ARE WE HEARING?
Lord, give me a deeper understanding in the things of God.
Read MARK 4:10–20
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 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 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 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. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 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. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 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. 20 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.”
a Mark 4:12 Isaiah 6:9,10
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“God’s love is like an ocean. You can see its beginning, but not its end.” (Rick Warren)
We may find it strange that the disciples are unable to understand the parable of the sower and ask Jesus about it (10, 13). His citation of Isaiah 6:9 and 10 is even more puzzling. It seems as if He pronounces judgment on those not responding to his message. According to Isaiah 6, after Uzziah died, Isaiah was sent by the Lord to preach to people who would not believe, resulting in exile to a foreign land. In the light of this, these verses from Isaiah are used elsewhere as language of judgment on people whose hearts are hardened and who deliberately reject the message from God (See John 12:40; Acts 28:26, 27). It reminds us that seeing the miracles and hearing the gospel are not enough. Repentance and spiritual understanding must ensue.
In Mark, the quotation from Isaiah 6 could not have come at a more appropriate time. It is found immediately after a series of conflicts in which Jesus is rejected by the religious authorities and by His own family. Is Jesus drawing a parallel between these people and those with hardened hearts during the times of Isaiah? If so, judgment has been levied on those who still refuse to hear the good news, especially the religious authorities. At the same time, could it be that Jesus is also warning us today, challenging us to listen to and understand the message of the kingdom? Will we listen, understand, and respond appropriately to God, or will we allow our hearts to be hardened and refuse to obey God’s Word?
“O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I knowthee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day” (Richard of Chichester, 1197–1253).
Lord, cause me to be good ground on which to receive the Word, so that I can please you with my personal harvest results.
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