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Song of Solomon
Mark 4 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
And again he began
to teach by the seaside.
This return to the seaside is mentioned by St. Mark only. From this time our Lord's teaching began to be more public. The room and the little courtyard no longer sufficed for the multitudes that came to him. The Authorized Version says that "a great multitude was gathered unto him." The Greek adjective, according to the most approved reading, is
the superlative of
, and should be rendered "a very great" multitude. They bad probably been waiting for him in the neighborhood of Capernaum.
entered into a boat
- probably the boat mentioned at
and sat in the sea
in the boat afloat on the water, so as to be relieved of the pressure of the vast multitude (
) gathered on the shore.
And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
He taught them many things in parables
. This was a new system of teaching. For some months he had taught directly. But as he found that this direct teaching was met in some quarters with unbelief and scorn, he abandoned it for the less direct method of the parable. The parable (
) is etymologically the setting forth of one thing by the side of another, so that the one may be compared with the other. The parable is the truth presented by a similitude. It differs from the proverb inasmuch as it is necessarily figurative. The proverb
be figurative, but it need not of necessity be figurative. The parable is often an expanded proverb, and the proverb a condensed parable. There is but one Hebrew word for the two English words "parable" and "proverb," which may account for their being frequently interchanged. The proverb (Latin) is a common sentiment generally accepted. The parable (Greek) is something put by the side of something else. Theologically, it is something in the world of nature which finds its counterpart in the world of spirit. The parable attracts attention, and so becomes valuable as a test of character. It reveals the seekers after truth, those who love the light. It withdraws the light from those who love darkness.
And said unto them in his doctrine
ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ
in his teaching
amely, that particular mode of teaching which he bad just introduced; "he taught them" (
). He said, "in his teaching" (
ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
). This word is introduced in St. Mark's narrative only; and it is very suitable to the warning at ver. 9, "he hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The sower went forth to sow
. The scope of this beautiful parable is this: Christ teaches us that he is the Sower, that is, the great Preacher of the gospel among men.
But not all who hear the gospel believe it and receive it; just as some of the seed sown fell by the wayside, on the hard footpath, where it could not penetrate the ground, but lay upon the surface, and so was picked up by the birds.
Again, not all who hear and believe persevere in the faith; some fall away; like the seed sown on rocky ground, which springs up indeed, but for want of depth of soil puts forth no root, and is soon scorched by the rising sun, and, being without root, withers away.
But further, not all who show faith bring forth the fruit of good works; like the seed sown among the thorns, which, growing up together with it, choked it (
); such is the meaning. St. Luke has the words (
συμφυεῖσαι αἱ ἄκανθαι ἀπέπνιξαν
), "the thorns grew up with it and choked it."
But, lastly, there are those who receive the gospel in the love of it, and bring forth fruit, not, however, in equal measures, but some thirtyfold, some sixty, some a hundred; and this on account of the greater influences of grace, or on account of the more ready co-operation of the free-will of man with the sovereign grace of God. The whole parable marks a gradation. In the first case the seed produces nothing; in the second it produces only the blade; in the third it is near the point of producing fruit, but fails to bring forth to perfection; in the fourth it yields fruit, but in different measures.
And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear
. St. Luke (
) bus a stronger word than (
) "he said." He (
) has (
) "he cried." Our Lord uses this expression, "he that hath ears to hear," etc, when the subject-matter is figurative or obscure, as though to rouse the attention of his hearers. He has "ears to hear" who diligently attends to the words of Christ, that he may ponder and obey them. Many heard him out of curiosity, that they might bear something new, or learned, or brilliant; not that they might lay to heart the things which they heard, and endeavor to practice them in their lives. And so it is with those who go to hear sermons on account of the fame of the preacher, and not that they may learn to amend their lives; and thus the words of Jehovah to Ezekiel (
) are fulfilled, "And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not."
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
When he was alone
. These words do not appear in St. Matthew's account. He simply says that " the disciples came and said unto him." This must have been upon some other occasion. It could not have been when be was preaching from the boat; for St. Mark says,
they that were about him with the twelve
. He is the only evangelist who notices this. We must not forget that, besides the twelve, there were seventy other disciples. They asked of him the parables (
), according to the best reading. The inquiry was a general one, although St. Mark here gives the explanation of one only.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all
things are done in parables:
Verses 11, 12.
To know the mystery
. The Greek verb
, to know, is not found in the best manuscripts, in which the words are (
ὑμῖν τὸ μυστὴριον δέδοται
unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God.
