He (Jesus) began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables …. As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” Mark 4:1-2A, 10-12
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Large crowds coming to listen to Jesus were a regular thing throughout his public ministry in the region of Galilee. Picture people every day coming to check Jesus out while others leave having already checked him out. Simon, Andrew, James, John, and Levi started following Jesus near the beginning of his public ministry. It is likely that they all came to check Jesus out and then went back to their nets and tax collecting, respectively. Wonderfully, Jesus sought them out and called them to come and follow him, which they did. Then additional others who did more than just come and check Jesus out and then return home, were drawn to him and stayed and followed along with him, too.
It was from this group of followers that Jesus selected his inner-circle of followers including the twelve he appointed as apostles (the twelve apostles include the five he called to follow him early on). Now that the ministry of building a team has been added to his ministry of preaching the gospel, healing the sick, and delivering those with unclean spirits, Jesus begins speaking to the crowds only in parables. When the inner-circle of Jesus asked him about the parables, he said this, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.”
The majority of people who make up the crowds are those who come to check out Jesus and then return home. Some are the opposing religious leaders and their cronies. Then there are those who are drawn to him for more than what he might do for them and who have a budding desire to stay and follow along with him. It seems that it is to those who stay and follow him and are with him apart from the crowds, that Jesus explains his parables and reveals the mystery of the kingdom of God. Once again, we need to let the reality that we are in Jesus’ inner-circle as redeemed followers of Christ today settle deep into our souls. Through his written Word and in the sanctuary of personal prayer, we learn from Jesus all about his kingdom and what it means for us to be a part of it today.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for allowing me to be one to whom you have “given the mystery of the kingdom of God.” Through your written Word and through my prayer relationship with you, speak into my heart and mind and open up to me more fully than ever before the mystery of your kingdom. I want to live fully for you and your kingdom and I know that you will graciously bring it about. I give to you my love, worship, and surrender. Amen!
Posted on Mon, January 21, 2019
by Ken Hart