away from the shore: See study note on Mt 13:2.
illustrations: See study note on Mt 13:3.
Look!: See study note on Mr 1:2.
on rocky ground: See study note on Mt 13:5.
among the thorns: See study note on Mt 13:7.
Let the one who has ears to listen, listen: Before telling the illustration of the sower, Jesus said: “Listen.” (Mr 4:3) He concludes the illustration with this exhortation, emphasizing how important it is for his followers to heed his counsel carefully. Similar exhortations can be found at Mt 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mr 4:23; Lu 8:8; 14:35; Re 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9.
system of things: See study note on Mt 13:22.
A lamp: See study note on Mt 5:15.
a basket: See study note on Mt 5:15.
With the measure that you are measuring out: The context of verses 23 to 25 indicates that if the disciples measure out little interest and attention, they cannot expect to get much from Jesus’ teaching. But if they give him their fullest measure of attention, he will respond by giving them information and enlightenment beyond their expectations. Thus they will be enriched and better able to impart understanding to others. In his generosity, Jesus will favor them with more than they expected.
In this way the Kingdom of God is just as when a man casts seeds: Mark is the only Gospel writer to record the illustration found in verses 26 to 29.
mustard grain: See study note on Mt 13:31.
the tiniest of all the seeds: See study note on Mt 13:32.
the other shore: See study note on Mt 8:18.
a great violent windstorm: This expression renders three Greek words that could literally be translated “a great hurricane of wind.” (See study note on Mt 8:24.) Mark was not present, so his vivid description of the windstorm and the other details mentioned in this account may indicate that he obtained the information from Peter.—Regarding Peter’s influence on Mark’s Gospel, see “Introduction to Mark.”
the pillow: Or “the cushion.” This is the only place where this word appears in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The use of the definite article in Greek may suggest that the pillow was part of the boat’s equipment. It may have been a sack of sand kept as ballast beneath the stern deck, a leather-covered seat for the helmsman, or a fleece or cushion on which an oarsman could sit.