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Sermon for June 16, 2024 – Proper 6

Welcome to this week’s episode, a special rerun from our Speaking of Life archive. We hope you find its timeless message as meaningful today as it was when it was first shared.

Program Transcript

Speaking Of Life 3029 | The Cutting Takes Root
Greg Williams

If you’ve ever done any gardening, you know it can be frustrating. You have to strike the right balance between caring for something and leaving it alone so it will grow and not be smothered.

One technique for growing that takes quite a bit of care and attention at first, but can really be successful, is growing from a cutting. With a tree, you cut off a green branch and carefully plant it in rich, fertile soil so that it forms roots and grows into a new tree.

The prophet Ezekiel talks about this as a metaphor for God replanting Israel after exile:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.
Ezekiel 17:22-24

This parable follows a discussion of Israel’s efforts to ally with its pagan neighbors. Their disobedience brought them into exile and despair. But God gives them this very tender image of himself as the gardener who gently takes a cutting from what’s there and grows in the familiar soil of back home. The image would have been comforting to an exiled Israel.

God’s plan for Israel was not to destroy or start over, but to build from what was already growing. He took Israel in his hands, even after all their efforts to make their own way failed. They were frail and completely dependent, but he saw the mighty strength in their future that would bless all nations – “birds of every kind will nest in it.”

Jesus no doubt drew on this image in Mark 4, when he told the story of the tiny mustard seed that grows larger than all the garden plants.

God, the divine gardener, took a cutting every time the great tree of humanity fell and he replanted it. From Adam and Eve to Abraham, from Abraham to Isaac, then Jacob, then Moses, then the people of Israel. Finally, from all this imagery, all of this promise of growth in the future, God’s plan comes together in one person, born of the lineage of the kings and priests. From Jesus grew the mighty family of faith that keeps growing through the centuries despite its own mistakes and the devastating winds of time.

God’s plan is connected throughout. Nowhere in it did God change his mind or start over again or make up for some mistake. Redemption and restoration, yes, but the same consistent story always moving forward. The story, like the tree, grows and keeps on growing just from the tiny beginning until it crescendos into the all-encompassing Kingdom of God. You and I are part of that replanting, part of that story.

I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.

Psalm 20:1-9 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13) 14-17 Mark 4:26-34

This week’s theme is kingdom growth. In our call to worship psalm, there is assurance that the Lord will help and support his anointed to be victorious. The Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel provides the suspenseful account of David being anointed as king of Israel by Samuel. Our reading from 2 Corinthians reads with a note of confidence on account of faith in Christ, who makes all things new. The Gospel text in Mark provides two parables from Jesus that explore the growth of the kingdom of God using the sowing of two different seeds.

The Growing of the Kingdom

Mark 4:26-34 – ESV

Today we have a couple of parables to ponder. And both parables use the image of seeds. Before we visit these two parables, we should have a word about parables themselves. And especially, how Jesus used parables.

First, parables in the hand of Jesus were not simplistic little illustrations to drive home a teaching point. In fact, we see that many did not understand what Jesus was saying and even his disciples often needed further explanation.

Second, Jesus’ parables required a lot from his hearers. Jesus’ parables were enigmatic stories and pictures which demanded to be sorted out. Jesus wasn’t reinforcing what everyone already understood, he was challenging the way his hearers typically thought about the topic he was discussing. In the case of our two parables at hand, the topic is the kingdom of God. Jesus is going to use two parables involving seeds to reorient how people understand not only God’s kingdom, but God himself.


Third, those who did hear and grow to understand Jesus’ parables did so because they were following Jesus. Crowds may appear to hear the parables, but only those who hung around Jesus and inquired further would get an interpretation. His disciples would understand the parables because Jesus himself would give them further understanding. That will be the case today as we hear the two parables in our lectionary. If we listen to the parables assuming we already know what they mean, we too, like the crowds, may walk away with little more understanding than we came with. However, if we are primarily coming to hear Jesus speak to us, coming with open hands and humble hearts, we can trust that Jesus will reveal more to us since we have “ears to hear.”