Our Lord here explains why he spake to the mixed multitude in parables; namely, because most of them were as yet incapable of receiving the gospel: some would not believe it, others reviled it. Therefore our Lord here encourages his own disciples to search out his words spoken in parables, and humbly to inquire into their full meaning, that so they might become able ministers and efficient preachers of the gospel. Moreover, by this he shows that this efficiency cannot be obtained by our own strength, but must be humbly sought for from God. For it is his own gift which he bestows on the disciples of Christ, and denies to others, whom he leaves to the blindness of their own hearts. It is as though he said, "To you, my disciples, my apostles, it is given, since you believe in me as the Messiah, to have continually more clear revelations from me of the mysteries of God and of heaven, by which you shall day by day increase in the knowledge and love of him. But from the scribes and others, because they will not believe in me as their own Messiah, God will take away even that small knowledge which they have of him and of his kingdom. Yea, he will deprive them of all the special privileges which they have hitherto possessed." But the words are not limited in their application to those who were living on the earth when Christ sojourned here. He says to all in every age who come within the reach of his gospel, "Those who come to me with a sincere heart and a simple desire to know the truth, as you, my apostles, are doing, to them I will reveal the mysteries of my kingdom, and I will help them onwards in the path of holiness, by which they may at length attain to the heavenly kingdom. But they who have not this pure desire of truth, but indulge their own lusts and errors, from them that little knowledge of God and of Divine things will by degrees be taken away, and they will become altogether blind." Observe the expression
ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω
unto them that are without
. There were then, just as there are now, those who were outside the realm of spiritual things; not caring for, not understanding, not desirous of spiritual truth.
Lest at any time they should be
- lest haply they should turn again
(the verb is active) and their sins should be forgiven them. According to the best reading,
is omitted; so it runs,
and it should be forgiven them.
The use of the active verb brings out the sinner's responsibility with respect to his own conversion.
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and
sins should be forgiven them.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables?
that is, "How, then, can you expect to understand all parables, as they ought to do who are instructed unto the kingdom of heaven?" It is St. Mark alone who recalls and records these words. They are striking and vivid, as illustrating the condition of mind of the disciples at this time - slow of apprehension, and yet desirous to learn.
The sower soweth the word.
The sower soweth the word
. St. Matthew (
) calls it "the word of the kingdom" - an expression equivalent to "the gospel of the kingdom," not merely moral truth, but spiritual and eternal.
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Straightway cometh Satan
. St. Matthew (
) says, "then cometh (
) the evil
;" the same expression which our Lord uses in the Lord's Prayer, and which helps to justify the English rendering in the Revised Version there. As the seed failing by the wayside is refused by the hard and well-trodden ground, and so is readily picked up by the birds; in like manner, the seed of God's Word, falling upon a heart rendered callous by the custom of sinning, is straightway snatched away by "the evil one," urging the heart again to its accustomed sins. Well may we pray to be delivered from this "evil one."
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Verses 16, 17.
- And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground
. This sentence would be better rendered,
And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky places
, where the words "likewise," or "in like manner," mean "by a similar mode of interpretation." This is the second condition of soil on which the seed is sown - a better condition than the former; for the former plainly refused the seed, but this, having some soil layout. able to the germination of the seed, receives it, and the seed springs up, though but for a little while. So the rocky ground is like the heart of that hearer who hears the Word of God, and receives it with joy. He is delighted with its beauty, its justice, its purity; and he breaks forth with holy affections. But alas he has more of the rock than of the good soil in his heart. Hence the Word of God cannot strike a deep root into his soul. He is not constant in the faith. He endures but for a time, and in the hour of temptation he falls away.
And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
these are they which are sown among thorns
. According to the best authorities, the words are (
καὶ ἄλλοι εἰσιν
, etc. This marks a considerable difference between the two classes. This is the third condition of soft; and it is so much better than the former, inasmuch as the thorns present less obstacles to the growth of the seed than the rocky ground does. This similitude indicates the heart of that hearer who is beset with the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things.
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The cares of the world
of the age
; that is, temporal and secular cares, incident to the age in which our lot is cast, and which are common to all. These, like thorns, distress and trouble, and often wound the soul; while, on the other hand, the care of the soul and the thought of heavenly things compose and establish the mind.
