Introduction: Do you like to be among the elite group of insiders?
At work, are you one of those who knows what is really going on with
the company? Do you want to know all of the secrets? This week Mark
teaches us that becoming a follower of Jesus is like joining an
elite, secret society. Jesus has “insider” messages only for us. We
understand secrets the world does not. How is this possible? Let’s
dive into the Bible and find out!
- Secrets in the Seed
- Read Mark 4:2-8. Why is Jesus teaching them about farming?
(He is not. The idea of a parable is to teach a spiritual
lesson through story-telling.)
- Read Mark 4:9. Who is supposed to be listening to this
story? (Everyone with ears – a pretty broad standard.)
- Read Mark 4:10-12. What reason does Jesus give for
teaching in parables? (So that those on the “outside” will
- What happened to the idea that everyone with ears was
a candidate for this teaching?
- I thought the idea of teaching through stories was to
illustrate, not conceal, the point. Am I wrong?
- I thought the point was to encourage people to turn
from sin and be forgiven. Am I wrong?
- Are some denied the opportunity to believe in Jesus?
- Read Isaiah 6:8-11. We see that Jesus is quoting the
instruction given to Isaiah after he answered the call to
be a prophet of God. What does this teach us about what
Jesus is saying about His parables? (The people in
Isaiah’s time had turned away from God. Their hearts were
hard. God had Isaiah tell them that their hard hearts
would result in the destruction of their cities and their
deaths. Since God told Isaiah to explicitly say this to
the public, I think the message for Jesus’ audience (and
us) is that we need to ask the Holy Spirit to soften our
hearts, open our eyes, and make our best effort to
understand Jesus’ teaching. Otherwise, we are not going to
- Read Mark 4:13. The disciples privately come to Jesus, He
tells them His parables are for those who are “insiders,”
and they say they don’t understand. What is Jesus’
reaction to their lack of understanding?
- Read Mark 4:14-20. What reaction do we find here to their
lack of understanding? (Jesus takes the time to explain
the parable to them. This should encourage us.)
- What relationship does this parable have to this
issue of understanding Jesus – the issue we have been
discussing? (Have the lights turned on in your mind?
This entire section is about understanding the
teachings of Jesus – and it is the main point of the
- What keeps us from understanding the parables of
Jesus, according to this parable? (1. Satan
taking away our understanding. 2. Not letting
Jesus’ teaching take hold of us enough to
withstand trouble or persecution. 3. Letting the
cares and concerns of life overcome our faith.)
- Look again at Mark 4:13. Do you understand now
why Jesus said this? (Since this is a parable
about understanding parables, if you don’t get
this one you don’t get any of them! It is a
teaching about how to understand Jesus’
- Secrets in the Soil
- Read Mark 4:26-29. What part do we have in growing
the kingdom of heaven? (Scattering the seed?)
- What seems to be the most important factor for
successful seed growth? That is, if you wanted
to help, in what area would you help? (It seems
that the soil is the most important part. Mark
4:28 says, “All by itself the soil produces
grain.” In the first sowing parable we studied,
the soil also had a very important role.)
- What does soil represent? (Our hearts. Our
minds. Our receptivity to the gospel.)
- I read church growth books. I scheme about how
we can best grow our church. Is all of this a
waste of time?
- If you “scatter seed” – is that our only
concern for church growth? Are we just to
hope for good soil and leave the rest to
God? (I’m not sure the lesson of this
parable was meant for seed scatterers.
Instead, I think the target of this
parable was the listeners. Jesus is
telling us that the most important factor
for coming to Christ is having an open,
receptive heart. That was the same theme
Jesus hammered home in the first parable –
if you have a hard heart you will always
see and hear the gospel, but you will not
perceive or understand it. If you want to
be an “insider” who understands the
secrets of the kingdom, you have to have
an open, receptive heart.)
- The Secret of Trust
- Read Mark 5:21-23. What claim did Jairus have on Jesus’
time? Is he someone you would naturally think should be
helped? (He was an important man. His child was dying. He
earnestly sought Jesus’ help.)
- Is this a medical emergency? (Yes.)
- Read Mark 5:24. What was slowing down Jesus’ response to
this medical emergency? (The crowd.)
- If you are Jairus, how do you feel about the crowd?
(Frustrated. Anxious. “Get out of the way! My
daughter is dying.” He needed a flashing red light
- Read Mark 5:25-26. Is this a medical emergency? (Hardly.
She had lived with this condition for 12 years.)
- Read Mark 5:27-28. What kind of faith did this woman
- Was she planning on interfering with Jesus’ work? Was
she trying to slow Him down? (No.)
- Read Mark 5:29. How was her faith rewarded?
- Read Mark 5:30-34. Why was the woman afraid? (See
Leviticus 15:26-27 – she should not have been touching
anyone because the person she touched became “unclean.”
She thought Jesus would be required to wash His clothes,
bath with water, and remain unclean until the evening.
Talk about inconveniencing an important person!)
- Compare this woman to Jairus. Who would have the best
claim to Jesus’ time? (A synagogue ruler versus an
unclean woman – an easy choice.)
- Who thought they had the best claim to Jesus
time? (Jairus came boldly to Jesus and pleaded
for His help. Jesus agreed to help by coming
with him. The woman, on the other hand, snuck up
on Jesus knowing it was “illegal” to touch Him.
She just wanted to quietly sneak a touch to His
coat and be healed.)
- What is going on in Jairus’ mind during this? (“What
is Jesus doing? My daughter is dying!”)
- Is Jesus using any common sense? He has one “patient”
who is dying and another who has had a problem for 12
years. Why not take care of the medical emergency
first, and then address the 12-year old problem?
- Read Mark 5:35. Put yourself in Jairus’ place. Tell me
about your emotions?
- How do you feel about your daughter? (The IVP
Background Commentary tells us that girls got married
soon after they were twelve. That was the most joyous
event of their life. My daughter just missed out on
the most exciting time of life!)
- How do you feel about Jesus? (I would be so angry and
disappointed. Jesus was near. He could have saved my
daughter’s life if only He had not been fooling
around with this woman who had been sick for 12
years. How could Jesus be so uncaring and foolish
with the time? Jairus has frustration upon
frustration. So close, yet so far.)
- Now put yourself back in your own shoes. Have you
felt this way about Jesus before? Has He failed to
answer your prayer for help? Has He not gotten there
in time? Has He frustrated your hopes? Does He seem
to be helping other people and not you?
- Read Mark 5:36, 41-42. What answer does this parable give
to all of those times when it seemed that Jesus let you
down? Those times when your loved ones died, instead of
being healed? Those times when you have been frustrated
with God? (It shows us that God will ultimately make
everything right – on His own time table. God’s time is
not our time)
- What is our obligation in this? ( Mark 5:36 – “Don’t
be afraid, just believe.”)
- How important were Jairus’ frustrations at the point
of time just after his daughter was raised to life?
- Friend, do you want to know the secrets of the Kingdom of
God? Then open up your heart to God’s message. One of
those secrets is that through belief, we need to see that
time in the future when all of our frustrations in life
will be nothing. We will live in the joy of eternal life.
- Next week: Confrontation in Galilee.