Jesus's Words

The Parable of the Growing Seed

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Mark 4:26-29

Synopsis of Parables:

A farmer plants a seed. The seed grows on its own. When it is ripe, the farmer reaps it.

Parable Given in Response to:

This parable was taught by the seaside and given shortly after the Parable of the Sower and a few short lessons.(Mark 4:21-25)

Symbolism Chart

Symbol Meaning Verse Found
↓Man Followers of Jesus Mark 4:26
↓Ground Earth Mark 4:26
↓Seed Word of God Mark 4:26
↓Sleep Passage of Time Mark 4:27
↓Fruit Believer Mark 4:28
↓Harvest End of Time Mark 4:29

The Parable of the Growing Seed

As presented in the King James Version of Mark 4:26-29.

Mark 4:26And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Explanation of the Interpretation of Symbols

The Man is Likely Us Back to Top ↑

Unlike in the Parable of the Sower, the man casting seeds is likely the followers of Jesus. For full reasoning on this, see the section on the sower in the Parable of the Sower. This makes even more sense if we consider "sleep" in the parable to mean death, although this is unlikely. That would mean that the man has died, and cannot tend the plant, and yet it still grows to harvest. That would allow someone else to harvest, a theme in the gospels.(John 4:38.)

However, there is also room to say this time that the man casting seed is actually Jesus again. With this interpretation, the plants would grow, bear fruit, leave the fruit on the ground, and die. The fruit on the ground would grow again. In this way they would multiply until it was time for harvest. However, this interpretation reads too much into the parable that is not there.

The Ground is Earth Back to Top ↑

Once again, we see the ground is Earth. There is not too much to say on this subject, beyond the fact that no other interpretation would make logical sense. Does God grow human followers under water? What about on Pluto? Nonsense, it is only on Earth that Jesus's word is spread.

The Seed is the Word of God Back to Top ↑

And again, we see the word as a seed. This concept is fully explored in the section on the seed in the Parable of the Sower.

The Sleeping is the Passage of Time Back to Top ↑

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. Mark 4:28 It is not that God does not know how plants grow, or how more sheep join the fold, but that this happens automatically with time. The gospel is of such good cheer, people cannot help but spread it, even if it annoys other believers!(See the man spreading the gospel without the disciples' knowledge. Mark 9:38-41; Luke 9:49, 50.)

Just as a plant will grow on its own, so long as it is provided firm soil, clean water, and sunlight, so too do people spread the word that Jesus first shared. Jesus has provided the seed, as has he the water and bread.

But do not think that God ignores his followers either. Jesus assures us that our Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8 Furthermore, as we learned in the Parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Jesus will chase down one lost sheep to bring it back to the fold.

The Fruit is the Believer Back to Top ↑

Instead of pointing to another section from a previous parable, let us discuss what it means to be a believer, as the term can be vague and broad.

In most of the parables, it means to be within the kingdom of God. Almost all parables involve the kingdom. For instance, the first verse invokes it directly in this parable: And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground. Mark 4:26 This also occurs in the Parable of the Sower,(Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:11.) implied in the Parable of the Good Shepherd,(John 10:1, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold. ) the Parable of the Tares in the Field,(Matthew 13:24) the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree sought believers,(Luke 13:7.) the Parable of the Dinner Guests,(Luke 14:15.) the Parable of the Growing Seed,(Mark 4:26.) the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard,(Matthew 20:1.) the Parable of the Wedding Feast,(Matthew 22:2.) the Parable of the Net of Fish,(Matthew 13:47.) implied in the Parable of the Prodigal Son,(What location did the son run from?) the Parables of the Ten Minas and Five Talents,(Matthew 25:14.) the Parable of the Ten Virgins,(Matthew 25:1.) the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant,(Matthew 18:23.) the Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price,(Matthew 13:44, 45.) the Parable of the Householder,(Matthew 13:52.) the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven,(Matthew 13:31, 33.) and implied in the Parable of the Wise Builder.

The kingdom of God is not implied in the Parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, however, those parables are about repentant sinners.(Luke 15:7, 10, respectively.) Jesus's message to the Jews was to repent, for the kingdom of God was near.(Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; 21:31.)

That would mean out of the parables we have identified, all but five of them involve the kingdom of God. 80%, four fifths, involve the kingdom of God. This makes sense, as the purpose of the parables was to describe the kingdom of God to those who were meant to learn about it. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Matthew 13:10-11

That also means that if a person does not understand parables, they cannot understand the gospel, because the gospel is the coming of the kingdom of God.(Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14, 15; 8:35.) Thus, to be a believer of the words of Jesus, you have to understand them. And to understand them, you have to see and hear what they say.(Matthew 13:13-16.) Jesus says, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. Matthew 6:33

With such a powerful and strong preaching about the gospel of the kingdom, why would we need anything else but Jesus? He is the way and the truth.(John 14:6.) We can only reach God through Jesus.(John 6:44.)

Even though Jesus told us how to enter the kingdom, he still honestly wondered, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8 If you seek truth through anyone else, or through any other gospel, you are not within the kingdom of God. Jesus warned us of this.(Matthew 7:15.) And yet people still listen to other gospels, and not only that of the self-proclaimed apostle, but of all varieties. Do you not know that Jesus confirmed that it is not scripture that gives life, but he himself? Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John 5:39, 40

Jesus said seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. Matthew 6:33 He did not say, "seek the blood I spilled." In fact, he found most sacrifices abhorrent.(Matthew 9:13; 12:7. Note also that when a man said that love was more important than sacrifice, Jesus said Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. Mark 12:28-34.) He did not say, "seek good works." In fact, he spoke against the notion that good works matter to him.(Matthew 7:21-23.) Not even claiming to eat in the presence of him matters.(Luke 13:22-30.) In short, it is not by "faith" or by "works," it is by the being in the kingdom of God, and neither faith nor works get you there.

Instead, it is by having the will of God that you enter into the kingdom. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21 That is what Jesus does. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30 And if we do that too, then we can be a brother or sister or mother to Jesus: For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Matthew 12:50 (Note: The role of "father" is clearly taken by God. This is one reason why Jesus said, And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Matthew 23:9) And if we are family to Jesus, what does that make us to God? It makes us children, just as Jesus said: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:44, 45

That is what it means to be in the kingdom of God. It means doing God's will, trusting in the Father to provide for us, and being a brother, sister, or mother to Jesus. If anyone tells you anything else, they did not hear it from Jesus. It is not by faith, it is not by works. It is by will.

The Harvest is the End of Time Back to Top ↑

Yet again, the symbolism of the harvest is explored more in depth on the section of the harvest in the Parable of the Tares.

In Conclusion Back to Top ↑

The Parable of the Growing Seed is yet another simple parable using agricultural means familiar to everyone in Jesus's time, and everyone in modern times too. Plants grow, and then are harvested. It is the same with followers of Jesus, the kingdom grows, and it will be harvested one day.

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