I like how the apostle Mark writes about Jesus in this next story… “Again He began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around Him. So He got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was on the shore facing the sea.”
Imagine Mark telling about the details of what he saw – Jesus stepping into the boat, the crowd on the shore facing the sea – just like we would describe some great person or event we encountered – his every movement, where he went, who was there, and what he did.
No matter what your opinion of Jesus, this one person changed the course of history in just 3 years – with little means or status, with words that are wise beyond compare, and we are still talking about it today, over 2000 years later.
Mark 4: 1-9 ~ Parable of the Sower
Again He began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around Him. So He got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was on the shore facing the sea. He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them:
“Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow.As he sowed, this occurred: Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil.When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered.Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop.Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop that increased 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.”
Then He said, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”
Egypt is mostly desert. Only 3% is arable land. 92% of the people are Arab-speaking Egyptians, some who claim to be descendants of the ancient Coptic-speaking people of biblical times. The church there has endured nearly 2000 years of discrimination and persecution, yet the last 20 years has seen an increase. It’s hard to forget the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded on the beach in Egypt a few years ago for refusing to deny Jesus.
Coptic Christians follow the Greek Orthodox Church and are the largest ethno-religious minority in Egypt, making up about 10% of the mostly Muslim population. They are probably more closely related to the original Egyptian civilization than the Muslims. The Apostle Mark first brought Christianity to Egypt soon after Christ’s resurrection, and there was a large and influential Christian movement in Egypt prior to the Arab Muslim conquest in AD 640. Egypt likes to downplay their Christian heritage but the church still survives there, despite many recent bombings, including the Christmas day 2016 bombing in Cairo.
Pray for the church and Christians in Egypt, that they may continue to persevere in this important and historical area of the world.