The Purpose of Jesus' Stories

Mark 4:10-20

by Pastor John

Yesterday we looked at the parable of the sower, and how Jesus left people hanging at the end of the parable.

Today, we see that Jesus explains the parable privately to his disciples. Before we explore Jesus' explanation, what was the purpose?

Jesus tells his disciples that many will hear the parable, but not really receive its message. They will hear an interesting story, but not be moved to respond to the spiritual meaning of that story.

Jesus says that he tells the story as a warning to those who would reject the message about King Jesus. The parable is urging people to hear not just a story, but the consequences of rejecting Jesus as King, and move them towards actively responding to the message.

Jesus' stories are a sharp nudge meant to unsettle people and get them to think about how they are hearing God's message about Jesus.

The sower sows the word, or the Good News of Jesus and God's kingdom.

But how do they hear the message?

For some people, they hear the message but it is snatched up quickly by Satan, so that they never really stop to consider it. For them, hearing the Good News is only cognitive. and never touches their heart or life.

Others hear the news and have a positive emotional reaction to it. They may get excited and begin to turn their life in a new direction, but it eventually fades because it is emotional, and not rooted in truth.

Some hear the word with split hearts. Half of them is in, but the other half is caught up by desires for things that are opposed to the message of Jesus. Eventually, their desires lead them away from Jesus.

But some hear the good news, accept it, and begin to grow. They grow (sometimes slowly) even when it is unpopular to believe in Jesus. They grow even when it is difficult to believe in Jesus.

So it begs the questions:

How are you hearing Jesus and His message?

Are you allowing Jesus to nudge you so that you deeply consider how you are hearing Him and His message?

Prayer: Jesus, help my heart to have good soil that the Gospel of the Kingdom may grow. Help me to orient my life around you. Help me to follow you at all costs. Amen.