Sunday 13 June 2021

Bible Book:

“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?” (v. 30)

Mark 4:26-34 Sunday 13 June 2021

Psalm 92


The passage for today is a parable among a series of parables in Mark’s Gospel and, more than that, it contains two stories about seeds in a chapter that begins with the well-known parable of the Sower. All of these parables are stories that Jesus told to explain the nature of God’s Kingdom, coming to fruition through his ministry.

Parables are stories drawing on images from everyday life. In this particular case they are parables drawn from farming life with which all his hearers would have been familiar. However, for Jesus’ contemporaries there would have been other resonances, as he drew on language and images from the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures.

Why did Jesus choose to speak of the Kingdom in a roundabout way, in metaphors and even in code? Well firstly, this was a typical Rabbinic way of speaking, so Jesus was following tradition. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, Jesus’ vision of God’s kingdom was very different from that of his hearers, even from his own disciples. Jesus and his message were dynamite and subversive of all usual expectations of those looking longingly for the coming of the Messiah. The Kingdom was not going to come in a blaze of glory but through suffering. This message was so challenging that it could not be stated straightforwardly but only in parables, in language where people had to struggle to understand what was being said.

To Ponder:

  • Can you give examples from your experience of worship when the vision of the Kingdom of God was presented as dangerous and subversive?
  • In what ways do you find parables unhelpful to your understanding of Jesus’ vision?


Heavenly Father, help us never to underestimate or domesticate the radical nature of our call to be messengers of the Kingdom. Amen.

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