The Parable of the Growing Seed is among the powerful parables given by Jesus (Yahshua) Christ during His earthly ministry. The parable appeared only in Mark 4:26-29. Its language is almost the same as the Parable of the Sower. However, the explanation of the Parable of the Growing Seed is not found in any Gospel. Thus, it is a bit more challenging to interpret its meaning compared to other parables. As this might be the case, we can obtain valuable lessons from the Parable of the Growing Seed. Join me now as we examine its valuable lesson for us today.
The Narrative of the Parable of the Growing Seed
We read in Mark 4:26-29:
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
From these verses, we can obtain significant lessons we need to learn.
Lesson no. 1: The primary focus of Christ’s parables is the Kingdom of God
When most people hear the word “Gospel,” they will immediately think about the life of Jesus Christ, his suffering, death, and resurrection. However, did you know that the Gospel is NOT entirely about Jesus? We read in Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
What did Christ preach? What is the Gospel all about? The Gospel is all about the KINGDOM OF GOD. That’s why in many parables of Christ, we see how He explained in human term what the Kingdom of God is. He wants His Disciples, listeners, and followers to have a proper understanding of what the Gospel is all about. He wants us, Christians, to know what the Kingdom of God is. (If you want to know how to effectively preach the Gospel, click here.)
So, here, we can see that Jesus was directing the attention of His listeners to what the Kingdom is all about.
Lesson no. 2: We need to have a strong desire for the Kingdom of God
There are different ways to interpret this parable. Since Jesus, Himself, did not give its explanation, we might as well do our best to understand it within the context of the Bible.
While in the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:3-9, we see that the seed is specifically mentioned as the word (verse 14). However, in verse 26, where we start reading the Parable of the Growing Seed, the primary focus was the Kingdom of God. So, we read, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.”
We can read here that the Kingdom of God is like the action of planting seed on the ground. Little do people know at that time, that Jesus was actually planting the seed of the Kingdom of God in their hearts. Christ was starting to motivate them to have a yearning for God’s kingdom. He was helping them to focus their minds on the Kingdom of God and make it their TOP PRIORITY to be part of it in the future.
Ever since we were created, God “has put eternity in [our] hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have the natural yearning to have an eternal life. We want to live forever and be free of diseases and the limitations of our human body.
That’s why in Romans 8:23, we read: “But we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves GROAN within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
As we come to know God, Jesus Christ, and Their words, we are infused with the earnest expectation of God’s kingdom! The faithful followers of God PASSIONATELY, fervently, and excitedly look forward to the day when Jesus will establish God’s kingdom here on earth!
We are so consumed with the thought of God’s kingdom that it affects how we think, talk, and act. IT AFFECTS OUR WHOLE BEING. Our desire for the Kingdom of God changes the way we behave during this lifetime. Every action that we do today should bring us closer to God’s kingdom.
Jesus taught us that our top priority should be to seek FIRST to the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). So much more that we pray every day, “Thy Kingdom come.”
Lesson no. 3: God gives the increase
Christians are commanded to preach the Gospel. We read, “Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Like what I mentioned before, the focal emphasis of the Gospel is the Kingdom of God.
From the Parable of the Growing Seed, we read that “a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow.” In the same manner, we scatter or preach the seed, the Kingdom of God, through our words and actions. We are to plant the seed. Along with doing God’s work, we also attend to our own worldly concerns. We live a normal life. We go on with our activities. We “sleep by night and rise by day” as to how Mark puts it.
The prophets from the olden times have also lived and died. Yet, the seed of the Kingdom of God lives on. It continues to grow and develop even thousands of years after their death. In like manner, we also plant the seed, and God will take it from there.
We read in I Corinthians 3:6-8:
“I planted, Apollos watered, BUT GOD GAVE THE INCREASE. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”
It is God’s intention to use us to preach the Gospel of God. However, it is His prerogative whom He will call to His church. The first move has never been our choice. It was God who hand-picked you from the billions of people on earth to be part of His Son’s Body of believers. This is supported by Christ’s statement: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
Therefore, it is our Christian duty to preach the Gospel, and it is up to God to give the increase. We are not the ones who call people to God’s church. God only uses us to plant the seed, and He will take care of the rest from there.
