The Parable of Seed Growing Secretly
Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.
Notice that this parable is found only in Mark.
Circle the words, “kingdom of God,” and write near them, “the central theme of Jesus’ teaching.” The kingdom of God is the reign of God. The kingdom of God is anywhere and everywhere that God’s love, justice, and goodness rule.
-And the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. This parable is about the power intrinsic within the seed, the power inherently within the Word of God, within Jesus, within the Bible, the living Word. The Word is alive; it grows. Anything that grows is alive.
Centuries ago, you may assume that farmers from a farming generation would understand how seeds grow, but they did not. The growth of seeds was a miracle even then.
Today, when farmers plants seeds and seed grows, it is still a miracle. Gardeners feel the same way. When we see the seeds sprout and grow in our gardens, we almost always say, “These flowers are miracles.”
So it is with the kingdom of God, the reign of God in our lives. We cannot explain its growth. The growth of love, justice and goodness within an individual or within a society is the result of the power, which is in the seed itself.
The seed growing automatically (Mark 4:26) was written by Martin Luther when he said about this text: “After I preach my sermon on Sunday, when I return home, I drink my little glass of Wittenberg beer and I just let the gospel run its course.”
Luther knew that the power of his sermon was not based on the power of his theological acuity. He knew that the power of his sermon was not based on his eloquence or his abilities. He knew that the power of the sermon would have no effect whatsoever unless the very Word of God got into a person’s heart. Luther knew that he couldn’t do that. It was the Holy Spirit who did that. Luther keenly understood the power of the Word.
Focus on Mark 4:26. The kingdom of God, the way of God, the way that God works is this: “If someone would scatter seed on the ground and sleep and rise night and day and night and day. And then the seed would sprout and grow, but he doesn’t know how it happens. The earth produces of itself. The seed produces of itself.”
Let’s pause. Focus on the two words, “of itself.” That is the Greek word from which we get our English word, “automatically.”
Notice where that Greek word is placed in the sentence, at the very beginning of the sentence. For emphasis, Mark puts it at the beginning of the sentence. Automatically the seed grows.
Automatically the seed grows.
Automatically, the earth produces.
Automatically, the Bible produces.
Automatically, the Word gets inside of us.
There is something inside the word that changes us. It is Jesus inside the Word that gets through to us. Jesus grows in you, just as seeds grow mysteriously and miraculously.
Focus on the reign of God and God’s increasing reign on this earth. The reign of God is when God rules over anything and everything to do with the human race e.g. our intelligence, language, technology, medicine, quality of life, and governance of life. Good homes, good family, good jobs, good education, good science, good medicines, good government are all signs of the reign of God.
Martin Luther called them the “masks of God.” The Presence of God is living behind these masks of good homes, good families, good schools, good hospitals, good jobs, good government.
But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." In all the parables of Jesus, he assumes that there will be an End of human history, which is called "the time of the harvest."
 Collect for Proper 6 Series B, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.