Mark 4.1-41 deals with the kingdom of God and those who enter into it. The kingdom is understood as God’s movement in action, and those who are ruled, and Yeshua is the main representative of that movement. He was preaching the Basar (gospel, good news) because the kingdom was being offered (“the kingdom is here now”). He also will calm a storm in the sea showing his dominion over the kingdom of Satan and Leviathan.
v 1…And he began to teach again by the seashore (he went out of the house to the shore). And such a very great multitude gathered before him that he got into a boat (the one standing by in 3.9) in the sea and sat down; and all the multitude were by the seashore in the land (standing ready to listen).
v 2…And he was teaching them many things in parables (midrashic aggadot), and was saying to them in his teaching (doctrine),
v 3…”Listen! Behold (see), the sower went out to sow;
v 4…and it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road (soil not broken up, trodden down), and the birds came (a type of Ha Satan and his kingdom) and ate it up (seeking what they can devour).
v 5…Other (seed) fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil (superficial earth and soil); and immediately it sprang up but had no depth of soil).
v 6…And after the sun had risen, it was scorched (a superficial believer scorched by affliction), and because it had no root (rocks below the soil), it withered away (the word was only head knowledge but in the heart or desires).
v 7…And other seed fells among the thorns (the cares of this world, etc), and the thorns grew up and choked it (the word), and it yielded no crops (fruit).
v 8…And other (seed) fell into good soil (which was prepared beforehand to receive the seed of the sower) and as they grew up and increased, they were yielding a crop and were producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
v 9…And he was saying, “He who has ears to hear (to perceive doctrinal truth), let him hear (be instructed).”
v 10…And as soon as he was alone, his talmidim, along with the twelve, began asking him about the parables (midrashic aggadot).
v 11…And he was saying to them, To you has been given the mystery (“sowd”, the secret and hidden meaning) of the kingdom of God (his movement in action, or those who are ruled); but those who are outside (of this inner council-Ezek 13.9 uses “sowd” in the Hebrew) get everything in parables,
v 12…in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may not hear and not understand lest they return again and be forgiven (Isa 6.9-10)”
v 13…And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables (if you don’t understand this simple parable, how will you understand the more difficult ones that are coming-Prov 1.1-7)?
v 14…The sower sows the word (the Torah, the Scriptures).
v 15…And these (such hearers as above in v 13) are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
v 16…And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word immediately receive it, with joy.
v 17…And they have no root in themselves, but are temporary (only); then, when affliction and persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away (are offended at the Tanak-it was the only scripture they had).
v 18…And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
v 19…and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
v 20…And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good ground; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
v 21…And he was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a bushel, is it, or under a bed? Is it not (brought) to be put on the lampstand (candlestick)?
v 22…For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed (sooner or later); nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light (the Scriptures were designed to be read and understood-Deut 30.11-14; they are not difficult to understand, even a seven-year-old can understand them-Deut 31.10-12).
v 23…If any man has ears to hear (to perceive doctrinal truth), let him hear (and be instructed).”
v 24…And he was saying to them, “Take care (heed) what you listen to (be diligent to listen, study, meditate on the word and dispense it to others). By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and shall be given you besides (in other words, if we faithfully listen to the Tanak, gospels, epistles, and to what Yeshua is saying, and understand it and teach it to others, a larger measure will return to us, giving us greater insight and understanding).
v 25…For whoever has (understanding and light of the word), to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have (understanding and light of the word), even what he has shall be taken away from him (because it was of no good use, he thought he has understanding and light but didn’t and his “light” is put out).”
v 26…And he was saying, “The kingdom of God (his movement in action and those ruled by it) is like a man who casts seed upon the ground,
v 27…and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed spouts up and grows-how, he himself does not know (it’s a mystery to him-John 3.5-8).
v 28…The earth produces crops by itself (without any help by man); first the blade, then the head (ear) then the mature grain in the head (a progression from start to finish).
v 29…But when the crop permits (is brought forth and ripe), he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come (harvest is a picture of death, or the end of the age-the elect of God are brought to perfection and have brought forth all the fruit they were ordained to bring forth).”
v 30…And he said, “(continuing to bring out clearer concepts on the kingdom of God), “How shall we compare (picture) the kingdom of God (those who are ruled by his movement), or by what parable (aggadah) shall we present it (to show what it is like)?
v 31…It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the ground (Yeshua and his followers were small in number at first),
v 32…Yet when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches, so that the birds (in this case by context the birds are believers) of the air and rest under its shade (Dan 2.35 speaks of a stone that becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth).”
v 33…And with many such parables he was speaking the word (of God, the Tanak) to them as they were able to hear (perceive and understand) it.
v 34…And he was not speaking to them without parables; but he was explaining everything privately to his own talmidim (at a later time).
v 35…And on that day (that he spoke these parables) when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go over to the other side (of the sea of Galilee).”
v 36…And leaving (sending away the multitude), they took him along (in a ship) with them, just as he was (alone), in the boat; and other boats were with him.
v 37…And there arose a fierce gale of wind and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up (the sea is seen as the domain of Leviathan/Satan-Psa 107.23-30; Job 26.12-13); this alludes to the boat being our life, and we get tossed around by the storms of life, temptations, fear, anger, passion, etc).
v 38…And he himself was in the stern, asleep (tired from the work of the day) on a cushion (the storm didn’t wake him); and they awoke him (but the voice of the talmidim got his attention) and said to him, “Teacher (rabbi), do you not care that we (including Yeshua in this) are perishing?”
v 39…And being aroused (he arose), he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
v 40…And he said to them, “why are you so afraid (since he was with them)? How is it that you have no faith (he was the Messiah and the Messiah was not destined to drown, besides, he already told them they were going to crossover)?”
v 41…And they became very much afraid and they said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him (he is not just a man; only Yehovah has this kind of power-Psa 89.8-9).