What Jesus Did! 'Facing the Adversary' — Mark 4:15

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. This is like some people. Those people hear the teaching of God. But Satan (the devil) comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them."
— Mark 4:15
Illustration of Mark 4:15 — "Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. This is like some people. Those people hear the teaching of God. But Satan (the devil) comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them."

Key Thought

Our efforts to share the good news of the Kingdom of God don't happen in a vacuum. We must realize that Satan is an active adversary. He opposes or seeks to dilute, distort, and derail every effort made to advance the Kingdom of God in the hearts of lost people. Let's not forget that we have an adversary. This shouldn't make us afraid or discouraged, but it should motivate us to feel the urgency of God for the lost men and women around us. It should awaken us that those who come to Christ will face difficult challenges as they try to begin their new walk with the Lord. It should move us with compassion as we see people battle in their heart between the influences of Satan and the invitation extended by Jesus. Satan will try to steal that message from them. We must do all we can to help them hear and respond!

Today's Prayer

O Father, how you must grieve for those who struggle to receive your grace. How it must anger you to see the evil one come in and steal away the good news from the hearts of those who so much need it. Use me as one of your messengers to help those who are battling Satan. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Another time Jesus began teaching by the lake. Many, many people gathered around Jesus. So Jesus got into a boat and went out on the lake. All the people stayed on the shore next to the water. Jesus taught the people from the boat. Jesus used many stories to teach them. He said, "Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Some seed fell on rocky ground. The ground there did not have enough dirt. The seed grew very fast there because the ground was not deep. But the sun rose and the plants were burned. The plants died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and stopped the good plants from growing. So those plants did not make grain. Some other seed fell on good ground. In the good ground, the seed began to grow. It grew and made grain. Some plants had 30 grains, other plants had 60 grains, and some had 100 grains." Then Jesus said, "You people that hear me, listen!" Later, Jesus was away from the people. The twelve apostles and Jesus' other followers asked him about the stories. Jesus said, "Only you can know the secret truth about the kingdom of God. But to those other people I tell everything by using stories. I do this so that: 'They will look and look, but never really see; they will listen and listen, but never understand. If they saw and understood, they might change and be forgiven.'" Then Jesus said to the followers, "Do you understand this story? If you don't, then how will you understand any story? The farmer is like a person that plants God's teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. This is like some people. Those people hear the teaching of God. But Satan (the devil) comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them. Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly and gladly accept it. But those people don't allow the teaching to godeep into their lives. They keep that teaching only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly quit. Other people are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. These people hear the teaching. But then these things come into their lives: the worries of this life, the love of money, and wanting all kinds of other things. These things stop the teaching from growing. So that teaching does not make fruit {in the lives of those people}. Other people are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and make fruit—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more."

Mark 4:1-20

Related Scripture Readings

In the past, your spiritual lives were dead because of your sins and the things you did wrong against God. Yes, in the past you lived doing those sins. You lived the way the world lives. You followed the ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now working in those people who refuse to obey God.

Ephesians 2:1-2

We couldn't come to you, but it was very hard to wait any longer. So we decided to send Timothy to you and stay in Athens alone. Timothy is our brother. He works with God to tell people the Good News about Christ. We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in your faith. We sent Timothy so that none of you would be upset by these troubles we have now. You yourselves know that we must have these troubles. Even when we were with you, we told you that we all would have to suffer. And you know that it happened the way we said. This is why I sent {Timothy} to you, so that I could know about your faith. I sent him when I could not wait any more. I was afraid that the one (the devil) who tempts people might have defeated you with temptations. Then our hard work would have been wasted. But Timothy came back to us from you. He told us good news about your faith and love. Timothy told us that you always remember us in a good way. He told us that you want very much to see us again. And it is the same with us—we want very much to see you. So, brothers and sisters, we are comforted about you, because of your faith. We have much trouble and suffering, but still we are comforted. Our life is really full if you stand strong in the Lord. We have so much joy before our God because of you! So we thank God for you. But we cannot thank him enough for all the joy we feel. We continue praying very strongly for you night and day. We pray that we can be there and see you again and give you all the things you need to make your faith strong. We pray that our God and Father and our Lord Jesus will prepare the way for us to come to you. We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that he will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love all people like we love you. We pray this so that your hearts will be made strong. Then you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy people.

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world's darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.