We look today at the parable of the growing seed from Mark 4:26-29. We are looking at the parable by reading through Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, and here is the text:
Once you read the parable and Klyne’s view of its central point, what reflection do you have? How would you “apply” it?
26 He also said, ?This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain?first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.?
Same format: parable type (similitude) and helpful primary source material (OT, NT, Greco-Roman, early Christian and later Jewish writings). Klyne puts this parable in a section of parables on the present kingdom.
Is this a parable of contrast instead of growth? Klyne says the words of the text say if this is a contrast it contrasts the activity of the man and the seed’s activity/man’s inactivity during growth, or the attitudes of the man in working and not working.
The title traditionally given, the seed growing secretly, is fine but “secrecy” is not in the text. Titles matter. Klyne suggests “the parable of the growing seed.”
1. Medieval: Christ implanting divine seed in human hearts.
2. Older liberal: gradual evolution of kingdom in human society.
3. Apocalyptic: imminent judgment theme in parable. …. etc.
It all depends on what is taken to be the central feature of the parable: seed, man, earth, growth, … but the whole process is in view in a parable like this, not just one of the elements.
The man’s inactivity is not the point.
What about “automate” (“of itself”)? Means without human intervention. “The parable is not teaching how humans should act; it is showing what the kingdom is like.” Thus, the kingdom is like a process of growth that will move automatically toward growth.
There is probably an allusion to Joel 3:13.
Point: Jesus’ ministry has inaugurated a sequence of action leading to the fullness of God’s kingdom.