Jesus taught the crowds by parables about the various ways that people who hear his message react.
Mark 4:1-25
Another time Jesus began to teach people alongside Lake Galilee. As he was doing that, a very large crowd gathered around him. Because people were jostling him, he got into a boat in the lake so that he could speak to the crowd better. Then he sat in it and began to teach the crowd from the boat. At the same time, the crowd was on the shore close to the lake. Then he taught them many parables. While he was teaching them, he told them this: “Consider well the meaning of this illustration: A man/farmer went out to his field to sow some seeds. As he was scattering them over the soil, some of the seeds fell on the path. Then some birds came and ate those seeds. Other seeds fell on ground where there was not much soil on top of rock. Very soon the seeds sprouted because the sun warmed the moist soil quickly where it was not deep. But after the sun shone on those young plants, they became scorched. Then they withered because they did not have deep roots. As the farmer sowed, other seeds fell on ground that contained roots of thorny plants. The seeds grew, but the thorny plants also grew up and crowded out the good plants. So the plants produced no grain. But as the farmer sowed, other seeds fell on good soil. As a result, they sprouted, they grew well, and then they produced plenty of grain. Some plants bore 30 grains. Some bore 60 grains. Some bore 100 grains.” Then Jesus said, “If you want to understand this [MTY], you should consider carefully what I have just said.”
10  Later, when only the twelve disciples and a few other people were with him, they asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “People have not understood before the new message about how God wants to rule people's lives. It is to you that this is being made known {that I am making this known}. But I tell about this only ◄in parables/figuratively► to those who have not yet invited God to rule their lives. 12 As a result it is true what a prophet has written,
Although they see what I do, they do not perceive what it means [DOU]. Although they hear what I say, they do not understand what it means [DOU]. So they do not ◄repent/turn away from their sinful behavior► in order that they would be forgiven { God would forgive them}.”
13 He also said to them, “◄ I am disappointed that you do not understand this illustration!/Can you not understand this illustration?► [RHQ] If you do not understand this, ◄you will certainly not understand any of the other illustrations!/how will you understand any of the other illustrations?► [RHQ] Nevertheless, I will explain it to you. 14  In the illustration that I told you, the man who sows seeds represents someone who declares God's message [DOU]. 15  Some people are like the path on which some of the seeds fell. When they hear the message, Satan comes at once and causes them to forget what they have heard. 16  Some people are like the ground where the soil was not very deep over rock. When they hear God's message, they immediately accept it with joy. 17 But, because the message does not penetrate deeply [MET] into their hearts/inner beings, they believe it for only a short time. They are like the plants that did not have deep roots. When others treat such people badly or cause them to suffer because they believe, those people who are suffering soon stop believing God's message. 18  Some people are like the soil that had roots of thorny weeds in it. Although those people hear God's message, 19 they desire to be rich, and they desire to own many other things. So they worry only about material things. The result is that they forget God's message and they do not do the things that God wants them to do. 20  But some people are like the good soil. They hear God's message and they accept it and they believe it. Then they do the things that God wants them to do. They are like the good plants that produced 30, 60 or 100 grains.”
21 He also told them another parable, saying, “◄People certainly do not light an oil lamp and then bring it in the house in order that it may be put {someone may put it} under a container or under a bed./Would anyone light an oil lamp and then bring it in the house in order that it may be put {someone may put it} under a container or under a bed?► [RHQ] ◄No, they light it in order that it may be put {someone may put it} in a place where it lights the house. /Wouldn't they light it in order that it may be put {someone may put it} in a place where it lights the house?► [RHQ] 22  Similarly, there are some parts of God's message that people do not know. But he intends that people will understand all the things that they do not know now. 23 If you want to understand this, you should consider carefully what you have just heard.”
24 Then he said to them, “Consider carefully what you hear me say to you, for God will let you understand to the same degree that you consider what I say. He will let you understand even more than that. 25 Those who consider what I say and understand it, God will enable them to understand more. But those who do not consider carefully what I say, they will forget even what they already know.”
Jesus told them two parables to show them how the number of people who will submit to God's rule over their lives will greatly increase.
Mark 4:26-34
26 Jesus also said, “God has the power to change people who let him rule their lives. I will illustrate how that can happen [MET]. A man planted seeds in the ground. 27 Afterwards he slept each night and rose each day without worrying about the seeds. During that time the seeds sprouted and grew in a way that he did not understand, because by itself the soil caused the plants to grow and produce grain. 28 First the stalks appeared. Then the heads appeared. Then the full kernels in the heads appeared. 29 As soon as the grain was ripe he sent people [MTY] to harvest it because it was time to harvest the grain.”
30  Jesus told them another parable. He said, “I will tell you [RHQ] how the number of people whose lives God rules in a new way will continue to grow (OR, each continue to have more and more influence in this world). I hope [RHQ] that this illustration will show this to you. 31  You know what happens to mustard seeds when we plant them. Though mustard seeds are among the smallest of seeds, here in Israel they become large plants. 32 After they are planted, they grow up and become larger than the other garden plants. They put out big branches so that birds are able to make nests in their shade.”
33 Jesus used many such illustrations when he talked to the people about God. If they were able to understand some, he kept telling them more. 34 He always used parables when he spoke to them. But he explained all the illustrations to his own disciples when he was alone with them.
While Jesus and his disciples crossed the sea in a boat and while Jesus slept, a storm arose, so the disciples woke him and he calmed the storm.
Mark 4:35-41
35 On that same day, when the sun was setting, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let's cross over to the opposite side of Lake Galilee in the boat.” 36 So they left the crowd, got in the boat where Jesus already was, and left. Other people went with them in other boats. 37 A strong wind came up and the waves started coming into the boat! The boat was soon nearly full of water! 38 Jesus was in the back part of the boat. He was sleeping, with his head on a cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! ◄You ought to be concerned that we are about to die!/Are you not concerned that we are about to die?► [RHQ]” 39 So Jesus got up and rebuked the wind. Then he said to the lake, “Be quiet! Be still! [DOU]” The wind immediately stopped blowing and then the lake became very calm. 40 He said to the disciples, “◄ I am disappointed that you are afraid like that!/Why are you afraid like that?► [RHQ] Do you not yet believe that I can protect you?” 41 They were very awestruck. They said to one another, “ Not only do the demons obey this man, but even the wind and the waves obey him! “◄What kind of man is he?/This man is not like ordinary people!► [RHQ]”