Monday, March 21, 2011

Lent Day 10 - Mark 4:21-34

Listen up! Jesus continues to speak in parables. These parables are connected with the Parable of the Sower by the important command of Jesus to listen. Mark uses the word "listen" 13 times in this chapter. Listening is an important attribute for Christians, especially when the Kingdom of God comes in such hidden and secret ways. Unless we are truly listening we might miss it!

Jesus is uses parables, word pictures, to describe the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom, as we've seen, is coming but in unexpected ways. Said differently the long awaited time of God's harvest is coming to fruition but not like was thought it would happen. Jesus' image of a bush or tree that shade birds comes from Old Testament promises (Ezekiel 17:23; 31:6; Daniel 4:12, 21).
It is easy to read some of these verses from Jesus almost with a tone that suggest His parables were about hiding secrets from the masses. Rather, like the disciples, I think Jesus is inviting us to go deeper, to ask questions, to struggle with His images. Giving us answers merely satisfies our curiosity. Inviting us to a relationship of dependency and maturity however are closer to Jesus' goal of getting us closer to the heart of God.
In such a "noisy" world what steps should we take (are you taking) in order to listen to God? How can we better listen to the needs of those around us?
How might Jesus command to listen connect with the warning and promises we read in vv. 24-25?
What do you think is the significance of Jesus' parable about the farmer sowing seed and yet not knowing how it grows? How does that connect with God's Kingdom?
What about the parable of the mustard seed? What does it say about the growth of God's Kingdom?
How might Jesus' use of parables be helpful for us in evangelism? Or in how we lead others to a deeper faith?

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