Followers of Jesus are not afraid of repentance. They know the one who speaks to them is for them, full of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And they know that Jesus wants us to come to know him and his Father better. So we listen with attentive ears, knowing the one who is speaking to us wants us to be willing to let go of old, preconceived, and wrong-headed thoughts and ways of thinking.

Fourth, we should also remember that parables are in one way or another about Jesus. Even if the subject matter is about the kingdom of God, as our parables are today, it cannot be separated from who Jesus is. That is how we will approach the parables today, seeking to answer the question, who is Jesus and who are we in him.

Perhaps we should also add one final thought about parables. Considering the subject matter, and that they help us to see more fully who Jesus is and who we are in him, we should temper our expectations of understanding. We do not expect to hear a parable and then immediately be granted mastery of what Jesus was saying. Parables can continue to help us see a little more each time around. This is why we may have many different interpretations of parables. Some may be better than others, but we shouldn’t expect to ever fully understand Jesus’ parables. They call us into a deeper relationship with Jesus, listening to him again and again, trusting that by his Spirit, he is opening our ears, little by little, or a lot at times, to know him and grow in our trust in him and his Father. So, don’t expect this sermon to be the final word on these two parables. We will do our best to be faithful to how Mark uses the parables. But we will also hold loosely to any interpretation that may need further filling out later. Parables are a journey. So, let’s take a couple of steps into that journey with the two parables we have before us.

The first parable we encounter is Mark’s first parable about the kingdom of God and it is a parable only found in Mark. That sets it apart in many ways. But, as we should come to expect, the point of this parable is quite elusive. We do not know if we should focus on the sower, the process of the seed’s growth, or on the harvest. The focus we choose can take us in many different directions. For our discussion we will focus on the sower as a way forward in the parable, without leaving the process or the harvest out. This will at least keep our focus on a “who” rather than a process or event. That seems to be a safe approach considering we want the parable to help us discover a little more of who Jesus is. Approaching any scripture with the “who” question in mind is always the surest and most fruitful way forward.

Here is how Mark introduces the first parable:

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. (Mark 4:26 ESV)

The most important thing to note about the parable is the one who is telling it. It’s no small thing that it is Jesus who is telling us this parable and not some random person. We can trust that Jesus is giving this parable for our good. Just because it is difficult to understand, or because it contains some ambiguous images, doesn’t mean that Jesus is trying to trick us or conceal something that he’d rather not share. Jesus can be trusted, and on that ground, we can engage in the hard work of hearing and thinking through his words.

For starters, Jesus is clear on the subject of the parable, namely, “the kingdom of God.” So, that at least gives us some parameters, although the kingdom of God can mean many different things to different people. And that is why Jesus must give us a parable. We all come to it with some idea of what the kingdom of God is. And it seems Jesus needs to invite us into rethinking our concepts of his kingdom. What’s at stake is not just how we think of the kingdom, but how we think of God, whose kingdom it is. We cannot separate the two. If we are going to belong to this kingdom, we will need to know the one whose kingdom it is, as he is the one we will belong to.

Since we will put our focus on the sower, we will want to ask the question, “Who is this ‘man’ who scatter’s seed on the ground?” And in case we need the reminder, this parable is set up with an “as if” statement. So, we are not to read it too literally. We know that we are using creaturely terms and images, in this case agricultural ones, to convey something deeper. However, that doesn’t rule out that the “man” is an actual man. In fact, one way forward in understanding the parable is to see this “man” as none other than Jesus himself. But Jesus is more than just a man. He is the God-man. He is the Son of God who has assumed our human nature in the person of Jesus.

