"Response-able" To Respond
Lord, may I “know you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day.”
Read Mark 4:10-20
 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables  so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”  Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?  The farmer sows the word.  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.  Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat does the seed represent in this parable?
Jesus’ parables were not stories that illustrated a preaching point, but sermons demanding a faith response from his listeners. Verse 12 (quoting Isaiah 6:9,10) is one of those “hard sayings” of the Bible. It may seem as if the disciples had been granted an unfair advantage denied to the crowds (11). But it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to capture the tone of voice on the printed page. When God sent Isaiah to a stubbornly unrepentant people, he spoke with irony, but also despair. He yearned for his people to repent, yet realized that they were so hard of heart that they would not. The heart behind the harsh words was hurting and breaking, yet God keeps sending and speaking. The Sower sows without ceasing. Yet Jesus recognizes this same spiritual dullness in those who have rejected the invitation to become insiders in God’s kingdom. Responsibility equals “response-ability.” We are each “response-able” to respond to Jesus, and what Jesus demands is not superficial hearing or shallow acquiescence (16-19), but acceptance leading to obedience (20). “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand” (Mark Twain).
Referring to the quote above, what have you understood from this passage today, and what you will you do to obey?
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to just know Your Word; I want to be someone who readily obeys it, too.
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