The deceitfulness of riches
. Riches are aptly compared to thorns, because, like thorns, they pierce the soul. St. Paul (
1 Timothy 6:10
) speaks of some who, through the love of riches, "have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Riches are deceitful, because they often seduce the soul from God and from salvation, and are the cause of many
How hardly," says our Lord, "
a rich man enter into the kingdom of God I" They have a tendency to choke the Word of God, and to weaken the power of religion. "Those are the only true riches," says St. Gregory, "which make us rich in virtue."
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive
, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Those are they that were sown upon the good ground
. The good ground represents the heart which receives the Word of God with joy and desire, and true devotion of spirit, and which steadfastly retains it, whether in prosperity or in adversity; and so yields fruit, "sows thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold." St. Jerome remarks that, as of the bad ground there were three different kinds - the way, side, the rocky, and the thorny ground; so of the good ground there is a threefold gradation indicated in the amount of its productiveness. There are differences of conditions in the hearts both of those who believe and of these who do not believe.
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
Is a candle brought to be put under
a bushel, etc.? The Greek is
, and is better rendered the
The figure is recorded by St. Matthew (
) as used by our Lord in his sermon on the mount. It is evident that he repeated his sayings, and used them sometimes in a different connection. The lamp is here the light of Divine truth, shining in the person of Christ.
Is the lamp brought to be put under the bushel
? It comes to us. The light in our souls is not of our own kindling; it comes to us from God, that we may manifest it for his glory. "The bushel" (
), from the Latin
, a measure containing flour, was the flour-bin, a part of the furniture of every house, as was the tall lampstand with its single light. St, Luke (
) calls it "a vessel" (
καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει
). The light is to be set on "a lamp-stand," and in like manner the light which we have received is to shine before men. As Christians, we are Christ's light-bearers. By this illustration our Lord teaches that he was unwilling that the mysteries of this great parable of the sower and of other parables should be concealed, but that his disciples should unfold these things to others as he had to them, although at present they might not be able to receive them.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested
. The Greek of the latter part of this sentence, according to the best authorities, runs thus:
ἐὰν μὴ ἵνα φανερωθῇ
; so the true rendering of the words is,
there is nothing hid save that it should be manifested
; that is, there is nothing now hid, but in order that it may be made known. There is a great principle of the Divine operations here announced by our Lord. Much, very much, is now hidden from us, in nature, in providence, and in grace. But it will not always be hidden. In natural things more and more is revealed as science advances, and in providence and in grace the mysteries of the kingdom will one day, and at the fitting time, be laid open to all. "What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light" (
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
Take heed what ye hear
. Attend, that is, to these words which ye hear from me, that ye may understand them, and commit them to memory, and so be able to communicate them effectually to others. Let none of my words escape you. Our Lord bids us to pay the greatest attention to his words, and so to digest them that we may be able to teach them to others.
With what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you: and more shall be given unto
Our Lord's meaning is clearly this: If you freely and plentifully communicate and preach my doctrine to others, you shall receive a corresponding reward. Nay, you shall have a return in far more abundant measure. For thus the fountains, the more water they pour out below, so much the more do they receive from above. Here, then, is great encouragement to all faithful teachers of the Word, of whatever kind; that by how much they give to others in teaching them, by so much the more shall they receive of wisdom and grace from Christ; according to those words of the apostle, "He that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (
2 Corinthians 9:6
For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
For he that hath, to him shall be given
. He that uses his gifts, whether of intellect or of goodness, bestowed upon him by God, to him shall be granted an increase of those gifts. But from him who uses them not, God will gradually take them away. Christ here encourages his apostles and disciples to diligent and earnest preaching of his gospel, by promising them in return yet greater influxes of his wisdom and grace.
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
This parable is recorded by St. Mark alone
. It differs greatly from the parable of the sower, although both of them are founded upon the imagery of the seed cast into the ground. In both cases the seed represents the doctrine of the gospel; the field represents the hearers; the harvest the end of the world, or perhaps the death of each individual hearer. So is the kingdom of God, in its progress from its establishment to its completion. The sower casts seed upon the earth, not without careful preparation of the soil, but without further sowing. And then he pursues his ordinary business. He sleeps by night; he rises by day; he has leisure for other employment; his work as a sower is finished. Meanwhile the seed germinates and grows by its own hidden virtues, assisted by the earth, the sun, and the air, the sower knowing nothing of the mysterious process.
First comes the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear
. Such is the preaching of the gospel. Here, therefore, the sower represents human responsibility in the work. The vitality of the seed is independent of his labour. The earth develops the plant from the seed by those natural but mysterious processes through which the Creator is ever working. So in spiritual things, the sower commences the work, and the grace of God perfects it in the heart which receives these influences.