We must also take note that this man is doing something. He is sowing “seed on the ground.” The image of “seed” is a rich one conjuring up the messianic “seed” promised in Genesis to Adam and Eve. The “seed” is the offspring that will come through childbirth from the line of Adam. The promised “seed” of course is none other than Jesus Christ who was born of Mary. The picture of seed in the ground is a pretty good picture of the Incarnation. The Son of God has come to our world as Jesus, the God-man. Of course, if we take this route, we are then seeing the “man” as Jesus as well as the “seed” as Jesus. So, we could say the man is planting himself in the world. Another way to look at it is to equate the “seed” with the gospel, or God’s word. Jesus sows his word, or the gospel into our world. And this word picture still allows for the “man” and the “seed” both being Jesus since Jesus is God’s Word as well as the Gospel. That does fill out the kingdom of God to be all about the person and work of Jesus.

However, the parable can speak on two levels from this point. For those who are in union with Christ, his followers, they too can be seen as the “man” in the parable as they live in participation of Jesus’ spreading the gospel in the world. We too are called to “scatter seed on the ground” by sharing Jesus on whatever ground we find ourselves walking. Going forward, we will try to keep both pictures in mind. Jesus as the “man” and the “seed” being sown, and believers as the “man” who participate in the sowing of the gospel. By doing so this will help us draw some implications for our personal walk with Jesus.

Let’s take a look at one such implication in the next verse:

He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. (Mark 4:27 ESV)

If we are thinking of Jesus as the “man” then the image of sleeping and rising certainly can remind us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Perhaps we will raise an eyebrow at the point in the parable where the “man” does not know how the “seed sprouts and grows.” But this can be a way of showing Jesus’ faith in his Father. Jesus went to the cross fully trusting that God knew what he was doing. He didn’t need explanations of “how” this plan for salvation was going to work. He simply does his Father’s will. And that is a word of comfort for us as well as we follow the Father’s call to share the gospel in our daily lives. We are not tasked to make the seed sprout and grow. We are simply called to be faithful to what the Lord has given us. We leave the results up to him.

This was the pattern for the early church, and it has not changed in our modern times. As Paul saw in his ministry, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). What a relief that we do not have to carry the burden of growing the kingdom. That is not our responsibility. If there is anything we are to grow, it is to grow in our faith in the Lord Jesus. How God chooses to grow the kingdom, on his own timing, is not our concern. That should give us a spring in our step as we scatter seed on the ground on which we walk.

We remain faithful, trusting the one who has called us to participate in his own sowing of the gospel, the good news of his soon coming kingdom in which he is King. It is exciting when we see evidence of the seed sprouting and growing, but that is not why we share the good news of Jesus with others. We share him because we trust him and we have found him to be a joy to share, whether this joy takes root in others or not. And, when we do see some evidence of growth, that should only grow our faith in him even further. We do not have to analyze “how” the growth occurred for the purpose of replicating some process or event. We do not put our trust in “how” we share the gospel, we put our trust in “who” the gospel is, Jesus Christ. We can trust that in the sharing, God will do a work, often underground and undetected by us, at least at first. We may never see the results in every effort of sharing the gospel. But we don’t have to, our eyes are focused on Jesus, and that is more than enough.

Let’s go further into the parable:

The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. (Mark 4:28 ESV)

This description goes further in making the point that it is not up to us to make the seed grow. When the gospel seed is planted, it does its own work. Or another way to say it, Jesus gets his own response. He is God’s Word that every creature is made to hear and respond to. Our words and efforts do nothing towards growing the kingdom if they are not a sharing of God’s word. We do our best in the sharing, meaning, we work hard to present the word as faithfully as possible. We will want to be as accurate and faithful to the word given to us in scripture in our sharing of Jesus, who is the Word of God that the scriptures point to. But this does not mean that God’s word needs our help in gaining a hearing. Slick presentations, clever campaigns, or exciting events are a complete waste of time if the word of God is not present. Otherwise, we may get a response from people, but they will be responding to our own cleverly packaged words, and not the Word of God. Whatever growth comes from that will not be kingdom growth but something else. God is not trying to sell something for people to buy, he is trying to give something for people to receive.

