The Gospel According to St Mark: Mark Chapter Four: Read here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/4?lang=eng
Jesus often taught the multitudes from a ship in the sea, because the greatness of the number of people who flocked to Him.
‘And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables’ (Matthew 4:1-2)
The Parable of the Sower: Read Matthew 4, verses 3 through 9.
‘And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them,
“Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”
‘And he said unto them,
“Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables” (vs. 10-13)?
Can we see that His disciples did not understand the parables without asking the Lord? We can learn from that. How then will we know all parables? The apostles and close disciples were privileged to ask the Lord in person and gain further understanding. (And Mark recorded the Lord’s explanation.) But still our eyes and hearts are only open to greater truths as we gain a desire to know and ask in faith. Today we can approach the Lord in prayer to gain an understanding of those teachings we hear, read, ponder, and study. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can be taught from on high.
Explanation to the Parable of the Sower: Read Matthew 4, verses 14 through 20.
We agree that the souls of all mankind are important and the word is important. Just how important?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Jesus’s last commission before He ascended into heaven was,
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt 28:19-20).
Jesus is the Word, and His gospel is the word that we must plant within ourselves and within our fellowmen. How can we prepare our soil to receive the word and allow it to grow? How can we help to nourish others so that they may come to know Him and not be lost?
Alma also compares the word to a seed:
“Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:28).
So many people feel the Spirit and are excited about the gospel, but they don’t take care of their budding testimonies until true conversion can take root. We need to help each other to make certain that the good seed planted within us is not neglected.
Common verses also found in The Sermon on the Mount: Read verses 21 through 25:
‘And he said unto them,
“Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
‘And he said unto them,
“Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”
How about that? Take heed what we hear. We are supposed to seek truth in the Spirit of Truth. We cannot spend our time searching out false teachers who make us feel satisfied in doing evil. The Lord has told us that if we seek, we shall find. We should be seeking Him and His glory.
‘And he said,
“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (vs. 26-29).
And he said,
“Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.”
‘And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples’ (vs. 30-34).
When we do not understand the word, we should find a place where we can be alone in prayer and ask for understanding. The Spirit will help us gain that portion we are ready to receive. It is okay if we start out with just a particle of faith; that can grow into something large. As we place our faith in Jesus Christ, it can lead us into life eternal.
“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27).
In the concluding verses of this chapter, after the multitudes were sent away, Jesus and His apostles set out for the land on the other side of the sea. While Jesus slept, a storm arose.
‘And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him,
“Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
‘And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
“Peace, be still.”
‘And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
‘And he said unto them,
“Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
‘And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another,
“What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him” (vs. 35-41)?
Does Jesus care if we perish? Certainly. Can He calm the storms in our lives? Most assuredly.