord of your life. The passage says that you take the seed in, but you are also clinging to “cares of the world,” “riches,” and “desires.” All of these end up being thorns that choke out the one thing that can truly transform—the one thing that can truly bring lasting life and joy—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Romans 1:21, we see this described:

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him …

Romans 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator …

Let me define idolatry for you real quick as a substitute or counterfeit God—something in the creation that is inflated to function as God—something that has become more fundamental than God in your life for your identity, personal significance, sense of security, purpose for living, or finding in Him happiness and joy.

Do you see how some might claim to have Jesus, but these things are choking them out? The other idols of the heart are the roots that are truly deep in their life. It’s not the gospel that is deep.

This person has to see their idols are killing them. They cannot give us the salvation we believe they will give nor the joy we hope they will give. We have to expose them and then replace them. See, the third person, the thorny soil still has not given their life to Jesus. They are trying to add Him to the alter of the other idols of their lives. While there is some devotion to the things of God, there is not true and lasting transformation. They have not truly been born again by the gospel. They have added religion to their lives and are trying to balance God with everything else.

With that, let’s look at the final soil:

  1. Good Soil ­– Readied Heart

Mark 4:8 “And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

Mark 4:20 “But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

This is the picture of the readied heart. The question is, “How do we truly hear the Word and then cultivate the soil of the readied heart?”

First, we must understand God is ultimately in charge of who hears and who doesn’t. Now, this is not a popular way to look at how God works. But I’m much more concerned with being honest with God’s word than pleasing people. So, I must be faithful to what Jesus is saying here and not put my own twist on it for the sake of making everyone feel comfortable.

Look with me at the middle of our passage at verses 10-12, because we need to see what happens right after Jesus finishes preaching the parable to the crowd and not skip it.

Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.

Now Jesus answers, but listen to where Jesus takes them with His answer:

Mark 4:11-12 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that [and he quotes from Isaiah] ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

In Isaiah 6:9-10, God tells Isaiah that his ministry to Israel will be saving for some, but hardening for others. The time had run out for Isaiah’s people and the word of God was, by God’s will, no longer going to be effective to save them. Instead it would render their hearts insensitive and their ears dull.

This is a very boggling reference Jesus uses at first glance. It is one that man gets hung up on because we want to box God in and believe that “God doesn’t cause some to not hear this gospel.” But Jesus is saying very clearly here that to those whom Jesus has chosen, they will hear. And to those God has not chosen, they might hear with their ears, but they will not hear with their hearts.

Some will twist this to say that this means the SAVED WILL UNDERSTAND AND THE UNSAVED WILL NOT.

The scriptures are clear, God is sovereign over salvation and therefore Jesus knows who will be saved and who will not. He knows who is a part of His elect and who are not. He is saying here in verses 11 and 12 that one of the reasons he uses parables is “so that” when some hear, they may not understand.

So, every time the Scriptures are taught, every time the word of God goes out, by God’s providence it has a softening effect on some and a hardening effect on others, because God’s going to display both His mercy and His justice. If you are wrestling with this, Paul is clear in Romans 9 that there is no injustice in God’s sovereign will to choose some and not others (specifically in Romans 9:11-23). We have to be careful not to do what Paul’s audience in Romans 9 is doing, which is to challenge why a good and holy God would not work this way. I will simply say who are we to tell Him what is holy and just and right? He is God and we are His creation.

In Isaiah 55:8-9, God affirms that His sovereign ways and thoughts are higher than ours. It is important when we come face to face with these kinds of workings of God that we humble ourselves before our mighty King rather than arrogantly think we know better.

So, how do we truly hear the word and then cultivate the soil of the readied heart?

  1. God is ultimately in charge of who hears and who doesn’t.
  2. Verse 20 shows us three things that go with cultivating the soil of the readied heart.

Mark 4:20 “but those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

“Hear the word”

We need to listen to the wordjust as Jesus commanded His listeners to do as He began to teach this parable. We need to read the Scriptures ourselves and sit under good preaching and teaching of God’s word if we are going to hear the WORD. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing. In other words, you will not ever have faith if you first do not listen and hear.

