Mark Lesson 4


©1996 "Yes Lord" Ministries

MARK LESSON 4

PARABLES


In this lesson, our focus is going to be mainly on Parables. Since most of Chapter 4 consists of parables, we will evaluate the 4 Parables in Chapter 4 and then look at some of the other parables recorded by Mark elsewhere in his gospel. There are other parables recorded in Mark and in the other gospels which will not be included in our study, so this lesson will not be 'exhaustive' of all the parables, (though you might be exhausted when we are finished! Just kidding!) However, the parables which we will study give us good insight into many of the concepts and principles which Christ taught through parables.

Section 1

Before we begin our study of Parables in the Gospel of Mark, we need to do two things. First, we need to put Chapter 4 back into our minds and hearts and then, secondly, we need to understand what a Parable is. So, your first assignment is to read Mark Chapter 4 and, as you read, as always, keep a piece of paper handy to jot down any possible important (key) words that you observe during your reading.

---------pause now while you do this assignment--------

Great! I see you have finished. Now tell me, what is the method of teaching that is used in most of this chapter? _____________________________________________.

Correct! The method of teaching used primarily in this chapter is that of Parables!

List the 4 Parables in Chapter 4

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This section of our study will begin by looking at these 4 parables. Then we will examine some other parables located elsewhere in the Gospel of Mark as well as examine some other interesting things. Since Mark 4:35-41 is not a parable, we will study it next week.

With that as a way of where we are going , your next assignment is to read Mark 4:1-34 and, as you read, mark the important (key) words that you observed and jotted down during your first reading a few minutes ago.

---------pause now while you do this assignment--------

Great! Finished again, right? Ok! Now, BEFORE we begin our actual study of the Parables in Mark, you will recall that I said there were 2 things we needed to do before we begin this study. Well, you have done ' thing 1' which was to get Chapter 4 back into your heart and mind. Now it is time to do 'thing 2', which is to find out what parables are -- so, bear with me now as I relate to you information from several sources which will tell you probably more than you ever wanted to know about Parables. However, this foundational information is critical and necessary if you are going to really understand what parables are, why Christ used them, and how you and I can learn from them today. So, read along with me as we together learn from real experts who can teach us a lot about Parables.


PARABLE comes from the Greek word PARABOLE which is itself derived from 2 Greek words

PARA = beside   +   BALLO = to cast

As explained in the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words:

"The Greek word for parable means something set alongside. Sometimes scripture records people illustrating what they are saying by setting a concrete situation alongside an abstract concept (ie. Judges 9:8-15; 2 Sam. 12:1-7; Isa. 5:1-7). The most well known parables in the Bible are those of Jesus. Many of these have an illustrative thrust, such as those of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:27-37), the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and the Talents (Luke 19:11-27). But some parables, related to a yet hidden form of the Kingdom, were told in such as way that they concealed rather than illustrated Jesus meaning. "

Next let's see what A.T. Robertson has to say concerning Parables:

"The word Parable (parabole from paraballo, to place alongside for measurement or comparison like a yardstick) is an objective illustration for a spiritual or moral truth ... the parable may not be actual fact, but it could be so. It is in harmony with the nature of the case. The allegory (allegoria) is a speaking parable that is self-explanatory all along like Bunyan s Pilgrim Progress. All allegories are parables, but not all parables are allegories. The Prodigal son is an allegory, as is the story of the Vine and Branches (John 15). John does not use the word parable, but only Paroimia, a saying by the way (John 10:6; 16:25,29). As a rule, the parables of Jesus illustrate one main point and the details are more or less incidental, though sometimes Jesus explains these. When He does not do so, we should be slow to interpret the minor details. Much heresy has come from the fantastic interpretations of the parables. ... "

Isn t this interesting? Want to know more? Sure you do. So now, let's hear what Smith's Dictionary of the Bible has to say concerning Parables.

"The word parable is in Greek Parabole ... which signifies placing beside or together , a comparison. A parable is therefore literally a placing beside, a comparison, a similitude, an illustration of one subject by another. ... as used in the OT, it had a very wide application, being applied to the shortest proverbs (I Sam 10:12; 24:13; 2 Chron 7:20, sometimes to dark prophetic utterances, Num 23:7, 18; 24:3; Ezek 20:49, sometimes to enigmatic maxims, Ps 78:2; Prov 1:6, or metaphors expanded into a narrative. Ezek 12:22.

