Summary: Three parables of Jesus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


• Parable 1: The Light (vs 21-25)

• Parable No 2: The Growing Seed (vs 26-29)

• Parable No 3: The Mustard Seed (vs 30-34)



• Often on our Camps & Houseparties;

• The young people often want more than the norm when it comes to food and drinks.

• One example is the times of hot drinks, tea, coffee or drinking chocolate,

• They line up get their drinks and head for the sugar;

• Some of the young people will (if given the chance) put five or six sugars in their drinks,

• So we place a leader by the sugar who gives them a reasonable amount,

• When the kids complain about wanting more sugar,

• The leader will tell them to; “stir what they’ve got.”

Many Christians think that they need more to serve the Lord effectively:

• If only we had more musicians,

• If only we had more gifted or younger people,

• If only we had more…you can fill in the blanks!

These parables that Jesus taught say to us, “Stir what you got.”

• The fact is God has given us plenty of resources to serve him well;

• And to serve him effectively.

• I know the task seems overwhelming at times,

• But we really do have everything we need as a church to grow and expand.

• And to make a real difference in the lives of people we encounter here & now.

• In Mark chapter 4 verses 23-34;

• Jesus shows us those resources in three parables,

• These parables are about the expansion of His Kingdom anywhere in this world.

Parable No 1: The Lamp.

• In this parable Jesus used a common object – a lamp;

• He set the story in a very familiar place – a home.


• Parable is like a wrapper on a sweet bar;

• You need to peel off the wrapper to get to the content.

• So the story/parable is the wrapper;

• We need to see the deeper meaning on the inside.


• The lamp that Jesus spoke of was a clay dish filled with oil;

• With a wick put into the oil.

• In order to give light the lamp had to ‘use itself up’;

• And the oil had to be replenished.

• Obviously if the lamp was not lit or if it was covered up;

• Then it did the home no good at all.

• ill: Just as a microwave oven is useless unless it is plugged in;

• So an oil lamp is ineffectual unless it is lit.


• Why would you cover up an oil lamp?

• Surely you would just blow it out and light it when you came home!


• Remember in New Testament times matches had not yet been invented,

• So keeping some things lit was always the most convenient option.


If you went out and the house was empty,

• Then having a naked flame burning was not a good idea,

• It was a fire risk!

• To prevent the flame being a fire hazard;

• What happened was this;

• If you went out and the house was empty,

• You put the lamp was put under a bowl;

• This way the light would not be extinguished;

• And the flame would not be dangerous.

Notice in verse 21-23 Jesus said to them:

“Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?

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.”

• Jesus is reminding his listeners that light is only good when it is not concealed;

• In the home it is ‘put on its stand’.

• Today of course we have a light hanging from the ceiling;

• And often in the centre of the ceiling so that it can illuminate the entire room.

As I read this story it seems clear to me that our resource number one is ‘we have the light’.

Question: What is the light?


• We are not told –but it is probably one of three things.

• And by way of application all three truths could apply.


• This parable seems linked to the one before it and after it;

• The parable of the sower and the parable of the growing seed.

• Those two parables are highlighting ‘seed’ which represents the ‘word of God’.


• Elsewhere in the Bible the ‘word of God’ is referred to as ‘light’.

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