Mark 4 sees Jesus introducing parables as a means of instruction concerning the Kingdom of God. In the earlier chapters he had used a series of miracles of healing as a witness as to who he was, but now we are shown a new aspect to his teaching. The people had been amazed at what they had seen, and they seemed to recognise that the miracles he performed were done through the power of God (Mark 1:27 , Mark 2:12). The result was that large numbers of people were drawn to hear him (Mark 4:1).
After reading the parables in this chapter there was some discussion about how difficult it must have been for the people to understand them, and we all felt sympathy for them as we often have the same problem. The disciples had left their everyday jobs to follow Jesus, and some were fishermen who would perhaps struggle with the parable of the sower, and other parables involving farming ( Mark 4:3-8, and Mark 4:26-37). When the crowds had left, Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to the disciples (see Mark 4:10 and verses Mark 4:33-34).
At the end of the chapter, from Mark 4:37, we read of Jesus calming the storm. It must have been quite terrifying for the disciples, but Jesus was clearly disappointed that even after witnessing all the miracles that he had done they still showed such little faith in him (Mark 4:40). It almost seems that their fear of the storm was equalled by their fear as to what manner of man Jesus was (Mark 4:41).
The wonder of the Bible was evident again at our reading group, for no matter how many times it is read there is always something new to learn.