City Church Contributor
Sacred Conversation – Pt. 3
“Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:”
How do you know if someone is really listening to you? Jesus knows.
Mark 4 takes place in the early phase of Jesus’ ministry. Word of His activity is spreading and His popularity is growing. Many people want to come and hear Him teach. He sounded different than all the other rabbis. Make no mistake, on that day by the lake, there were lots of hearers. Lots of interested people. Lots of people checking Him out. But how many were willing to listen?
Jesus gets in a boat, puts out from shore a bit, and makes use of the natural geographical acoustics. We all know how sound travels over water. If you have ever been on a lake at night, you have witnessed how sound can travel great distances. Jesus is in a boat, the people are on the shore and so it forms a natural amphitheater.
Jesus had an ingenious approach to separate those who simply have ears from those who were there to listen: Hetaught in parables.
Why did Jesus teach in parables? Because they are hard to understand and demand careful listening. Sometimes they are kind of complicated. Some are prone to misunderstanding. Parables are not easy to grasp if you are not listening. You must be paying attention. You have to think a little. Parables are hard to get to the bottom of. You can’t casually listen to a parable with Youtube in the background or Netflix on your screen. You can’t truly hear a parable while you are checking out Pintrest. Sometimes you have to study and read and ask questions and study more and pray more to even begin to scratch the surface of what Jesus has taught. But if you truly want to hear Him, that’s what you do.
You have to WANT to hear. You must want to listen. A parable requires us to dig, to tune in, to focus.
Jesus is going to tell a parable that compares someone listening to Him to a seed being sown in the ground. And the different scenarios of listening/response are compared to the different scenarios of seeds falling to the soil. And so, Jesus says “don’t be fooled by this crowd.” Not everyone who is here is truly listening.
What about you? Are you a casual or a concerted listener to Jesus? Is your listening determined or distracted?