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

Sunday, March 3, 2024

[Continuing the explanation of his parable, Jesus said,] "The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word."
— Mark 4:16-17 NLT

Key Thought

So many of us can get excited about new things, especially new spiritual undertakings. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough, we can become discouraged and give up. Self-discipline is just not a prominent characteristic of some people. In any event, people will find difficulty awaiting them when they first respond to Jesus. There is no way to avoid this difficulty. 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. Since Jesus faced a time of trial for 40 days after his baptism, we must know that new followers of Jesus will face trials too. Persecution isn't an option for most believers! [1] That persecution and the temptations that new Christians face are reasons that we, as Jesus' disciples, have been told to share each other's burdens and help the weak. [2]

[1] John 16:33.
[2] Galatians 6:1-3.

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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 5:10
  • Romans 8:35-37
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:7

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Illustration

Illustration of Mark 4:16-17 NLT — "The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.