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The Growing Seed

                    PART II: PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM

                               CHAPTER 3  THE GROWING SEED


              The parable of the Growing Seed is found only in Mark.
         There are four parables dealing with sowing seed: (1) The
         Parable of the Soils, (2) The Growing Seed, (3) The Wheat and
         Weeds and (4) The Mustard Seed. This parable is found only in
         Mark 4:26-29.

The Story
         Jesus presents a well-known farm story.  A farmer sowed
         seed.  The seed sprouted and grew in a way the farmer did not
         understand.  The plant grew, matured and the grain was

                        He [Jesus] also said, "This is  what
                   the kingdom of God is like.    A man
                   scatters seed  on the ground.  Night and
                   day,  whether  he sleeps  or gets up, the
                   seed sprouts  and grows,  though he  does
                   not  know  how.    All by itself the soil
                   produces grain--first  the  stalk,   then
                   the  head,  then  the  full kernel in the
                   head.  As soon as the grain is  ripe,  he
                   puts   the  sickle  to  it,  because  the
                   harvest has  come."  (Mark  4:26-29,  New
                   International Version).

                         The Interpretation

              The Primary Sower of good seed is always Jesus. However,
         in  this  parable  it  is  the believer  who is the secondary
         sower, that is, the believer sows in obedience to the Lord.
              The seed is the Word of God.  As the  natural  seed  has
         life  within  itself,    so  the  Word  of  God has life when
         anointed by the Holy Spirit.

              The ground represents the human heart, a malformed mass.
         The seed takes the heart and forms it, that  is, it grows
         According to the  plan in  the  seed.  The  plant that now
         represents the believer grows  "automatically."    The  Greek
         word AUTOMATE, translated  "All by itself," is  the word from
         which comes our word,   "automatic."  [Ralph  G.    Turnbull,
         Gen. ed.,   PROCLAIMING  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  (Grand  Rapids:
         Baker Book House, 1961), THE GOSPEL OF MARK, by Ralph  Earle,
         ThD,  p. 37]. 

              The harvest may represent the conversion of  the  sinner
         or  the harvest at the end of the age.  Both are biblical and
         both fit the parable.

                            Central Truth

              Morgan comments, the central matter in this little parable is
              that of growth.  Sowing is recognised.   Harvest is
              also  recognized,  but  the  teaching concerns  the
              process between  the  sowing  and the harvest.  [G.
              Campbell Morgan,  D.D., THE PARABLES  AND METAPHORS
              OF  OUR LORD (Old Tappan, NJ:   Fleming  H.  Revell
              Company,  1943), p. 164].

              Ralph Earle comments, the lesson of this parable is that  we  must  trust
              the  Word   of God, when  faithfully sown,  to take
              root and grow  automatically.  [Ralph G.  Turnbull,
              gen.  ed.,  PROCLAIMING  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT (Grand
              Rapids:  Baker Book House,  1961),  THE  GOSPEL  OF
              MARK, by Ralph Earle, ThD, p. 37].

              Therefore, we conclude that

                                  GOD'S WORD 
                         INTO THE LIKENESS OF CHRIST.


                   Let  us  not  become weary in doing good,
                   for  at  the  proper  time we will reap a
                   harvest if we do not give up.  (Galatians
                   6:9, New International Version).

              Let us  not be weary in well doing.  Let us continue  to
         sow  the seed of God's Word, knowing that  the Holy Spirit is
         causing it to grow, unseen, in human hearts!  END