Like a seed planted on the ground, sometimes, it takes some time before we can see the fruit of our labor. Though we might not see the young plant yet, we can be sure that the seed is being nourished by the ground. It is preparing to do a mightier work.
We must not lose heart when we see that our effort seems to be useless. Remember, Noah? He preached for many years, and yet, when the flood finally came, there were only eight people who were spared from the great flood.
For this reason, we should continue doing our part in preaching the Gospel. Whether we see the fruit or not, we must be willing to carry on with the confidence that all things are under the control of our heavenly Father.
Lesson no. 4: God’s plan of salvation has different stages
The Parable of the Growing Seed portrays an important concept that we all must understand. It tells us that the plan of God has various stages. It follows a systematic and perfect process of offering salvation to all mankind.
We read, “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.” You see, crops don’t suddenly appear as mature plants. You won’t wake up one morning and notice that all the crops you planted are fully grown. It doesn’t happen that way. Nature teaches us that there is a process and this process takes time.
In the same manner, the plan of God follows an important procedure in saving as many people as possible and giving them the chance to be part of the future Kingdom of God that would be established here on earth.
The majority of Christians today are oblivious of God’s plan of salvation. Do you know why? Because they don’t keep God’s biblically ordained festivals found in Leviticus 23. These festivals are not just for the ancient Israelites or Jews. It is for the all of mankind. These festivals were observed by Jesus Christ during His lifetime. The Apostles kept them and even the first-century Church many years after Christ’s resurrection.
To give you an idea of God’s plan of Salvation, let me briefly enumerate the different festivals of God and what they symbolize.
- Passover- pictures the death and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Here’s a comparison of the Biblical Passover and Easter.)
- Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures getting rid of sin from our lives.
- Pentecost – pictures the day when the Holy Spirit was made available to the followers of God.
- Trumpets – pictures the day when Jesus will finally return here on earth and establish God’s kingdom.
- Day of Atonement – pictures the day when Satan is removed and thrown into the bottomless pit.
- Feast of Tabernacles – pictures the millennial period when all of mankind will finally live in perfect peace and abundance.
- The Last Great Day – pictures the day when the rest of mankind would be given the chance to be part of God’s family.
From these Feasts of God, you will gain an understanding how God works within a definite timetable. Of course, I understand this is an important and difficult topic to digest, so I highly recommend that you request a free copy of God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.
Lesson no. 5: Christ will gather His saints when He returns here on the earth
Our lives, as Christians, serve as a training ground. We live today in such a way that we are preparing for the coming Kingdom of God. Our ultimate goal in our lives is not to get rich, be famous, influential, or pursue other worldly endeavors. We are here for a special purpose that is to become sons and daughters of God and be ready to rule in His kingdom.
God is preparing His people to fill in the offices of kings and priests during the millennium (Revelation 5:10). We read in the Parable of the Growing Seed, “But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The Bible pictures the time when the saints will be united with Jesus like a harvest. Just as a farmer who harvests the fruits of the land, Jesus Christ will also harvest His saints from all the ends of the earth. Thus, we shall be called firstfruits (I Corinthians 15:20; James 1:18).
The reward of God is way greater than all the treasures and pleasures this world could ever offer. Thus, we must strive to develop the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We must make it our top priority to follow the will of God in our lives. Because at the end of it all, when are ripe, when we have produced the right kind of fruit, we will be part of God’s first harvest.
After reading this blog, I hope you now have a deeper understanding of what the Parable of the Growing Seed in Mark 4:26-39 means. This parable teaches us the five of the best lessons mentioned in this blog.
It is my sincerest hope that we all focus on the coming Kingdom of God. Let us pray for God’s help in preparing ourselves to be counted worthy to be part of that future glorious Kingdom!
Here’s a recommended Amazon book that you might find interesting:
Author: John F. McArthur
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (141 customer reviews)
Pastor-teacher John MacArthur helps readers understand Jesus’ parables and how they relate to the whole of His message.
Jesus was a master storyteller, and the parables He told were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons. Understanding the parables is a crucial matter for followers of Jesus. Jesus told parables so His people might comprehend His message about the kingdom of God clearly.
Master expositor and Bible commentator John MacArthur has spent a lifetime explaining the Word of God in clear and comprehensible terms. In Parables he helps Christians understand the essential lessons contained in the most famous and influential short stories the world has ever known. (Grab your copy here.)