The earth beareth fruit of herself
. In like manner, by degrees, the faith of Christ increases through the preaching of the gospel; and the Church grows and expands. And what is true of the Church collectively is true also of each individual member of the Church. For the heart of each faithful Christian produces first the blade, when it conceives good desires and begins to put them into action; then the ear, when it brings them to good effect; and lastly the full corn in the ear, when it brings them to their full maturity and perfection. Hence our Lord in this parable intimates that they who labour for the conversion of souls ought, with much patience, to wait for the fruit of 'their labour, as the husbandman waits with much patience for the precious fruits of the earth.
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
But when the fruit is ripe
ὅταν δὲ παραδῷ ὁ καρπὸς
). The verb here is active; it might be rendered
It is a peculiar expression, though evidently meaning "when the fruit is ready."
He putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come
. As soon as Christ's work is completed, whether in the Church or in the individual, "immediately" the sickle is sent forth. As soon as a Christian is ready for heaven, God calls him away; and therefore we may infer that it is unwise, if not sinful, for a Christian, pressed it may be with sickness or trouble, to be eager in wishing to leave this world. "It is one thing to be willing to go when God pleases; it is another thing to speak as though we wished to hasten our departure." "When the fruit is ripe,
putteth forth the sickle." If therefore, the sickle is not yet sent forth, it is because the fruit is not yet fully ripe. The afflictions of the faithful are God's means to ripen them for heaven. They are the dressing which the Lord of the vineyard employs to make the tree more fruitful, to make the Christian more fruitful in grace, and more ripe for glory.
And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?
or with what comparison shall we compare it! In the first clause of this verse the best authorities give
How shall we liken the kingdom of God
? and in the second clause, instead of the Greek of which the Authorized Version is the rendering, the best-approved reading is (
τίνι αὐτὴν παραβολῇ θῶμεν
in what parable shall we set it forth
? Our Lord thus stimulates the intellect of his hearers, by making them his associates, as it were, in the search for appropriate similitudes (see Dr. Morison,
). The kingdom of God, that is, his Church on earth, is
like a grain of mustard seed
. By this image our Lord shows the great power, fertility, and extension of the Church; inasmuch as it started from a very small and apparently insignificant beginning, and spread itself over the whole world. It is not literally and absolutely true that the grain of mustard seed is less than all seeds. There are other seeds which are less than it. But the expression may readily be allowed when we compare the smallness of the seed with the greatness of the results produced by it. It is one of the least of all seeds. And so the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of the Church was one of the smallest of beginnings. Perhaps the well-known pungency of the seed of the mustard plant may suggest the quickening, stimulating power of the Gospel when it takes root in the heart. The mustard plant shoots out large branches, which are used as fuel in some countries, quite large enough for shadow for the birds. A traveler in South America says that it grows to so large a tree upon the slopes of the mountains of Chili that he could ride under its branches.
like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear
Verses 33, 34.
many such parables;
such, that is, as he had just been delivering - plain and simple illustrations which all might understand; not abstruse and difficult similitudes, but sufficiently plain for them to perceive that there was heavenly and Divine truth lying hidden beneath them, so that they might be drawn onwards through that which they did understand, to search into something hidden beneath it, which at present they did not know.
But privately to his own disciples he
. This word (
) occurs nowhere else in the Gospels. But it does occur in St. Peter's second Epistle (
2 Peter 1:20
), "No Scripture is of any private (
) exposition, or interpretation." This suggests a connection between St. Mark's Gospel and that Epistle, and may be accepted as an auxiliary evidence, however small, as to the genuineness of the Epistle.
But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
Verses 35, 36.
And on that day
, - the day, that is, on which the parables were delivered, at least those recorded by St. Mark -
when even was come, he saith unto them, Let us go over unto
the other side. And leaving the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in the boat
. It was the boat from which he had been preaching. They made no special preparation. They did not land first to obtain provisions. It would have been inconvenient to go ashore in the midst of the crowd. They made at once, as he told them to do, for the other side.
And other boats were with
. This is another interesting circumstance. Probably those who were in these boats had availed themselves of them to get nearer to the great Prophet, the boatmen themselves having seen the vast crowd that was gathered on the shore, and so having been attracted thither. Thus he had a large audience on the sea as well as on the land. And not it was so ordered that he was surrounded by a fleet and by a multitude of witnesses when he stilled the tempest.