One other thing to note in this verse is the aspect of growth being a process. Receiving the gospel is not a onetime thing. This makes sense when we realize the gospel is a relationship with Jesus and his Father in the Spirit. Relationships take time to grow. They are not automatic. It may start as just a small “blade” but in time our relationship with the Lord grows more mature and fruitful.

Let’s wrap up the first parable with the next verse:

But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:29 ESV)

The agricultural picture of harvest helps us see that God’s kingdom does have an end in mind. God has a goal that he is working towards, and he intends on completing it. And whatever you want to make of the “sickle” as the tool employed at harvest time, we are given some assurance in this image that it will not be used until the “grain is ripe.” We can trust God’s timing, in our lives and in the lives of others. His intentions are to bring a ripe harvest into his kingdom.

Now Jesus is going to move into a second parable on the same topic, using the same agricultural image, but with a different seed.

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? (Mark 4:30 ESV)

By introducing another parable with these questions, Jesus lets us know that there is no perfect analogy or illustration that will open our eyes to see the fullness of the kingdom. But we can trust that Jesus will help us see as much as possible, even if only partially. Much of what Jesus is sharing is beyond our comprehension in this life. We are to walk in faith until our eyes are made new, capable of seeing the Lord face-to-face.

Let’s look at the second parable. It is short, but well known as the Parable of the Mustard Seed:

It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:31-32 ESV)

Jesus gives us a couple of contrasts by using this parable. First, there is the contrast between small and large within the parable. Jesus uses some hyperbole to emphasize the contrast. The mustard seed is not literally the smallest seed on earth, but it was the smallest seed the listeners were familiar with. The point is that it is incomparably small to how large it ends up. Jesus is allowed to exaggerate to make his point. There is no need to reject his teaching on the grounds of botanical accuracy. And his point tells us something about who God is.

The God we see in Jesus Christ does not mind starting small. If you ever planted a tiny seed in dirt, you would notice how the seed virtually disappears to one’s sight. That’s how it would appear when Jesus was crucified and buried. It would have seemed that the hope of Jesus establishing God’s kingdom had come to nothing. It had vanished in a tomb like a seed buried in the dirt. But we know the rest of the story. Jesus becomes the tree of life, giving us all a home and shade to rest under.

We can also see in this contrast of the small mustard seed and the large plant it produces that we can trust God will bring our faithful efforts to him—no matter how small—into a fruitful blessing for many in due time. We may never know how a little word of encouragement from the gospel, a helping hand in Jesus’ name, or any number of things done in faith to the Lord, will grow into something much larger. One day Jesus may pull us aside and show us the large plant that he grew from our faithfulness to him that we had no idea about. We may be astonished how Jesus used our little efforts to branch out into provisions of rest and comfort for many wearied travelers whose lives were up in the air.

There is a second contrast that comes from this parable, and that is the contrast it has with the first parable. The first parable used the image of a stalk of grain which is certainly a very positive image of life. But a mustard plant was not so readily seen as a welcomed plant. A mustard tree’s shadow would prevent the growth of other crops like wheat. Also, they would attract birds, which would eat the produce of the crops that did grow. In our vernacular, we would liken it to a weed in our beautifully manicured garden. That’s an interesting twist Jesus provides. Perhaps he wants us to be on guard from judging too quickly where God is working his blessings. Perhaps, he wants to press further that even the “birds” we so often see as pests or enemies of our particular plans, are also creatures the Lord loves and wants to refresh. Altogether, there is much mystery that comes with the kingdom of God. We are called to trust the one who is at work in growing the kingdom. It may not look the way we think it should at times, but we must remember, it’s not our kingdom, it’s his.

That gives us two parables of seed for thought. Let’s see how Mark concludes the section:

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (Mark 4:33-34 ESV)

The passage is concluded with Jesus spending some alone time with his disciples to explain the parables. Jesus will always walk alongside us to reveal more and more of the mysteries of the kingdom. Or in other words, he remains with us, helping us see more and more who he is and who his Father is by the Spirit. Sometimes we are left confused. But we can trust we are never left alone.

