The gift of understanding…



Mark 4:10 When (Jesus) was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ ”

Jesus’ disciples asked about his use of parables. In essence they’re asking,
“Why not just come right out and say what you mean instead of using stories (parables) that are sometimes hard to understand?” I agree. Even for someone like me who has spent many years studying the scriptures, there are times when Jesus’ parables are confusing or open to multiple interpretations. So what’s the deal?

In verse 12 Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah to explain. It would seem that not everyone who hears Jesus is intended to understand and respond in faith. Some do (the disciples and followers) and some don’t (Pharisees, skeptics, and the like). Faith is a gift of God’s grace as is the ability to interpret the parables.

The fact that I’m writing this, and you’re reading it, suggests we are among those for whom the gift of faith has been given. For this we should be eternally grateful. That said, I know I have so much to learn. There are many things I don’t yet understand, questions that are hard to answer. Yet the curiosity itself is an indicator that God is at work in me and you.

Lord whatever understanding we possess, whatever desire we have to draw closer to you – is a sign of your grace. Motivate us to respond to your teachings by following your will and your ways. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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