Jesus asks some very confronting questions in Mark’s Gospel which we might be afraid to ask another person. After telling a story in Mark 4 about a typical Middle Eastern farmer scattering seed broadly across his land with surprising results, Jesus questions the disciples’ understanding. Do they get it? Jesus teaches in parables which are stories that operate at two levels, the superficial one that anyone ought to understand, and the deeper level which is about the Kingdom of God. There are always those who will not hear what Jesus says and never understand his parables, just like so many people in Israel in the time of Isaiah. These people are like the hard ground of the path where the seed can never germinate and put down roots. Satan laughs as he steals God’s word from them!
Jesus explains this parable because it shows that every hearer is like seed which germinates and takes root but not all grow and produce good fruit for the Kingdom of God. Some are shallow hearers and Jesus’ words never penetrate their minds and wills. Others are those who willingly hear and receive what Jesus says but they are divided in their loyalty: God’s word is not the priority of their lives. Among those who heard Jesus tell this parable, and those who have heard it ever since, there are those of a good and noble heart who put Jesus and his word first in their lives. And guess what: these are the ones who keep on growing and producing good in their lives. The fruit of such people may well be seen in their lives but it will only be fully seen on the day when Jesus returns. Do you get it? Good!