- 1. Synopsis
- 2. Parable Given in Response to
- 3. Symbolism Chart
- 4. The Parable in Mark
- 5. Symbolic Interpretations
- 5.1. The Man is Likely Us
- 5.2. The Ground is Earth
- 5.3. The Seed is the Word of God
- 5.4. The Sleeping is the Passage of Time
- 5.5. The Fruit is the Believer
- 5.6. The Harvest is the End of Time
- 6. Conclusion
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)
|↓Man||Followers of Jesus||Mark 4:26|
|↓Seed||Word of God||Mark 4:26|
|↓Sleep||Passage of Time||Mark 4:27|
|↓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,
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 ↑
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
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
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.
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
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,
Instead, it is by having the will of God that you enter into the kingdom.
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.