CHAPTER FOUR: “THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD AT A RAPID CLIP” (MK.4)
It amazes me afresh how central to Jesus’ ministry was his teaching; He’s seen entering the synagogue and began to teach…crowds were amazed at his teaching because it was authoritative (Mark 1:21-22; 39); when Jesus speaks it’s the word (Mark 2:2); when he calls the twelve it’s for the purpose of teaching with authority and casting out demons (Mark 3:13-19); moreover to do the will of God presupposes the word and determines whether or not one belongs to Christ’s family (Mark 4:35); concerning location Jesus taught the word both indoors and out and often in parables (Mark 4:1-2).
Perhaps the reason Mark is emphasizing the centrality of the word of Christ in his ministry is because without it, no acts of power will come because without it faith in God cannot be birthed. God is always the object of faith or trust in the ministry of Jesus and thus his eternal word must be sown in order for life to emerge.
In fact we see that the sown word goes into the soil (metaphor for the human soul) which comes under attack and only the “good” soil produces the life of the kingdom, the other three don’t (4:3-9). The sower sows the word in (v.14) but why? The word is sown because only it has the power to produce faith or trust in God, nothing else. So in order to make disciples, central to the task is the word of God. And I might add: God’s word meaning the hearing and understanding of the author’s intended message as central, not some aberration to the context of the text.
More can be said but here Jesus reveals three enemies of the word.