The parable of the soils: This is the third in the series Encounters by the Sea. The gospel of Mark introduces Jesus and His mission with these words: “And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:13-14).
John Wesley was for many years a faithful and orthodox servant of the Church of England. Down in Bristol his friend George Whitefield was preaching to the miners, to as many as twenty thousand of them at a time, in the open air; and his hearers were being converted by the hundred.
He sent for John Wesley. Wesley said, “I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit.”
This whole business of open air preaching rather offended him. He said himself, “I could scarcely reconcile myself at first to this strange way—having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.”
But Wesley saw that field preaching won souls and said, “I cannot argue against a matter of fact.”
In this apocalyptic Mark 4 Jesus begins to teach using parables.
Mark 4:1-3 (ESV) 1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow…