christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

mark 4, having ears to hear

Read Mark 4 at Bible Gateway.

There are multiple smaller, larger, and overlapping chiastic structures in Mar 4. One that caught my attention today is this:

1a) Mar 4:10, His disciples asked Him about the parable;
1b) Mar 4:11-13, Truths of the kingdom spoken in parables so that they remain hidden;
1c) Mar 4:14-20, The explanation of the parable of the sower and the seed;
1d) Mar 4:21-22, A lamp is put on a lampstand for there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed;
1e) Mar 4:23-24a, If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear, taking heed what you hear;
central axis) Mar 4:24b, With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you;
2e) Mar 4:24c, And to you who hear, more will be given;
2d) Mar 4:25, For whoever has, to him more will be given, but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away;
2c) Mar 4:26-32, The parable of the seed which grows of itself until harvest + mustard seed;
2b) Mar 4:33-34a, And with many such parables He spoke the word to them;
2a) Mar 4:34b, And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

Now why does the Lord want the truths of the kingdom to remain hidden? For He said, once those outside see with perceiving, and hear with understanding, they will turn (repent, turn away from the path of sin and begin walking on the path of righteousness) and their sins will be forgiven them. Isn’t that what the Lord wants? Repentance, and forgiveness?

We might not be wise enough to understand everything just now. But I also note, that following the announcement that the truths of the kingdom are to remain hidden to those outside (1b), He explains the parable of the sower, which is the key to understanding all the parables (Mar 4:13). In the 1c element, He hands us the key which we are to use to unlock the 2c element (more parables concerning seed).

Explanation and understanding, which He gives us in 1c, reveals the truth hidden in 1b. That which reveals, is light — 1d. So hear, if we have ears (1e) — receive the truth which the Lord is teaching us, by the parables of the kingdom. As ground receives seed which is hidden within it, so let our hearts receive the word of truth, and let it be hidden within them.

Pay attention and be careful, what we hear — or what seed we allow to enter our hearts. Words are like seeds. There are two camps speaking two words which our ears can hear. There is the kingdom of heaven speaking the Word of God, the word of truth. And there is the kingdom of darkness speaking the word of satan and the word of lies. One says, forgive. One says, take offense, get mad, and hold a grudge. One kingdom is speaking to our ears, how we may be a blessing to the people in our lives, and how we may self – sacrificially serve the people in our lives, in love. One kingdom is speaking to our ears, how others have wronged us, and fretfulness over not having whatever it is we think we are due.

Pay attention to what we are listening to! Discern between the clean and unclean! Receive the good report and reject the evil report, because Love does not take offense and receive an evil report (1 Cor 13:5)!

For with the same measure we use, it will be measured to us. In other words, Jesus is still explaining the parable of the sower. The sower reaps what he sows! If we would reap Love, then we must sow Love — and love does not take offense and receive an evil report. Whatever we would reap — Respect, Honor, Kindness, Patience — these are the things we must sow. We sow by words, and words proceed from hearts (Luk 6:45). What is coming out of our mouths?

Now the rest, I am not wise enough. But I can see glimpses, at the edge of my brain. My preliminary answer to the first question — why does God want the truths of the kingdom to remain hidden? is that when the time of the harvest comes (2c), the fruit that has been produced will reveal who had ears and received the word of truth, and who rejected it in favor of lies. All of us have the ability to hear! Wisdom is crying aloud in the streets and at the crossroads, not in some obscure corner or far away in a remote location (Pro 8:1-4). It is what we do with what we have heard, that determines our outcomes.


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