Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lenten Devotional: Day Eight, Thursday Feb 14th "Hearing and Seeing"

Gospel Reading: Mark 4-5
Devotional Emphasis: Mark 4:24 “Consider carefully what you hear. With the measure you use it, it will be measured to you- and even more.”

Today’s reading in Mark begins with the parable of the sower in which Jesus tells of the sower planting seeds in different types of soil: some seed was on the path and was eaten by birds, some on rocky soil and was burnt up, some on thorns and was chocked out, but others fell on good soil and produced fruit. Jesus explains that this is what happens when his message is preached, some never hear or understand it, but some do get it and produce fruit. In some ways the stories we read about beginning in chapter five show how this works in the lives of the people Jesus encountered. The Demon possessed man on seeing what Jesus did for him believed while those around him didn’t. Jairus believed, but others with him laughed at Jesus, but his daughter was healed. The woman with bleeding believed took bold moves just to touch Jesus and was healed.

Jesus explains why he teaches in parables by quoting from Isaiah, so that persons will be ever seeing, but never perceiving, ever hearing, but never understanding because if they were, they might turn and be forgiven. This is a difficult teaching from Jesus because it makes it appear that Jesus is saying that if he would talk in plain Aramaic or Hebrew, the people may actually understand him and repent. However, because he uses these parables, it is like secrete code causing the people to be ignorant. After explaining the meaning of the sower parable to the disciples because even they did not understand it, he asks them if they hide their lamps under a bowl or the bed. Of coarse the answer is no. In the same way Jesus says, the thing that were meant to be hidden are now coming to light and the things that were concealed are now being opened. What is the meaning of this?

I think Jesus is saying that he uses parables because he wants to make things that have been hidden come to light. People should be able to understand what Jesus is saying. However, Jesus is also saying that people have to WANT to understand and they have to LISTEN to his words and they have to USE what he is saying. If they do, they will receive more knowledge. If not, they will loose what they get. The reason people will hear and not understand is because they do not really want to understand. Sometimes we can be so closed minded to what others say because we think we have all the answers that we miss out of the truth that is right before us. That was what happened to those who opposed Jesus and that happens to us. When we listen and use what we hear from God, we will then gain more insight.

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