Pt. 10: Big Picture Parables

4:21-34 [NASB 1995]

Four Parables about Big Picture Principles

2 about God’s Word, 2 about The Kingdom of God

As disciples of Jesus Christ we do well to grasp and live by these principles

As context we keep in mind what Christ said about the 1st parable He told

Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? ~  Mark 4:13

That was regarding the way God’s Word works in different people’s lives

These parables continue to teach us about who God is and How He operates…

God wants to transform us by the renewing of our minds

In order for us to walk closely with Him we need to understand Him

If you are a disciple of Christ, ask God’s Spirt in you for insight into His meaning

21 And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

  • This parable come right after the previous on the nature of God’s Word
  • This is a continuation of teaching about ‘God’s Word’
  • The purpose of light: make things more visible; light enables us to see better
  • God’s Word, [His revealed will & ways] gives us the ability to see more clearly
  • God’s Word combined the The Holy Spirit’s Illumination reveals all truth
  • If God enables you to understand this then ACT ON IT!

24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

  • The difference between the idea of hearing and the idea of listening
  • Again this parable has an understood context that it is about God’s Word
  • The more you live based on God’s Word the more it will be revealed to you
  • There is no middle ground here, seek and get more or don’t and get ZERO!

26 And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. 28 The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

  • God’s Kingdom operates on principals that can’t be explained by our senses
  • We have learn a lot about our natural world, yet we don’t know everything
  • The farmer doesn’t understand it all but he trusts it
  • But when we do know from experience it is time to act, we should not hesitate
  • He knows his role in the process and he plays that role

30 And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”

  • ‘How might I describe the Kingdom of God?’
  • The mustard seed appears to be part of something small, based on our senses
  • Yet in ways we can’t comprehend it becomes part of something massive
  • It grows to become support for other things; an unlikely foundation 

33 With many such parables He was speaking ‘The Word’ to them, so far as they were able to hear it; 34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.

  • The Word, God’s Word is communicated by Christ through examples / parables
  • The crowd understood them to varying degrees…[w/ Holy Spirit Illumination]
  • To the Disciples: Personal Jesus Illumination! [this is what it means to ‘walk’]
  • Christ reveals things to His disciples that not everyone gets to understand 
  • This right here, right now is that sort of debrief, as we gather, HE is among us!


Parable #1: A lamp is ‘God’s Word’ being revealed / illuminated to people, explaining reality about God or to show what the truth is about something. 

God’s influence in our lives is light: There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  ~  John 1:9

Parable #2: What you listen to is a reflection of what you value. The way you value God’s Word is proportional to how much understanding of it will be given to you. Abundance will be multiplied and lack of will become total.

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”  ~  Matthew 25:29

Parable #3: A foundational principle of God’s Kingdom is that HE makes all the growth happen that is necessary to enter into the Kingdom and harvests [saves] those who become ready. WE get to participate in the harvest: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”  ~  Matthew 9:37&38

Parable #4: The mustard seed represents the otherworldly nature of the Kingdom of God. What can seem insignificant to our senses can be used by God to become so important it supports other things.  ~  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  ~  Matthew 19:26

Jesus’ words to the general population are unexplained parables, to many they are without meaning. God allows Christ’s disciples to understand the spiritual significance of His parables. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”   ~  Matthew 11:15


What specific parts of YOUR LIFE could use some of God’s light shined on them?

What actions can YOU take to honor God’s Word and treat it as more valuable than you currently do?

What are some ways YOU can make yourself more available to join God in His work going on around you?

What resources can YOU use to evaluate what is valuable based on God’s point of view?

What are some ways YOU can be actively grateful for the spiritual understanding God has given you?