In this week’s Bible text (Mark 4:1-20), Jesus teaches the people using a Parable. It was a farming illustration about planting (sowing) and harvesting (reaping). It is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus often taught this way but it was sometimes hard for the audience to understand His full meaning. Here is what He says about ‘Why He used this method of teaching’:
Mark 4:9-11 - Then he said, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant. He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secret* of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders.
Jesus knew that His teaching would require something from us in order that we might understand. We needed to be able to truly listen. Have you ever been caught ‘partially listening’ to a conversation and then asked ‘Are you listening to me?’ I have…it was embarrassing. Plus, I wasn’t able to truly grasp what was being said or the heart of the speaker.
In order to understand the teachings of Lord Jesus we must truly be listening. We must have ears to hear. Further, we must dig into His teaching. Jesus always meant what He said but there was also always more to what He said. For those who dug further, greater understanding was given. His disciples came to Him after His teaching and asked for further explanation. They sought out the deeper meanings. This is a perfect example of what it means to ‘put our ears on’ and having ‘ears to hear’. They were not content until they had gleaned the full meaning of Jesus’ Word. This is how we should be…digging deeper…asking Him for guidance…sitting at His feet.
We will look at the four illustrations given in this text over the next four days. There is much for us to learn about our own spiritual lives as we do. Put your ears on!