Mark 4:10, 13 “And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables . . . And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?’”

As was often Jesus’ approach to the questions of his apostles, He answered them with his own questions – questions that made them think, rather than just answering them directly.  Likewise, the Lord would have us use the minds He has given us to think about and meditate on the things He has said.  It is in that meditation that He often opens the minds of believers to His truth. 

Scripture implores us to “meditate on his Word day and night” (Psalm 1:2, Joshua 1:8).  In other words, the Scriptures are not meant to be read as one might read the newspaper or a good novel, i.e., reading a section than moving on to the next.  Rather, they are to be read verse by verse and revolved in the mind, thinking about each part.   It is in this process that God has ordained to bless us by opening our hearts to His truth. He doesn’t “cast his pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6), i.e., provide the precious treasures of His Word, which are “more precious than gold” (Psalm 19:10) to those who see no value in them, to their loss. 

In Jesus’ answer to the apostles’ question in Mark 4 above, he asks “Don’t you understand this parable?  How then will you understand all the parables?”  He said this because this parable was a parable about understanding and responding to His Word. In this parable, Jesus talks about a farmer sowing seed. The seed is the Word of God.  The soils the seed falls on are the different receptivities of the hearts of men.  On three types of soil, i.e., the majority, the seed has absolutely no long-term effect.  Some people, those characterized as “along the path,” get absolutely nothing from the Word. They don’t really listen to it with attention, and quickly forget what they have heard. The rocky soil represents those who get excited when they first hear the Word, but because they have no root, i.e., only a superficial interest, when the heat of the sun (trials) come into their life, they lean on other things for support, because, incredibly, they don’t really trust God’s perfect and eternal Word. The “thorny ground” represents those who hear the Word, but “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.”  Finally, there is the “good soil,” which represents those “who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.” 

So what about us?  Are we interested in a fruitful life that glorifies God and results in us hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Master” when we meet the Lord at the end of our life (Matthew 25)?  Or will we hear “You wicked and slothful servant! . . .  Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  It is our receptiveness to God’s Word, the “seed” of Jesus parable in Mark 4, that will determine this.

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