In the NT itself, the word is used with a like latitude in Matt. 24:32; Luke 4:23; Heb 9:9.
It was often used in a more restricted sense to denote a short narrative under which some important truth is veiled. Of this sort were the parables of Christ. The parable differs from the fable (1) in excluding brute and inaminate creatures passing out of the laws of their nature, and speaking or acting like men; (2) in its higher ethical significance.

It differs from the allegory in that the latter, with its direct personification of ideas or attributes, and the names which designate them, involves really no comparison. The virtues and vices of mankind appear as in a drama, in their own character and costume. The allegory is self-interpreting; the parable demands attention, insight, sometimes an actual explanation.

It differs from a proverb in that it must include a similitude of some kind, while the proverb may assert, without a similitude, some wide generalization of experience.

For some months Jesus taught in the synagogues and on the seashore of Galilee as He had before taught in Jerusalem, and as yet without a parable. But then there came a change. The direct teaching was met with scorn, unbelief, hardness, and He seemed for a time to abandon it for that which took the form of parables. The worth of the parables as instruments of teaching lies in their being at once a test of character and in their presenting each form of character with that which, as a penalty or blessing, is adapted to it. They withdraw the light from those who love darkness. They protect the truth which they enshrine from the mockery of the scoffer. They leave something even with the careless which may be interpreted and understood afterward. They reveal, on the other hand, the seekers after truth. These ask the meaning of the parable, and will not rest until the teacher has explained it. In this way the parable did its work, found out the fit hearers and led them on. In most of the parables it is possible to trace something like an order.

1. There is a group which have for their subject the laws of the divine Kingdom. Under this head we have the Sower, Matt 13, Mark 4, Luke 8: the Wheat and the tares, Matt 13, etc.
2. When the next parables meet us they are of a different type and occupy a different position. They are drawn from the life of men rather than from the world of nature. They are such as these -- the two debtors, Luke 7; the Merciless servant, Matt 18; the good Samaritan, Luke 10, etc.
3. Toward the close of our Lord s ministry the parables are again theocratic, but the phase of the divine Kingdom on which they chiefly dwell is that of its final consummation.

In interpreting all parables note -- 1. The analogies must be real, not arbitrary. 2. The parables are to be considered as parts of a whole, and the interpretation of one is not to override or encroach upon the lessons taught by others. 3. The direct teaching of Christ presents the standard to which all our interpretations are to be referred, and by which they are to be measured."


Wow, look at what you are learning. Let s listen to one more expert tell us about Parables. There is still more to learn. So, now let's hear from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary:


