Daily Devotion Monday, July 22

Monday, July 22, 2013 – Psalm 9; 1 Samuel 24:1-22; Acts 13:44-52 and Mark 4:1-20

Mark 4:1-20 – 1Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3“Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” 9And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Yesterday, I began teaching a class on the parables. I have always enjoyed the parables of Jesus. They seem to simply draw you in the way a good story does. In the class yesterday I shared; “A parable does not so much convey a finished truth as it precipitates an experience and opens up into a highly personal search.” (Step by Step Through the Parables – a beginners guide to the stories Jesus told – their meaning in his time and ours by John W. Miller)

Here’s what I find to be true about Jesus’ parables, each time they speak an eternal truth to me in a little bit different way. Such as; at times I can see in my own life when God’s word came to me and my path was so hard that I received it but it quickly went away. At other times I can sense how God’s word came to me and it did produce a harvest thirty, sixty or a hundred fold.

What I invite you to do today is hear this parable as if Jesus were saying it in your presence. Jesus saying this parable to you. What jumps out at you? What’s it calling you to this day?  Read it aloud so you hear it as well as read it. One of the things I sensed as I did just that is Jesus’ sorrow that so many would hear but not listen. And how he smiled as he said; “Other seed fell into good soil”.

Here’s an aspect of our readings today that I struggle with;

10When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that
‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
                                                  Mark 4:10-12

Ouch! I struggle with these words of Jesus because it seems to be saying there are insiders and outsiders. It seems that the secrets of the Kingdom of God would be revealed to some and not others. My sense is that Jesus came for all but not all would hear, not because God did not want them to hear but they had shut their ears to God’s message given in Jesus Christ. I believe many of the Jews of Jesus’ day found him to be a threat and thus sought to have him killed. Others were too busy with life that they would not listen. This isn’t much different than our own day.

I also struggle with these words of Jesus for at times I indeed hear, but do not understand.

O Lord, thanks be to you for your parables which spoke to people in your day and speaks to us today. May you open up our ears and heart and mind so that we can hear, understand and follow you. Thanks be to you, O God for your word unto us this day. Amen.

Psalm 9 – I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

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