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
there arose a great storm of wind
). St. Mark often uses the historical present, which gives vigor and point to his narrative.
And the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling
). St. Matthew says (
), "the boat was covered with the waves." St. Luke (
), "they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy." Bede and ethers have thought that the boat in which Christ was the only boat that was tossed by this storm; in order that Christ might show his power in limiting the area of the tempest. But it is far more probable that the ether boats were subject to it; for they were very near to the boat in which Christ was. There must have been some reason for the allusion to these boats; and the wider the reach of the tempest, the greater would appear the Divine power of Christ in stilling it, and the greater the amount of testimony to the reality of the miracle. The miracle was wrought to show his power over all creation, the sea as well as the dry land; and that they, his disciples, and all who were with him might believe in him as the Omnipotent God. But further, this tempest on the sea of Galilee was a type and symbol of the trials and temptations which should come on the Church. For the Church of God is as a ship in a storm, ever tossed upon "the waves of this troublesome world." And then, moreover, as the rude storm urges the ship onwards, so that it more quickly reaches the desired haven, so afflictions and temptations quicken Christ's disciples to the greater desire of holiness, by which they are borne onwards more speedily to "the haven where they would be."
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow
; more literally,
he himself was in the stern
η΅ν αὐτὸς ἐπὶ τῇ πρύμνῃ
asleep on the cushion
ἐπὶ τὸ προσκεφάλαιον καθεύδων
). He had changed his posture. He was weary with the labour of addressing the great multitude. He had sought the momentary rest which the crossing of the lake offered to him. He was resting his head upon the low bench which served both for a seat and for a pillow. But while he slept as man, he was watchful as God. "Behold, he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps."
Master, carest thou not that we perish?
This question savours of impatience, if not of irreverence. Who so likely to have put it as St. Peter? Nor would he be likely afterwards to forget that he had put it. Hence, probably, its appearance in St. Mark's Gospel.
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he arose
- literally, he
and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still
! The Greek perfect implies that before the word was uttered, the thing was done by the simple fiat of his will preceding the word. The combined descriptions of the synoptists show that the storm was very violent, such as no human power could have composed or stilled. So that these words indicate the supreme authority of Christ as God, ruling the sea with his mighty power. Thus Christ shows himself to be God. In like manner, Christ is able to overrule and control the persecutions of the Church and the temptations of the soul. St. Augustine says that "when we allow temptations to overcome us, Christ sleeps in us. We forget Christ at such times. Let us, then, remember him. Let us awake him. He will speak. He will rebuke the tempest in the soul, and there will be a great calm."
There was a great calm
. For all creation perceives its Creator. He never speaks in vain. It is observable that, as in his miracles of healing, the subjects of them usually passed at once to perfect soundness, so here, there was no gradual subsiding of the storm, as in the ordinary operations of nature, but almost before the word had escaped his lips there was a perfect calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
And he said unto them, Why are ye fearful! have ye not yet faith?
πῶς οὐκ ἔχετε
. If they had faith, they would have known that
though asleep, he could preserve them.
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
And they feared exceedingly,
and said one to another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
This would seem to have been said by the sailors, though it was doubtless assented to by all.
Courtesy of Open Bible
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1. But not all who hear the gospel believe it and receive it; just as some of the seed sown fell by the wayside, on the hard footpath, where it could not penetrate the ground, but lay upon the surface, and so was picked up by the birds.
2. Again, not all who hear and believe persevere in the faith; some fall away; like the seed sown on rocky ground, which springs up indeed, but for want of depth of soil puts forth no root, and is soon scorched by the rising sun, and, being without root, withers away.
3. But further, not all who show faith bring forth the fruit of good works; like the seed sown among the thorns, which, growing up together with it, choked it (συνέπνιξαν αὐτὸ); such is the meaning. St. Luke has the words (συμφυεῖσαι αἱ ἄκανθαι ἀπέπνιξαν), "the thorns grew up with it and choked it."
4. But, lastly, there are those who receive the gospel in the love of it, and bring forth fruit, not, however, in equal measures, but some thirtyfold, some sixty, some a hundred; and this on account of the greater influences of grace, or on account of the more ready co-operation of the free-will of man with the sovereign grace of God. The whole parable marks a gradation. In the first case the seed produces nothing; in the second it produces only the blade; in the third it is near the point of producing fruit, but fails to bring forth to perfection; in the fourth it yields fruit, but in different measures.