Parable: A short simple story designed to communicate a spiritual truth, religious principle, or moral lesson; a figure of speech in which truth is illustrated by a comparison or example drawn from everyday experiences.
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A parable is often no more than an extended metaphor or simile, using figurative language in the form of a story to illustrate a particular truth. The Greek word for parable literally means a laying by the side of or a casting alongside thus a comparison or likeness. In a parable something is placed alongside something else, in order that one may throw light on the other. A familiar custom or incident is used to illustrate some truth less familiar.
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Although Jesus was the master of the parabolic form, He was not the first to use parables. Examples of the effective use of parables are found in the O.T. Perhaps the best known of these is Nathan s parable of the rich man who took the one little ewe lamb that belonged to a poor man (2 Sam. 12:104). By means of this parable, Nathan reproved King David and convicted him of his sin committing adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:5-15). A wise woman of Tekoa also used a parable (2 Sam. 14:5-7) to convince King David to let her son return to Jerusalem.
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Jesus characteristic method of teaching was through Parables. His two most famous parables are the parables of the Lost son (Luke 15:11-32) and the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Both parables illustrate God s love for sinners and God s command that we show compassion to all people. Actually, the Parable of the lost Son (sometimes called the Parable of the Prodigal Son or the Parable of the Loving Father) is the story of 2 lost sons: the younger son (typical of tax collectors and prostitutes) who wasted possessions with indulgent living and the older son (typical of the self-righteous scribes and pharisees) who remained at home but was a stranger to his father s heart.
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Some entire chapters in the gospel are devoted to Jesus parables. For instance, Matthew 13, which contains the parables of the sower (vv. 1-23), the wheat and the tares (vv. 24-30), the leaven (v. 33), the hidden treasure (v. 44), the pearl of great price (vv. 45-46), and the dragnet (vv. 47-52).
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Although parables are often memorable stories, impressing the listener with a clear picture of the truth, even the disciples were sometimes confused as to the meaning of the parables. For instance, after Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24-30), the disciples needed interpretation in order to understand its meaning (Matt. 13:13-43). Jesus sometimes used the parabolic form of teaching to reveal the truth to those who followed Him and to conceal the truth from those who did not (Matt. 13:10-17); Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:9-10). His parable thus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10. Like a double-edged sword, they cut 2 ways -- enlightening those who sought the truth and blinding those who were disobedient.
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Most of Jesus parables have one central point. Thus, Bible students should not resort to fanciful interpretations that find spiritual truth in every minute detail of the parable. The central point of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that a hated Samaritan proved to be a neighbor to the wounded man. He showed the traveler the mercy and compassion denied to him by the priest and the Levite, representatives of the established religion. The one central point of this parable is that we should also extend compassion to others --even those who are not of our own nationality, race, or religion (Luke 10:25-37).
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In finding the central meaning of a parable, the Bible student needs to discover the meaning the parable had in the time of Jesus. We need to relate the parable to Jesus proclamation of the Kingdom of God and to His miracles. This means the parables are more than simple folk stories; they are expression of Jesus view of God, man, salvation, and the new age which dawned in His ministry. A good example of this approach are the parables dealing with the 4 lost things in Luke 15:3-32: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the 2 lost sons. The historical context is found in Luke 15:1-2; Jesus had table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. The pharisees and scribes, the religious experts of Jesus day, saw such action as disgusting because, in their view, it transgressed God s holiness. If Jesus truly were a righteous man, they reasoned, then He would not associate with such people; He would keep Himself pure and separate from sinners.
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In response to their murmuring, Jesus told them these parables. God rejoices more, He said, over the repentance of one sinner (those sitting with Him at the table) than over 99 just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7) -- that is, than over the religious professionals who congratulated themselves over their own self-achieved goodness (compare the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector; Luke 18:9-14). Likewise, the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) represents the tax collectors and sinners; the older son (Luke 15:25-32) represents the scribes and pharisees.
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A major theme in Jesus parables is the demand of following Him in authentic discipleship. In the parable of the great supper (Luke 14:15-24), Jesus showed clearly that the time for decision is now. In the parable of the unfinished tower and the King going to war (Luke 14:28-32), Jesus demanded that His followers be prepared to give up all. In the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:44-46), Jesus stated that the Kingdom of Heaven is of such value that all other treasures in life are of secondary worth. Jesus parables are a call to a radical decision to follow Him, regardless of the cost. "

Whew ! As I said, all this knowledge and information about parables is probably more than you ever wanted to know. But, surely you now have a pretty solid understanding of parables, their purpose, limitations, intentions, etc. So, as we bring this section to a close, let's answer a few questions in an attempt to consolidate and summarize what you have learned about parables.

Based on what you have read, In your own words, summarize:

? What is a parable?
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? What is the purpose of a parable?
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? How is a person supposed to interpret a parable?
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? What is the danger of trying to get too detailed in interpreting a parable? Explain your answer or give an illustration of how this could occur.
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Well, now that you have a good foundation, let's stop and give your eyes and mind a rest. In the next section, we'll begin to look at many of the Parables in the Gospel of Mark. There is much Jesus wants us to learn from His Parables. So, get rested up and we'll continue soon.

Section 2

We are going to look at the first and longest parable in Chapter 4, the Parable of the Sower. Read Mark 4:1-20, and as you read, be sure you have marked the important word SEED and any words or synonyms used as a substitute for seed. Also mark any other words that seem to be very important (or key) in this parable.

---------pause now while you do this assignment--------

Great! Now, just for completeness. This parable is also related by Matthew and Luke in their Gospels. So, look in your Bible and read their accounts as recorded in Matt. 13:3-23 and Luke 8:5-15.

