On Mark 4:14-29

Mark 4:14-29
As the Gospel of Mark gives us the character of the Lord Jesus as the servant of God, so likewise do we find the service of Christ coming out in a most remarkable way. For in every act the divine glory of Christ stands out in virtue of and by His service, and not merely by miracles, though that is true in its place. But if Jesus takes the form of a servant, there must be the divine power for the accomplishment of the service. If it be the mere healing of the body, if Jairus' daughter is to be raised, divine power must be there to do it. He had to make good the word of God spoken in Ex. 15:2626And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26), " I am the Lord that healeth thee;" and this could not be done but by divine power. He is content to be as the servant; but if He is God's servant, there must be this power of God, though with the entire abrogation of self. So He said "I do always those things that please him." But no act of His service could be accomplished without this divine power; for if sins are to be forgiven, " who can forgive sins but God only?" and He, the Son of man, forgave their sins. "Thy sins be forgiven thee; go in peace." Thus all through His service we see the divine glory brought out.
Then another thing appears, which is, that when He ascended up on high He transferred the same spirit and power of service to His disciples, and so to us, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. When the Lord was down here, He took the place of a sower in connection with others: for He is not now seeking fruit in the Jewish vineyard and finding none; He had set it aside for the present, as the " degenerate plant of a strange vine," and had now come to sow that seed which had not before been brought to the earth. He came to produce fruit where there was none. He is not yet come to reap: that will be when He comes again, as the parable expresses it, "As if a man should east seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.... But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately be putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."
There are three things in this chapter; and, first, the full responsibility of the effect of what we bear. "Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you." This shows that the result of your hearing puts you in the place of testimony. Therefore, "take heed what ye hear: for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you." I am looking for whatever you have received to come out again, and, according to the kind of reception the truth has met with in our souls, will there be the fruit produced, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold.
Then, secondly, between the time of His sowing and His coming again to reap, the seed is springing and growing up, " he knoweth not how." The Lord is apparently inattentive to the whole thing. During all the toil and exercise of heart accompanying the service the Lord is apparently unconscious. Tares spring up among the wheat without His taking any notice or interfering at all, leaving it all to the exercise of faith in the laborers, while He, in one sense, is doing nothing. Thus when they were crossing the sea, they get into trouble by reason of a storm that came against them; and while they were toiling against it, He was fast asleep on a pillow in the binder part of the ship. They had also trial in another way—that He could suffer them to be in danger and apparently take no notice. " They awoke him and say unto him, Master, rarest thou not that we perish?" They were in the same ship with Christ: therefore nothing could be more safe; but they had lost sight of the glory of His person, and thought they were going to perish, thus connecting the circumstances with themselves and not with God. But with Christ in the ship they were as safe in the storm as in the calm. In the next chapter, where the man who had the legion cast out of him "prayed Jesus that he might be with him, howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee." He desired to be at rest with Jesus; but the Lord said, No: you must go back to be a witness of grace in a world that has turned Jesus out.
Then, thirdly, now that we have the apparent absence of the person of Jesus, but not as to grace (that is always and everywhere present), we have to walk by faith and not by sight. The word of God now takes the place of Christ's personal presence: as it is the word of God that can alone give us the mind of God. Of course, the Spirit is needed to apply it. And this it is that makes us responsible for the truth we hear, though, of course, we can do nothing without grace. A light is not put under a bushel but in a candlestick, that it may give light around: and I have put you as a light, that you may give out the light. Or why have I lit up the light in you, but that you may give out the light I have lit? " God hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." And as there is nothing hid that shall not be manifested, God is now looking for the outshining of that out of our hearts, which He hath shined in. This is the way that God works. He first puts a word in our hearts that we may bring it out again. If God has lit up a light in my soul, it is that it may shine out to all around; and if not, why does it not? Ah! there is some hindrance within, some hidden lust in the heart that dims the light; and if I do not search it out at once and judge it before the Lord, that He may put it away, I shall, sooner or later, fall into some open sin; then discipline will bring it out manifestly. It is as much as to say, If the light I have lit up in you is not shining out, I will bring out that which hinders it. " Judge yourselves that ye be not judged of the Lord." "For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested; neither anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad." But here it is meant in reference to the truth, no doubt. Supposing the Church has failed, well, the things by which it has failed will be brought out to light. All God's counsels of glory He has entrusted to the Church. " Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels" through unfaithfulness; for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. If you only mete out a scanty measure, a scanty measure will be meted to you in return. "For he that hath, to him shall be given." What you have received you are to give out, that you may get more. When Christ comes again, He conies to reap the harvest of everything He has sown. Then during this interval of the Lord's sowing and reaping, while the seed is springing up, He knoweth not bow—that is to say, while He is apparently absent from us, not interfering in all our trials and conflicts—yet we have this on which to stay our souls, that we are in the same vessel with Himself; and, however much the ship may be tossed about by the storms and waves of the devil's raising, while we have Him in the vessel, we are as safe in the storm as in the calm.
Next, we have two things brought out here—the grace of God and the light of life; and whether it be one, two, or twenty talents we have received by way of gift, the reception of the grace of God into our souls will make us tell out the truth as it is in Jesus. And as Jesus, when here, was the light of the world, so (having lit up this light of life in our souls) He is looking for us to be light-bearers in the midst of this dark world where He has left us (like the poor man out of whom the legion was cast), that "our light so shine before men, that they seeing our good works may glorify our Father which is in heaven." Then how great is our responsibility as to our hearing! (" Take heed what ye hear;" " To him that hath shall be given") that in hearing of God's grace, we may possess it in the knowledge of what God is. And, when hearing of Christ, our souls should realize all of Christ—to hear, seize hold of it in all its power; and hearing, also have it, and be it, even the light as it is in Christ. And that will make manifest everything that is contrary to it; for we only want the light of Christ to make manifest all that is Babylonish or Egyptian.
" Take heed how ye hear." As far as our flesh is not mortified, we shall not possess the truth: and only so far as our flesh is mortified, can we possess the truth. And to the same extent as the flesh is continually judged and kept down, will our " loins be girt about with truth," because the flesh cannot receive the truth. And when we really possess the truth in our souls, it judges ourselves and all that it finds within first, and then shines out.
May all that we have heard, and our hearing of Christ, thus be manifested by us to the praise of His glory!