1. Exposition

What function does the parable of Mark 4:1-20 serve in the gospel as a whole?

Mark 4:1–20 (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.

Mark 4:1–20 introduces us to the first parable that Jesus taught. In many ways, this parable serves as an explanation of all the others (Mark 4:21–34). Indeed, Jesus’ question to his disciples in Mark 4:13 suggests that understanding this first parable somehow helps one to unlock the meaning of all of Jesus’ teaching.1,2