What Jesus Did! 'Folding Under Fire' — Mark 4:16-17

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"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 go deep 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."
— Mark 4:16-17
Illustration of Mark 4:16-17 — "Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground."

Key Thought

So many of us can get excited about new things, especially new spiritual undertakings. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough, we tend to bog down and give up. Self-discipline has never been a commodity found in abundance. Those who are first responding to Jesus will find difficulty awaiting them. There is no way to avoid this. At the very least, these new believers will find themselves in a culture clash as the values of the Kingdom conflict with the values of the world around them. Often times, the world around new Christians pushes back. Sometimes it is overt persecution. Other times it is that incessant ridicule or condescension that gets to them. If Jesus faced a time of trial for 40 days after his baptism, we must know that new followers of Jesus will too. Persecution isn't an option for most believers! (See John 16:33!)

Today's Prayer

Give me strength, O heavenly Father, to withstand the ridicule, persecution, and opposition of others. Help me be an encouragement to new believers so they do not succumb to the same kinds of problems in their lives. 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

What great blessings there are for the people that are treated badly for doing good! The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Matthew 5:10

Can anything separate us from Christ's love? No! Can trouble separate us from Christ's love? No! Can problems or persecution separate us from Christ's love? No! If we have no food or clothes, will that separate us from Christ's love? No! Will danger or even death separate us from Christ's love? No! Like it is written in the Scriptures : "For you (Christ) we are in danger of death all the time. People think we are worth no more than sheep to be killed." But in all these things we have full victory through God who showed his love for us.

Romans 8:35-37

And God will give peace to you people who are troubled. And he will give peace to us. God will give us this help when the Lord Jesus is shown to us. Jesus will come from heaven with his powerful angels.

2 Thessalonians 1:7

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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.