PARABLE OF JESUS TO THE GOSPEL (ONE OF THEM)
The parables of Jesus are found in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and the Gospel of Thomas. But we shall be looking at the parable of jesus to the gospel of mark. New Testament scholars believe that Mark’s gospel was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke, so their versions of each parable can be usefully compared to the Markan version to see their editing [or redaction] of the Markan source (though it also possible that they had access to another source in addition to Mark). But New Testament scholars also recognize that all of the parables were shaped prior to Mark by years of oral transmission among followers of Jesus and communities of the earliest church — from Aramaic-speaking communities of Galilee into the Greek-speaking world/s of the Mediterranean, where early Christian apostles preached the gospel message they had heard.
PARABLES OF JESUS TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK
Jesus goes to the lake, stands on a boat, and relates many of his parables. The first Mark relates is the Parable of the Sower, speaking of himself as a farmer and his seed as his word. Much of the seed comes to no account but “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” (4:8) His disciples (students) don’t understand why he is teaching in parables or even what the meaning of the parables are. Mark flashes forward to later, after the crowds have left and Jesus tells them “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” (4:11-12), with Jesus quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. Early Christians used this passage from Isaiah “…to explain the lack of a positive response to Jesus and his followers from their fellow Jews.” (Miller 21) He rebukes them for not understanding him, and explains his meaning, and that those who accept his word, i.e. his teaching are the ones who will produce the large “crop”. This is also found in Luke 8:4-15 and Matthew 13:1-23. It is also saying 9 of the Gospel of Thomas.
Jesus then speaks of a lamp on a stand, that one does not put it under concealment but lets it shine. He says, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear,” (4:22-23) the last sentence being, judging from all available texts, a favorite saying of Jesus. This is also in Luke 11:33 and perhaps in Matthew 10:26-27. “‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.'” (4:24-25) The Scholars Version translates these verses like such: “…The standard you apply will be the standard applied to you, and then some. In fact, to those who have, more will be given, and from those who don’t have, even what they do have will be taken away!” Mark 4:25 also occurs in the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:29, Luke 19:26) and Matt 13:12, Luke 8:18, Thomas 41. Mark 4:24 also occurs in Matt 7:2 and Luke 6:38.
There is then the parable of the Growing Seed and the Parable of the Mustard Seed, each showing analogies with nature and small beginnings yielding much more in the end. They are both explanations of the nature of the kingdom of God. In the Seed Growing Secretly Jesus used the metaphor of a man planting a seed and then paying it no mind until “As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (29) This is partially in Thomas 21 The mustard seed, says Jesus, is like the kingdom of God because it starts out as the smallest seed and yet “…becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (32) This is in Matthew 13:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. It is also saying 20 of Thomas.
PARABLES OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK AND THEIR PARALLELS
1. THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
• Mark 4:1–20, Matthew 13:3–23, Luke 8:5–15, Thomas 9
2. THE PARABLE OF THE SEED GROWING SECRETLY
• Mark 4:26-29 [unique to Mark]
3. THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED
• Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:31-32, Luke 13:18-19, Thomas 20
4. THE PARABLE OF THE TENANTS
• Mark 12:1-11, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-18, Thomas 65
5. THE PARABLE OF THE BUDDING FIG TREE
• Mark 13:28-32, Matthew 24:32-36, Luke 21:29-33
6. THE PARABLE OF THE FAITHFUL SERVANT
• Mark 13:33-37, Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:35-48, Thomas 21, 103
The parables of Jesus embody much of his fundamental teaching. They are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to yeast (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus’ parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man’s neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus’ death.
Most Bible scholars say that Jesus parables appear only in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). However, if we broaden our view a bit, it seems that Jesus’ three-part story about the sheep, gate, and shepherd in John 10 can also be considered a parable especially as it chronologically falls right after the related parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14.
• France, R. T., The Gospel of Mark : a commentary on the Greek text; The New International Greek Testament Commentary, Eerdmans (c) 2002, ISBN 0-8028-2446-3; pages 220, 226, 241
• Mark 4 NIV Accessed 24 October 2005
• Miller, Robert J.-Editor, The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press, 1994 ISBN 0-06-065587-9
• Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller editor, 1992, translation note to Mark 4:35-41: “…Mark calls this lake the sea, using a word (thalassa) that most Greek writers reserve for the much larger Mediterranean (Luke uses the more proper term for a lake, limne, in Luke 5:1; 8:22-23, 33.