---------pause now while you do this assignment--------

OK! It s Q & A time! Based on what you ve read, answer the following questions:
Briefly summarize this parable (don't explain it, just give the summary of Mark 4:3-8)
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? Did Jesus explain this parable? (Circle your answer) .........YES ............NO

? To Whom did He explain it?
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? Why did He only explain this to His disciples and the others around Him and NOT to the masses ?
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? What does the SEED represent? ___________________________________________

? What does the GROUND / SOIL / PLACE represent? ____________________________

? Who or what does the FARMER represent? __________________________________

? What is the source of the SEED ? (Hint: before you answer this, Read 2 Cor 9:10)
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Describe the 4 kinds of places where the seed was sown, tell what happened to it and explain what each represents.
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? What is the main point Jesus was trying to teach in this parable?

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? Explain the meaning of Mark 4:11-12. ( ie. Is Christ trying to keep people from being saved by telling things in Parables? And, if not, then, why is He speaking in parables? What is His purpose?) By the way, FYI, the quote by Jesus in verse 12 is from Isaiah 6:9-10.

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Ok, as we bring this section to a close, if you want to, you can NOW look in your reference books and commentaries and see what they say about the Parable of the Sower. Take notes. But, DON T read about any of the other parables yet. There will be time enough for that later.


Section 3


In this section, we are going to look at the other 3 parables in Chapter 4, one at a time. So, first read Mark 4:21-25, and , as you read, mark any additional important words that you haven't already marked.

---------pause now while you do this assignment--------

? What is this parable about (ie. How would or did you title it?)
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.Matthew 5:15-16 also relates this Parable. Turn to that passage in your Bible and write it in the space below. You might also want to include verses 5:13-14 in order to put this parable about the Lamp on a Stand in context.

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Looking at the larger context for this parable (Matthew 5:13-16), when we read "You are the salt of the earth ... and you are the light of the world...." --

? Who is the 'you' in Matthew 5:13 and 5:14?
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? Who or what does the lamp represent in Mark 4:21 and Matthew 5:15?
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? Are these who's the same? (Circle your answer) ...... YES .........NO ........ NOT SURE

? What is Jesus teaching (ie. What is the main point ?) in the 2 parables in Matthew 5:13-14?
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? What is Jesus teaching (ie. What is the main point ?) in Matt. 5:15-16 and Mark 4:21-23?
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? What is Jesus teaching in Mark 4:22? (Hint, read Matthew 10:26-27 and Luke 12:2-3 before answering.)
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! Explain Mark 4:23-25.
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? What is the message (application) for you in these 3 parables about the Salt, Light, and Lamp?
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Now read the NEXT Parable in Mark as recorded in Mark 4:26-29. Interestingly this particular parable is ONLY recorded in Mark ! So, obviously we won t be reading any cross references for this parable.

---------Pause while you do this assignment---------


? What did you title this parable______________________________________________

Look back at the parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3-8). Let's compare it with this parable about the growing seed. Specifically, let's consider the seed and the soil. In the Parable of the Sower, which was more important for the success of the harvest -- the SEED or the PROPER SOIL?

Circle your answer: In the Parable of the sower, the SEED or the PROPER SOIL was more important.


And, in the Parable of the Growing Seed, which was emphasized the most -- the POWER OF THE SEED or the POWER OF THE SOIL as being most responsible for the harvest?

Circle your answer: In the Parable of the Seed, the POWER OF THE SEED or the POWER OF THE SOIL was responsible for the harvest.

Hmmmm. Yes. Very interesting. In the parable of the Sower, the soil is important, whereas in the Parable of the Growing Seed, the seed itself seems to contain a power which is being emphasized.

? What dos the SEED represent in both parables?_________________________________

? What does the SOIL represent in both parables? ________________________________

? Are these parables contradicting each other? Circle your answer.........YES ...........NO

? Then what IS being taught in each concerning the seed and the soil?
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? What does the HARVEST represent in each parable?
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Ok, let s look at one more parable and then we ll check our commentaries. So, don t peek yet. Read now Mark 4:30-32. Also read Matthew 13:31-32 and Luke 13:18. Write all 3 of these relatings of this same parable in the space below:

The Parable of the Mustard Seed


Mark 4:30-32
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Matt. 13:31-32
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Luke 13:18
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Now, based on what you ve read and written,
? What does the Mustard seed represent?______________________________________

Yes, you area correct! The mustard seed represents the Kingdom of God. Now hold that thought as we'll learn more about the Kingdom of God in section 5. But, for now, let's continue looking at the parable itself.

