Marcus: Chapter 4

Again he begins to teach beside the lake. A huge crowd is drawn to him, so that he boards a boat and is seated on the lake. All the crowd is on the land by the lake. He teaches them by many analogies, and says to them in his teaching:

— Listen! [Once] there was a sower who went out to sow. It happened in his sowing that some fell by the way, and birds came and ate them. Others fell on rocks where there was not much earth, and then sprang up, having no deep earth. Then the sun rose, and they were burned, having no roots, and whithered. And others fell into thorns, and the thorns rose up and stifled [them], and [they] gave no produce. But others fell on good earth, and bore fruit, growing and increasing, and bore thirty- and sixty- and a hundred-fold.

Whoever has ears to hear, listen.

When he is by himself, those around him, with the Twelve, ask about the analogy. He says to them — To you has been given the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to those [on the] outside all comes by analogy, so that looking, they look and do not see; hearing, they hear and do not listen; or they [would] turn and be acquitted. You do not recognize this analogy? How will you be made to understand any of them?

The sower sows the Idea. These are [those] by the road where the Idea is sown, and when they hear, then comes the Accuser and takes away the Idea that was sown in them. And these likewise are those sown on rocks, who when they hear the Idea, then grasp it with joy; however, having no roots in themselves, they are ephemeral. Come pressure or scrutiny because of the Idea, they founder. And others are those sown in the thorns; these are those who hear the Idea, but the cares of the Æon, and the deception of wealth, and ambition for the rest, enter in and stifle the Idea, and they become unfruitful. But those are they who are sown on good earth, who hear the Idea and receive it, and bear fruit, thirty- and sixty- and a hundred-fold.

— Why, he says to them, would a lamp be brought to place under a basket or under a bed, and not put on a stand? Nothing is hidden but to be revealed; neither became anything secret but to become apparent. If anyone has ears to hear, listen.

And he says to them — Watch [out] what you hear. In what measure you measure it will be measured and given to you. For to [those] who have, it will be given; from [those] who do not have, it will be taken away.

— The kingdom of God, he says, is as if a person casts a seed upon the earth, and sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, all unnoticed. By itself the earth bears fruit, first the husk, then the ear, then the grain filling the ear. When the grain is firm, then one sends out the scythe, because the harvest is ready.

— To what, he says, shall we compare the kingdom of God, and by what analogy shall we illuminate it? Like a mustard seed, which when sown on the earth is smaller than all the seeds on the earth, [but] when sown rises up and becomes greater than all the [other] herbs, and grows branches so great that all the birds of the sky can roost in its shade.

In many analogies like this he tells them the Idea, so they can hear. He does not speak to them except in analogies, but by himself to his own students he unravels everything.

That day, come evening, he says to them — Let us go across to the other side. He dismisses the crowd, and they retrieve him so he is in the boat, and other boats are with him. There comes a great windstorm, and the swells are breaking in the boat; it is heavily loaded. He is in the stern, sleeping on a pillow. They wake him — Teacher, does it not worry you that we are being destroyed?

He wakes, and scolds the wind, and says to the lake — Quiet, shut up! The wind weakens, and [there] comes a great calm. He says to them — What cowards! Do you not yet trust?

They fear a great fear, and say amongst themselves — Who is this, whom the wind and the lake obey?