Make it personal for you today. Do you hunger for God’s word? Is this a regular practice for you? Are you spending time with people who get the gospel and reveal the gospel in their lives?

“Accept it”

“Accept it” in the Greek is better translated to “take in” or to “delight in.” The ones who hear the word and delight in it, for them, it is GOOD NEWS to their soul. We need to savor and swallow and digest the gospel and be satisfied in it. This is the miraculous spiritual event of loving what once you hated.

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Are you feasting on the things of the world or on the things of God?

There are hundreds of big events and exciting things that are worth enjoying and celebrating in this life: the birth of a child, a meal at your favorite restaurant, vacation, a new bike, a clean bill of health, a bonus at work, a new job, an engagement, a wedding, a change in habits or lifestyle, sex with your spouse, a good report card at the end of a quarter, and on and on.

But here is the question: Is the GOOD NEWS of Jesus THE BEST NEWS in your life at any given time? Don’t just hear it and be done. The good soil, the readied heart, takes it in—delights in it!

“Bear fruit”

In verse 8, Jesus says the good soil that takes in the gospel produces grain. In verse 20, He says the good soil bears fruit. Whether grain or fruit, they both represent the harvest of the plant. It is what the plant is designed to produce. When God takes hold of our heart and we delight in Him, He produces harvest in us. The fruit is the proof of the soil you’re in. Lasting fruit is only produced by the one whom God gave ears to hear–“the readied soil.”

Matthew 7 says by one’s fruit you will know who they really are! In other words, many will claim Jesus, go to church, carry a Bible in their hand, even quote Scripture, but their actions and transformation–their harvest—will be the evidence of a life deeply rooted in the rich soil. Because when you take the gospel into readied soil, it changes everything—transforming your heart and life from self-centered to other-centered.

Look at the transforming power of those that God saves. See the supernatural growth (30, 60, or 100-fold) that comes from just one person whom God saves.

Why is all this good news? When God opens our ears to hear and receive the gospel, we are a part of the kingdom of God where life and love blossom and where harvest in our lives glorifies God and blesses others with fruit to see and eat and enjoy. This is good news because, in the end, it is not our labor or work that produces a life of meaning and restoration of all things; it is God at work in and through us. He is the Sower. His gospel is the power, and we are the clay in His hands being molded and made ready in His perfect timing.

The image Jesus chooses for the gospel in this parable is not a bomb, not a hammer–it’s a seed. But a seed–something so gentle and so dainty. WHY? Jesus said it Himself in John chapter 12.

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

A seed only releases its power if it goes deep into the ground and dies. This is what Jesus did for you and me! He broke through our hard surface. He went deeper than the rocks and broke through the idols of our heart to transform us from the inside out. He died so that we might live and flourish and bless others with the fruit He produces out of us.

It is our great privilege to be pursued by God with the blood of His only son when we did not deserve it–to be given ears to hear and soil ready to receive the gospel–to be sanctified and transformed by our great God so that the gospel can move through us in WORD and DEED. We go out and preach the word boldly to unbelievers knowing that God will open dead hearts and make them ready as He perfectly has planned to. It is not up to us to press someone to say the prayer or to convince them to change. We just need to speak the gospel and call them to repentance and belief. For those whom God will save, He will in His perfect time!!!!

Soldiers for Jesus, you are saved and set free not because of you, but because of God. You are able to serve and lead others because of the purifying and sanctifying work of the KING. This is why we praise Him. Because as Romans 11 says, it is all “from him and through him and to him.” It is the name of KING JESUS who we celebrate and praise this day.

For He is the one who took our meaningless dirt and turned it into life-producing, eternal soil that springs forth a harvest for His glory and others’ joy!

By His grace and for His glory,

-Shepherd

Soldiers for Jesus MC

Mark 6

Mark 6

6:1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

(ESV)

Mark 5

Mark 5

5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

(ESV)

Mark 4

Mark 4

4:1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that


  “‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
    and may indeed hear but not understand,
  lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

(ESV)