? What is the main point (main teaching) of this Parable of the Mustard Seed? (Ie. What is Jesus teaching His disciples and us about the Mustard seed -- the Kingdom of God)
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? Is this parable applicable for only 2000 years ago or is it still applicable today? Explain your answer.
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If applicable today, then what is Jesus trying to tell us today concerning the Kingdom of God?
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Ok! Great! NOW, if you want, you can check your other resources and commentaries and see what they have to say concerning these 3 parables. Take notes on a separate piece of paper. When you have finished we will call it quits for this section.

Section 4

Well, we have looked mainly at the 4 parables in Mark Chapter 4 and a couple of others in Matthew. But, as you know, there are many more parables in Mark and in the Gospels. We are not going to examine all of them, but, let's look back in Mark Chapters 2 and 3 and look at a few more parables that Jesus used in His teaching. Let's begin with those recorded in Mark 2:18-22. You will recall already reading this section when we observed Jesus' response to questions concerning fasting. Did you notice at the time that He used parables in His answer? Sure you did! So now we want to see what Jesus was teaching when He answered in these parables.

Yes, the people knew that Jesus WAS telling them that He and His disciples did not need to fast at this time. But, what were the underlying truths that Jesus was also teaching at the same time that He was explaining why they weren't fasting? Did you understand the truths He was teaching through the use of the parables? Well, let's find out! So, stop now and read the parables in Mark 2:18-21.

-------Pause while you do this assignment------

? How many parables did Jesus use in this passage?
...................... Circle your answer........1......2 .......3........4 .......... Not Sure
List them here:
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First, let's look at what Jesus was teaching when He spoke of the Bridegroom and his guests.

? Who is the Bridegroom?

? What is Jesus referring to when He says the bridegroom will be taken away from them?
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? Who are the guests of the bridegroom?

? Why are they not fasting now but reportedly will fast when the bridegroom is taken from them?
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Now, looking at the second parable in this passage, the Parable concerning the unshrunk cloth and the old garment:

? What does the old garment represent?

? What does the unshrunk cloth represent?


You noticed that Jesus then told why you can't sew a patch of new / unshrunk cloth on an old garment. He said that the new piece would pull away from the old and make the tear worse. Does this make sense to you? Can you picture this happening today in some clothing you are trying to mend? Explain this in your own words.
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Surely Jesus is NOT giving sewing lessons ! So, What is the point that Jesus was trying to teach. Before you answer that, let s first look at the particulars:

? What does the old garment represent?


? What does the tear in the old garment represent?


? What does the unshrunk cloth represent?


? So, and now here is THE long awaited question -- What IS Jesus teaching in this parable / illustration?
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Continuing on. In Mark 2:22, Christ uses another parable as an illustration and explanation. It sounds remarkably similar to the parable in verse 21. Do you think that Jesus is teaching a different truth or is He using another parable to teach the same truth?

Circle your answer:........Teaching same truth............. Teaching different truth ............. Not Sure

? What do the old wineskins represent?


? What does the new wine represent?



? In real life why would pouring new wine into old wineskins cause the old wineskins to burst?
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Now, for all you tea-toters out there, if you don't know the answer to that question, not to worry, for later, when you are allowed to check your reference books and commentaries, this will be explained for you. But, don't peek yet. If you can't answer that technical question about the effects of fermentation of wine (hint hint), just leave it blank. You'll get the answer then.

But, for now, let's look at what Jesus was teaching in this illustration. And, yes, He is teaching the same basic truth that He just taught in verse 21 about The old garment and the new /unshrunk cloth. The concept He is teaching is so basic and essential that He used back to back illustrations / parables to teach it. This is a key concept and He wanted to be sure that His disciples (and we) understood it. So, He taught it twice by using 2 different Parables with the same point. You have also already observed that Jesus is comparing the old garment and the old wineskins to the Mosaic rules and laws of the Old Testament -- and He is comparing the unshrunk cloth and the new wine to the new principles that He (Jesus) has brought and is teaching.

