Explaining the seeds on rocky ground (Mk 4:16-4:17)

“These are the seeds sown

On rocky ground.

When they hear

The word,

Immediately,

They receive it

With joy.

But they did not have

Their own roots,

Only temporary ones.

Then,

When trouble

Or persecution

Arises

On account of the word,

Immediately,

They fall away.”

 

καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν,

καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν, εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται.

 

This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, and Luke, chapter 8:13, almost word for word to here.  Mark said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground (καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι) were like the people who heard the word (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον), and immediately received it with joy (εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν).  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς), but only temporary roots (ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν).  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose (εἶτα γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ), because of the word (διὰ τὸν λόγον), they immediately stumbled and fell away (εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται).  Once again, the seeds are the word.  Listening to the word was not enough if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

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