On Sunday, February 27, 2011, it was my privilege to preach Mark 4:1–34, “Why Isn’t Everyone Celebrating Jesus?” at Kenwood Baptist Church.
To this point in Mark, we have seen the baptist prepare the way for Jesus (Mark 1:1–13), then Mark gave us a day in the life of Jesus (1:14–45). In spite of the fact that Jesus taught with authority, commanded unclean spirits, and healed the sick, people opposed him. Mark shocks us with five controversies (2:1–3:6). Then we get a summary of Jesus’ ministry (3:7–12), and Jesus names 12 Apostles (3:13–19). Amazingly, in spite of the good things Jesus has done and the way that he has silenced opposition, the family of Jesus thinks he is out of his mind and the Jerusalem scribes say he exercises demonic power (3:20–35).
Why isn’t everyone celebrating Jesus?
That’s the question that Mark presents Jesus answering in Mark 4, and the explanation falls out like this: some people aren’t celebrating because Satan has stolen the seed of the word of God from them, others aren’t celebrating because affliction and persecution drive them away from Jesus, while others simply want what the world offers, money, or pleasure more than they want Jesus. And then there’s the good soil: some people are celebrating Jesus. People should listen to the teaching of Jesus; in fact, how we respond to the teaching of Jesus will determine how we are rewarded in the age to come. Not everybody celebrates Jesus because God has this secret plan, but the secret will be made known. The kingdom is like a farmer sowing seed, or like a small seed that grows into a big tree. So the kingdom looks unimpressive, and that’s another reason some aren’t celebrating Jesus, but the harvest is going to come, the secret made known, the kingdom consummated, the birds will nest in the branches of that tree, and the small stone that struck the statue and brought it down will grow into a great mountain that fills all the earth.
Is that really what Mark 4:1–34 teaches? If so, what does it mean to us today? Find out here.