? Why does Jesus say that the old garment has a tear in it? What does this mean?
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? Why would new wine (the principles Christ is teaching) cause old wineskins to burst?
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? Does this explain why Christ says to put new wine into new wineskins instead of into old ones which have already been stretched to their limit?
...................Circle your answer ..............YES .............. NO

Now ... Explain why you answered as you did.
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Ok! Great! Stop now and turn to your reference books and see what additional insight and information, if any, you can learn concerning these 3 parables. For example, one source I used, Liberty Bible Commentary, Volume 2, explained the parables about the garment and wineskins in this way:

"The illustrations about the new cloth and the new wine present a principle to which fasting may be related. A patch of new cloth has not previously been shrunk, and therefore would pull the old garment apart. Conversely, new wine expands as it ages and an old wine sack would have already reached its limit. Under the context of the ancient system, the Old Testament law, limitations had been reached, but Christ brought principles that stretched these. For instance, a murder in the Old Testament is physical, but Jesus said that a man can murder by hating."

Ok, now it is your turn. Check your resources and see what else you can learn or confirm. Remember to take notes.

--------Pause while you do this assignment---------



Great! I see you have finished (or perhaps you never started. Oh well. That is your decision. Whatever.) Now, let's look at some more parables in Mark which we have previously also flown by. Turn now to Mark 3:23-27. There are some really short one-liner parables listed in these verses. In fact, these are so brief that you might argue that they are not parables at all, but, rather, are comparisons. And, I wouldn t fault you if that is your opinion. But, since Mark said in 3:23, "...So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables ... ", let's at least look at these verses and see what the comparisons or parables are.
So, stop now and read Mark 3:20-27.

---------Pause while you do this assignment--------


You have recalled that Jesus is using these comparisons / parables to answer the accusations that He was doing miracles and deeds by the power of Beelzebub (Satan). Instead of just simply saying, No, that is not true, Jesus tried to illustrate WHY it was not only not true but impossible and unreasonable for Him to be getting His power from Beelzebub (Satan). So, in the space below, list and explain the points that Jesus made in these one-liner parables to refute the charges and accusations being made against him.
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? What, then, could NOT be the source of Jesus power? _____________________________

? Why could Beelzebub (Satan) NOT be the source?
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? What, then, is Jesus indicating IS the REAL source of His power? (Ie, if His power is not from the devil, where must it come from?)
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? What, then, is Jesus claiming about Himself?
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? What, then, is one of the main reasons that Jesus is doing the miracles, healings, and casting out of demons? Answer this question by completing the following statement:

Jesus is doing these miracles, etc. to prove that
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Great! Good thinking and reasoning! Now, let's call it quits for today. And, until we continue tomorrow, meditate upon what you ve learned so far this week about Who Jesus is, what He does and why, and what these parables have taught us!

Section 5

Well, for 4 sections, we've studied about parables and looked at several of the many parables which Jesus used in His teaching. So, as we bring this lesson to a close, let's begin by first reminding yourself:

? What, briefly, is a parable?
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? Why did Jesus often teach important truths by using parables?
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Since we have looked at so many parables this week, let's summarize what they were and what we learned from them by, you guessed it, filling in another chart! Oh, goodie, another chart !!! I can hear you just rejoicing in delight ! : )

You will need to make this chart for yourself. So get a blank piece of paper and title the chart with the clever, original, title of (are you ready for this?) -- PARABLES IN THE BOOK OF MARK. Then make 6 columns and title these columns as noted in the illustration below:

Parables in the Book of Mark

Name of Parable / Scripture Location / Brief summary / Main point / What is Jesus teaching? /Application for me!
------Pause while you make your chart ------


Ok, I see you have made your chart! Great! Now, by way of review and summarization of what we have studied this week, fill in the chart. Don't forget the parables we studied in Chapters 2 and 3. In fact, go on and begin with the parables in Chapters 2 and 3. Then do the ones in Chapter 4. And, knowing that there are more parables in later chapters of this gospel, keep your eyes open for other parables as we progress through the rest of this course. Whenever you find another parable, add it to this chart. Don't wait for me to tell you. I might (gasp) forget to tell you ! So, be alert for parables and add them when you find them.

OK! You've got your assignment. Get the chart, review the parables, and fill in the columns with the information requested.

