Our kingdom series now moves to Mark 4:26, the fifth reference to kingdom:
Mark 4:26 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.?

1. Jesus chooses to play with kingdom as a term by casting up an image of what it is like.
2. Point: the kingdom is like the situation of a farmer who plants and waits; he doesn’t do anything and he doesn’t comprehend it, but the seed finally grows.
3. An emphasis here is on “All by itself” — and most take this to be an image of God-at-work. Human effort is played off God’s work.
4. Harvest normally refers to judgment in the teachings of Jesus.
5. This parable does not demand quietude or passivity; instead, it focuses on God’s “under the ground, mysterious work.”
6. Still, the farmer does something: he plants. (And he is concerned and humble and patient.) Planting probably refers to preaching gospel.
7. Kingdom here is the work of God that has “above the ground” manifestations.
8. Kingdom describes the work of God, now both below and above ground, that will result in a final judgment.
9. The work of God is the gospel message of Jesus at work now.
See GR Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
More from Beliefnet and our partners