Jesus wants you to know him more. He wants you to see his gracious and loving Father. He wants you to see that he is trustworthy so you can put your trust in him and grow in that trust day in and day out. And in doing so, you will be prepared to enter into God’s kingdom. Ultimately that is what his kingdom will be all about: Living in the presence of the one who is trustworthy, who is for us completely, and who is growing us up into the abundant life he has for us. Whether you are just beginning your journey of faith or have been on that journey for decades, you can put our trust in him and grow in that trust. If that some of the mysteries of the kingdom seems confusing to you, don’t worry, the Lord will explain everything.

Rise Up w/ Chris Tilling W3

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June 16— Proper 6 in Ordinary Time
Mark 4:26-34, “My, How You’ve Grown!”

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Program Transcript

Rise Up w/ Chris Tilling W3

Anthony: Let’s transition to our next passage. It’s Mark 4:26-34. It is a Revised Common Lectionary passage for Proper 6 in Ordinary Time, which is June 16.

He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle because the harvest has come.” He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

So, Jesus here describes the kingdom of God as growing, yet the workers don’t know how it happens in verse 27. And yet, Chris, I sometimes, or frequently, hear Bible teachers giving a five step plan on how we make the kingdom of God grow.

So, am I missing something here? Help us understand.

Chris: No, you’re not missing a thing. I think there’s a temptation to turn the kingdom of God into a human project. And this is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of discipleship, which belongs to God. It’s not ours to control, as I said at the very start.

That was one of the key insights I remember battling my way through back then — what we’d now called deconstruction. It wasn’t trendy back then. But it was certainly a key moment for me.

There’s some wisdom to be gained from having, let’s say, five steps from not being a sluggard. We could get that from Proverbs. Understood.

But when it comes to the activity of God and God’s own reign, which effectively is what God’s kingdom means, this is all about the gracious activity of God, rather than something we master and control. We remain disciples in this whole process, not masters.

So, I don’t think you’re missing a thing. I think you’ve hit on something crucial to the life of faith, which frees us from taking ourselves so seriously. We don’t need to, you and me, Anthony — we’re not the middle of any of this. We’re not the center. Jesus Christ is the center. That frees us to enjoy the life of faith in discipleship without doubts, without stupidity, without whole swathe of misunderstandings and so on, intact, because it’s not about us.

It’s about Jesus.

Anthony: And it’s so good! And some people receive that as not good news because they misunderstand agency, and they want to be able to control. But it is good news that we’re not in the center. As Barth would say, genuine freedom is realizing Jesus Christ is not a freedom from God, but a freedom for God, that we get to actively participate, even if we don’t know how it’s happening.

And I think it was Eugene Peterson that said this in terms of discipleship, that it’s focusing more and more on Christ’s righteousness and less on our own. And boy, we get that backwards, don’t we, Chris, so often?

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. A good understanding of human agency, I think, is one of the crying needs for many in the church.

Anthony: While we’re on the topic of things that puzzle me — and that’s not difficult. I’m not the sharpest chisel in the shed. So, let’s talk about the parables of Jesus. My life left eye begins to twitch when I hear people say the parables are simple stories or this parable clearly means whatever, fill in the blank.

So, I ask you, New Testament scholar, am I just a contrarian or is there more profundity there? Is it something in between?

Chris: Oh, goodness. You’re not the only one that the parables puzzle. New Testament scholars debate endlessly questions relating to how they’re best understood, how they’re best classified, what genre they better approximate, whether there’s one meaning or whether there’s multiple meanings, what the purpose of these parables are.

Is it to disclose? Is it actually to cover and to hide? In other words, the confusion is one shared by New Testament scholars. Yeah, I mean, the only thing I could think that we could learn from New Testament scholarship in that regard is to realize that we have now recognized that we can’t speak in simplistic terms about the parables.

