And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.
And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” Mark 4:2-12
I’ll let Jesus explain this parable in the next bLOG. Today I will focus on the question asked by his disciples. Based on Jesus’ response, they were not necessarily asking for the meaning behind the parable, but rather why Jesus uses them even if they may be difficult to decipher.
Jesus says that those who have the “ears” to hear will hear. He says that these are people who have been given the “secret” to the kingdom of God. If you don’t have it, you can’t understand it. Seek it.
So what is this “secret?” The Greek word is μυστήριον (musterion), whose definition is just like the way it sounds: “mystery.” It is a mystery or secret understood through the counsel of God through revelation by the Holy Spirit.
This secret is not some special knowledge but instead a special relationship that the power of God can only illuminate. This understanding would play well with the early church that Mark was writing to as they served in a world that seemed to speak a different language. But the biggest key is in that very last statement that seems almost out of sink…
“…lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
In other words, the key to the kingdom is to turn or return to the One who offers forgiveness. Then you will understand the parables. Note: The Greek word here is not the word “repent” but literally means a directional change.
Thank you for the revelation of the Holy Spirit to help us understand that how we function as Christians in the world may be difficult, as it is like we speak a different language. They may hear words like grace, resurrection, redemption, etc., but these words have special meaning for those who have embraced them through your cross, and for those who have not, these are only words.
Please help us to live into this mystery of the Kingdom and use us to share the “secret” with others.
I pray in the name of the Mysterious One who illumines our lives. Amen!
2 thoughts on “Hitchhiker’s bLOG – 2022.01.28”
The difficult word for me is “lest”. At first glance it feels like Jesus wants to prevent the “outsiders” from participating in this mystery. Yet, your interpretation makes it sound more like an invitation to “turn”… perhaps the word should have been “unless”. Particularly in difficult passages, the more I hear alternative words for original language, I find myself more skeptical of translations. I often feel helpless in the face of translations. I guess that is another mystery of God’s. The Babel of language always keeps us guessing.
Do not be discouraged or skeptical. Language is context, and nuance can get lost in translation. That’s why you pay people like The Flying Scotsman and The Hitchhiker the “big bucks” to tease out the mysteries!!