Passage: Mark 4:1-20
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
Read Mark 4:1-20:
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. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 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. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 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.” (ESV)
- What are some of the consequences of being a bad listener in everyday life?
- Why do you think people today are often unwilling to listen to each other regarding political and public discourse? What are some of the results of that tendency in our country?
- What are qualities that help someone be a good listener?
- Why did Jesus speak in parables?
- What did Jesus mean when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”?
- The “hard path” people that Jesus described in vs. 4 and 15 may have been kept them from hearing and responding to God’s Word by pride. If you’ve see someone respond to God’s word this way, share about that.
- Why is humility so important for followers of Jesus?
- The second type of listener that Jesus spoke of in vs. 5-6 and 16-17 started out well, but then fell away because of fear and difficult circumstances. Have you seen this in someone you know? If so, share about that.
- If you’ve at times let fear and difficult circumstances hinder your trust in Jesus, share about that. How do we keep that from happening?
- Describe what the issue was for the third type of person Jesus described in vs. 7 and 18-19. In what ways have you seen this in your life or the life of those around you? What can we do to avoid this happening to us?
- What causes the fourth type of person Jesus described in vs. 8 and 20 to produce such an incredible amount of fruit? What was Jesus trying to get across here?
- Which type of soil do you identify with most in this current season of your life, and why?
- What did you sense God saying to you personally during this message?