------Pause while you do this assignment--------

Great! You ve finished again. As you reviewed the parables, did one stand out as being especially meaningful to you? If so, in the space below, or on a separate piece of paper, write what that parable was and what it was that was especially enlightening, informative, or meaningful to you. Then, thank the Holy Spirit for having revealed this to you.
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Ok! ONE MORE THING and then we ll be finished. And this is an OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT because you may not really want to know or may not have the time. But, if you do have the time and the interest, I know that some of you have perhaps wondered just what it is that Jesus means when He speaks about the KINGDOM OF GOD. So, if you, like I , are wondering about this, then join me as we briefly examine this subject. Notice that I said briefly and I really mean it, because this subject could be an entire course in itself. So, all we want to do now is try to get a general idea of what Jesus means when He refers to the Kingdom of God.

For those of you who want to do this OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT, let's begin by first reading in Mark all the references to the Kingdom of God. (I will list them for you in a minute). As you read the following passages, every time you come to the phrase THE KINGDOM OF GOD or any word or phrase which is used in place of that phrase, mark it. I marked mine by putting a purple box around the phrase. Of course, you can mark it in any way you wish. After all, since we are not putting new patches onto old garments, we don t have to be legalistic about this, do we? : )

Ok, are you ready? Here are the passages for you to read. I may have missed a few references in Mark, but I did find the Kingdom of God mentioned in the following passages:
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Mark 1:14-15    Mark 11:10 * (see note below)
Mark 4:10-12 Mark 12:28-34
Mark 4:26-29 Mark 15:43
Mark 4:30-32 Mark 10:13-16
Mark 10:17-31
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Also read (this is NOT an exhaustive list):
Matthew 3:1-2
Matthew 5:1-3
Luke 6:20

* Concerning Mark 11:10. Is the Kingdom referred to in Mark ll 10 the same Kingdom as the Kingdom of God? If so, mark it and explain why you marked it. If not, don't mark it and explain why you didn t.
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------ Pause while you do this OPTIONAL assignment -------

OK, now, based on what you have read and observed, answer the following questions:

? Is the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 3:1-2, Matthew 5:1-3, and in Luke 6:20 the same as the Kingdom of God? Before you answer this, here is an important FYI (for your information) fact. FYI, these 3 passages in Matthew and Luke are only 3 of MANY references in Matthew and Luke which speak of the Kingdom of heaven. For sake of time, and to make the point, you only read these 3, but, if you want to read the others before you answer this question, please feel free to do so. Simply get out your concordance, look up the word, Kingdom, and find their locations and read away. Now, assuming you have arrived at your conclusion, let me ask you again, Is the Kingdom of Heaven which is referred to in Matthew and Luke and in many other places in the Bible, the SAME as the Kingdom of God ?

Circle your answer         YES               NO

Explain your answer:
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? Why would Matthew prefer to use the term Kingdom of Heaven instead of Kingdom of God , assuming that they are synonymous (ie. The same)? (Hint: before you answer, remember the AUDIENCE to which Matthew and Mark were each mainly writing and the PURPOSE of their gospels.)
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Great! Now, if you want to check your answers and learn more about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, it is OK to now turn to your references. And, as a helpful word from one who has been there, done that , for his particular search, you ll probably get more complete and in one location information from a source such as a Bible Dictionary than you will from a commentary. So check your sources and take any pertinent notes.

------Pause while you check your Bible Dictionaries and other sources -------

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Well, I see you ve finished checking your sources. And for you and for those of you who bypassed this optional assignment concerning the Kingdom of God, let's all end this study for this section and this lesson by thanking God for caring enough to teach us these things about Himself, His parables, and His Kingdom.

Until the next lesson !


References cited in this lesson:

Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, by Lawrence O. Richards. Page 477. 1985. By Zondervan Corp. Grand Rapids Michigan.
Word Pictures in the N.T. Vol 1 ...By A.T. Robertson. Pages 101-102 in the Gospel according to Matthew. 1930 by SS Board of SBC, 6 volume set. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids Michigan.
A Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith L.L.D. 1979. Page 481-482. Royal Publishers Inc. Nashville Tn.
Nelson s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. General editor Herbert Lockyer, Sr. Pages 798-800. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986. Nashville. Camden. New York.
Liberty Bible Commentary, Volume 2. Page 106. Copyright 1962 by the Old Time Gospel Hour. Lynchburg, Virginia.


© 1996 "Yes Lord" Ministries
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