Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Devotional: Hearing Jesus, Mark 4.1-25

Mark 4.1-25 outline

Jesus’ two parables, The Soils/Sower and The Lampstand, illustrate the kind of response that Jesus expects to his teaching and Kingdom gospel. The Soils parable teaches that Jesus expects a wholehearted response, “hear,” “accept,” and “bear fruit,” (Mark 4.20 ESV) in which the hearer meditates on what is said and the implications of the teaching for one’s daily life, believes it and commits to following it and then acts according to it. Jesus promises that this kind of response will accomplish the goals of the kingdom (“bear fruit”) in the believer’s life (conformity to Christ) and for the world (its restoration). The lampstand parable illustrates the need for open, committed response to his kingdom message so that all the world can see. The Spirit of God takes the word of God (see John 14-16, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) and progressively produces the likeness of God/Christ in the believer, whose witness becomes God’s means to transform the world.

The poor soils and the lampstand under the bed represent bad hearing of the kingdom gospel. Those who hear without commitment (along the path), or accept the word only for self-benefit (rocky soil) or just incorporate the word as one option to add the other commitments in their lives (thorny soil), or accept it privately without being willing to openly apply it before the world (lamp under the bed) will not accomplish the goals of the kingdom. This is a little scary because all of us have sometimes listened to the word in these ways. If salvation were dependent on how well we hear we’d all be in trouble. The good news is that Jesus’ faithfulness to his message has been applied to us and plows, fertilizes, and prepares us to become the good soil. We receive this by faith as we come to Christ and then each day as we “hear” we become more and more like the good, fruitful soil. The more we listen to Jesus the better we get at really “hearing him.” (verses 24-25)

So the next time you hear a sermon, study the Bible, or participate in Christian fellowship take the time to really hear." Meditate on the word and its implications for your life so that when you see and hear you will really understand. Take time to listen to the Spirit so that he can “make manifest the hidden” and bring your “secret things to the light.” (v. 22). Then, don’t ever walk away from the Word without committing to apply it to something specific in your life. Hearing the word without application makes one insensitive to it, while hearing the word with conscious commitment and application produces that intimate connection that brings the hearer into the ongoing conversation within the Trinity (Romans 8.26-27). Do you have “ears to hear?” Use them!

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