February 12 – Today’s Readings – Mark 4-6 and Psalms 42
Did you ever wonder about the Parables and why Jesus used them so often? One hint is given to us in Mark 4:12 – “so that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!” Sounds confusing doesn’t it? – Almost as if Jesus did not want people to understand the good news and turn to Him.
Now we know that Scripture interprets Scripture and we also know that in the Word, God’s heart for all nations has been plainly revealed from the beginning – just think of John 3:16 as an example. In order to get a clearer view of Mark 4:12, we then need to rely on scholars who have delved into the meanings of words more than we have. Here’s how the passage reads in The Message Paraphrase – “These are people – whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing, whose ears are open but don’t understand a word, who avoid making an about – face and getting forgiven.”
The Amplified Translation of the same verse reads – “In order that they may [indeed] look and look but not see and perceive, and may hear and hear but not grasp and comprehend, lest haply they should turn again, and it [their willful rejection of the truth] should be forgiven them.”
Is it possible that God, who knows the thoughts of people, holds back on certain truth because they are cold-hearted and have rejected His love? When Jesus spoke to the religion-filled, sin-sick world of His time, He used stories to illustrate spiritual truth. Most often when He confronted people directly, it was in dealing with hypocritical religious folk – those who thought they could work or bluff their way to heaven and those who tried to put people under the bondage of heavy religious rules.
Our society is very hard of hearing when confronted directly. This attitude is rather like a teenager putting both hands over their ears, when “mom” is speaking to them, – and yelling “LA LA LA LA LA LA”! Surely there must be a way to get through to this culture of ours. Perhaps instead of confronting the world with all the “deep truths” of the Word, we should be more like Jesus and use a simplistic approach. “Follow Me”, He said to the disciples, and they did. What they didn’t know was that they were embarking on a life-long journey of faith – a journey that would revolutionize their lives and ultimately change the world.
We too need to engage our world by simply following Jesus and letting our light shine. When the Holy Spirit prompts us, we need to be ready to share “the pearls” of God’s truth and make disciples of all nations. The real task at hand is to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit so that we know whom we are speaking to.
1. Tell of another Gospel parable and comment on its meaning.
2. How can share Christ with people by using modern parables?