Mark 4. Why is Jesus speaking these parables the way He is? This text is introducing us to the nature of Jesus teaching. He teaches through illustrations and parables, ways they can understand. The parables are about the gospel, the good news. The nature of parables is they have to be interpreted and people, like the scribes and Pharisees, can choose to not understand.
We can see ourselves in the disciples, as they struggle to understand and find the answers. This should give us hope as we struggle to understand and continue to learn.
The Word is constant in a world of variables. The secret is out. The idea of mystery in scripture is that it is known, it’s been revealed. The nature of the secret is the joy in knowing it’s been made known. The joy of a Jesus message is that everyone is going to hear.
The parable of the sower is not about just throwing seed everywhere. The hardest part is the preparation of the soil. We can get to know someone. The message of this parable is that hearts matter in this process of sowing and reaping. The soil has to be receptive for the seed to work.
How do you create a path in a garden and why is it there? Maybe you use a tiller or you walk through the garden. When you sow that seed, it will sometimes fall on the path, where it doesn’t take hold. But there is a place where it can germinate and grow, a place you have prepared. We can establish relationships with people and prepare them to be receptive.
The seed thrives in good soil. We’ve seen people’s hearts change and become more receptive to the Word. The Word hasn’t changed, they have. We’ve also seen the opposite - people turn off due to the cares of the world.
Humble hearts have ears to hear, verse 9 & 23. This text is for us. It is not just about evangelism, about those we run into. It is about us. Are we listening to this message? Are we on the inside? What am I doing to prepare my heart to be receptive? Or, from another viewpoint, where am I bearing fruit? Specifically.
Converting someone is not the only way to bear fruit. So what areas of my life prove that I am hearing the Word and I am producing something as a result?
It’s easy to see Mark 4 as an evangelism passage, which it is. More complex is to see ourselves in this passage. What are we doing to prepare our own hearts?
He says in verse 23, you who have ears to hear, let him hear. You have to put something into it. If you put no effort in it, you will get nothing out of it. I better be willing to hear the words of the text and apply them to my life.