What does it mean?
1. Review Mark 4:1-25. What common themes do you notice in these two parables?
2. In verses 26-27, who is the “man”?
3. In verse 27, Jesus says the farmer “sleeps and rises night and day” and “he knows not
how.” What is he trying to emphasize? How does this fit with the parables of the sower
and the lamp?
4. In verse 29, what does the harvest represent and who is harvesting?
5. In verse 31, when Jesus says that the kingdom of God is “like a grain of mustard seed,”
what is Jesus saying the kingdom looks like and will look like later?
6. In verse 32, what does “the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” imply about
7. In verse 33, what does Mark mean when he says “as they were able to hear it”? Does he
mean the ability to listen or the ability to understand? How does this compare to how
Jesus spoke to his disciples?
8. How would you paraphrase the big ideas of verses 26-29 and verses 30-32?
How does it apply?
1. Through our time in these parables, does the concept of hidden or slow growth
encourage you or frustrate you?
2. Does the parable of the mustard seed give us hope that God’s kingdom is and will
advance? How does that impact daily life?
3. Can you think of anyone in your life that you see growing in their understanding of who
God is and growing in their trust of him? Do you know someone that appears to be
struggling in these specific areas? How can you be an encouragement to them?
4. During this advent season, as you reflect on the upcoming celebration of Christmas, how
might the words “hope” and “joy” traditionally impact you? In light of the learnings in
Mark 4, how might these words look different this year?