We can’t speak in simplistic terms about their genre, their historical precedence. Certainly, we can’t say that a parable has a single point. Rather, scholars these days tend to say that the parables are polyvalent. They have lots of ways of being understood. And it’s almost as if, to come back to the human agency thing here, Jesus is, in using parables, calling for our active participation in pondering, in thinking, in puzzling.

So, you said that these topics puzzle me. I think that’s the point of the parables. They’re made to evoke our wonder and response. Isn’t that interesting? Jesus isn’t there simply giving us a list of things to believe, right? Now that’s it. Now you’ve job done, like a good lecturer.

He’s causing, he’s evoking our participation in the process, in wondering, and in pondering.

Anthony: Eugene Peterson has a brilliant book called Tell It Slant, and he’s quoting a poem from Emily Dickinson when he says this. But that’s what fiction can do. This is what the parables can do. It comes at you slant, not blunt force.

Like you said earlier, it evokes our imagination. And this is why I think there’s always more profundity than we can apprehend. We don’t ever comprehend. We just get glimpses.

Let me ask you this, Chris, as a follow up. If you were preaching this particular text, what would be your focus beyond anything you’ve already said?

Chris: I don’t know if this is something I would preach on, but it’s certainly something I’d want to talk about now. I’m certainly — if I’m going to preach on this, it’s going to be, it’s got to be focused on God as I’ve said so many times, and I’m going to say till I’m blue in the face. It’s about God revealing himself in Jesus Christ and in his movement to us.

And God is creating this growth. God wants to do this. He’s for us. He’s with us in Jesus Christ. That’s certainly where I want to go for preaching. But for this particular discussion, I’d want to just meditate a little bit longer on the issue of parables. Because, if you were to flip open a dictionary of the New Testament or turn to a New Testament scholar who’s written on the parables, then very often you get questions of historicity — that is to what extent do the parables in Mark give us a window onto the historical Jesus or some such.

Can I just say something about this? Just because here, it seems to me, is where we need some of our metaphysics evangelized. There is no historical Jesus just existing in the past; we’re now in the present, separated from that past. If that’s the case, then Jesus isn’t who we think he is and confess him to be and worship him to be.

Rather, we exist in the time of Jesus Christ. We are crucified with Christ. We will be raised with Christ (to pick up on language of the apostle Paul and other New Testament passages use.) There is no neat history apart from us. We are incorporated into Jesus’ story and history.

So, the whole idea that we can get to a historical Jesus is to look with (I think it was John Webster put it) with methodological infidelity. I think was his turn of phrase. But more importantly as well, the historical Jesus can never be the real Jesus.

And I’m drawing distinctions here that a German scholar, Michael Wolter, has used. Historical studies can only give us an approximation based on probabilities and such, and that’s never going to be the same as the fullness of a person, a historical person. If someone, in 200 years, looks back at your life, Anthony, and tries to look at the trace you, of your presence online, interviews, descendants, looks at things that you’ve written online and things that your family said about you, they’ll come up with an approximation, but it’s not going to be the real Anthony.

And the thing about Mark’s Gospel is that it points us, not to a historical Jesus, but to the real Jesus. And I think these are really important distinctions to bear in mind in light of New Testament scholars. Because many will go, what are parables then? They’ll pick up a New Testament scholarly text, and they’ll get profoundly disappointed.

Don’t be. For the reasons I’ve mentioned, ultimately, it’s about pointing us to the real Jesus.

Anthony: Yeah. I appreciate what you said there because I think that can be another lie about separation from God. Separation from the historical Jesus. Thank God that when one died, all died.

Chris: Amen. Alright, that’s it.

Small Group Discussion Questions

  • How does Jesus use parables? What is he aiming to do?
  • What stood out the most to you in how the first parable was explained?
  • Did you see other aspects of the parable that were not covered in the sermon? Can you share?
  • What did you make of the contrast between the first and second parable?
  • What did you find most encouraging from the Parable of the Mustard Seed?
  • Do you have other thoughts about the Parable of the Mustard Seed?
  • Are there further questions you have about either of the parables you would like to discuss?

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