Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The word “kingdom,” no doubt, denotes some kind of ruling. To say that we are practicing the kingdom life means that we are under God’s ruling. In this message, however, we shall consider the kingdom of God from a very different point of view.
Let us begin our consideration of the kingdom by asking the following question: What is the gospel? We may say that the gospel is a wonderful Person, a wonderful God-man. The gospel tells us that one day the very God became incarnate. This wonderful One, God incarnate, was the God-man. When He reached the age of thirty, He came forth to preach the gospel. As we pointed out in a previous message, the gospel is the replacement of the entire Old Testament, for it is the fulfillment of the promises, prophecies, and types and it is also the removal of the law. With the coming of the God-man, Jesus Christ, the Old Testament was over. This One is Himself the gospel. The gospel, therefore, is this wonderful God-man.
According to the record of chapter four of the Gospel of Mark, we may say that the gospel is the wonderful God-man coming to sow Himself as a seed of life. This seed of life is conveyed in the Lord’s word. Concerning this, 4:2 and 3 say, “And He taught them many things in parables, and said to them in His teaching: Listen! Behold, the sower went out to sow.” In Greek the word “taught” is in the imperfect tense, indicating repeated action in the past. The word “sower” indicates that the Slave-Savior, who was the Son of God, came to sow Himself as the seed of life in His word (v. 14) into men’s hearts so that He might grow in them, live in them, and be expressed from within them. The seed sown here is the word that proceeded out of the mouth of the Slave-Savior. Hence, His word is the seed, and in this seed is the divine life. Actually, this seed of the divine life is the Lord Himself.
The seed sown in chapter four of Mark is the seed of the gospel. Just as a carnation seed is actually the carnation itself, so the seed of the gospel is the gospel itself. As the God-man, Jesus Christ is the seed of the gospel. When we speak of the seed of the gospel, we mean that this seed is the gospel, just as a carnation seed is a carnation.
In Mark 4 we have the seed of the gospel, or the gospel as a seed. According to 4:3, as the Lord was teaching He was sowing. This sowing was the Slave-Savior’s preaching of the gospel of God that brought in the kingdom of God (1:14-15). It was, as in 4:26, the sowing of this seed of life in the word spoken by the Slave-Savior. This indicates that His gospel service was to sow the divine life into the people whom He served. The growth of this life depends upon the condition of the ones served by Him, with its issue differing according to their various conditions, as portrayed in the parable of the sower (4:1-20).
The Lord Jesus sowed the seed into the human heart. In Mark 4 and Matthew 13 the human heart is likened to soil. Our heart is the field, the soil, into which the Lord Jesus has sown Himself as the seed of life, which is the seed of the gospel. In the parable of the sower, the Lord Jesus is both the Sower and the seed sown. As the Sower, the Lord sows Himself as the seed of life through His word.
In the parable of the sower itself there is no mention of the kingdom of God. For example, in 4:3 the Lord does not say anything about the kingdom; instead, He tells us that the sower went out to sow. Why is there no mention of the kingdom in 4:1-8? The reason is that, although the kingdom of God had drawn near, it had not yet come. But in 4:26 we see that the kingdom had come. This was the reason the Lord could say, “So is the kingdom of God. ” Then in 4:30 the Lord went on to ask, “How shall we liken the kingdom of God?” In the parable of the seed (vv. 26-29) and in the parable of the mustard seed (vv. 30-34) the kingdom of God was there. But in the first parable, the parable of the sower, the kingdom of God had not yet come. As we have seen, in this parable the seed of the kingdom is sown.
When the Lord sowed the seed of the kingdom of God, He sowed Himself into His disciples. Then this seed of the kingdom passed through a process of development within the disciples for three and a half years. As a result, when the day of Pentecost came, the kingdom of God was present with the disciples. The time from the Lord’s coming forth to preach the gospel until the day of Pentecost was less than four years. That was a period of time for the seed sown into the “earth” to grow. The seed continued to grow and develop until the day of Pentecost, when the kingdom was clearly present with Peter and the one hundred twenty.
It is easy to speak concerning the outward aspect of the kingdom. But it is difficult to talk about the kingdom of God in the inner way of life. We need to be impressed with the fact that the kingdom of God is very different from the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is a matter of organization. The kingdom of God is not a matter of organization; rather, the kingdom of God is absolutely a matter of life.
What is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is actually the God-man, Jesus Christ, sown as a seed into His believers. After this seed has been sown into them, it will grow in them and eventually develop into a kingdom.
Jesus Christ is the seed of the kingdom of God, and this seed has been sown into those who believe in Him. Now this seed is growing and developing within the believers. Eventually, this growth and development will have an issue, and the issue will be the kingdom. Then this issue, the kingdom, will bring all the Lord’s believers to reach the goal. This goal also is the kingdom. Chapter four of the Gospel of Mark serves the particular purpose of revealing the kingdom to us in this way.
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