2019-10-20 – Mark 4 – Parables Explained
Bible Text: Mark 4 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2019-10-20 – Mark 4 – Parables Explained
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
I got a call from Quentin’s Mom this past Tuesday asking for prayer for him. He is in Basic Training and she missed him and wished for us to be praying for him.
I remember when my brother Jim went into the Army, he didn’t want my mom to miss him, so came up with a great idea. He rigged up a little LED red light, and wrapped six batteries up in electrical tape. He then got my moms antique wooden ice-cream maker off the top cabinet in the kitchen and drilled a little hole along the top edge of it, and put the led light in the hole. Then every couple of minutes that little LED light would blink once. He told my mom that whenever she saw that light to think of him. That light lasted for about three years and it was a wonderful comfort and blessing to my momma. In our message today we are going to see how Jesus truly is the light of the world. And like my brothers light, God wants His light to be a blessing to us as well.
Last week we learned in scripture where Jesus was put on the spot. His own family was calling Him crazy and the religious authorities were saying He was possessed by the devil. Then Jesus introduced a parable to explain His actions. He said “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. Jesus was so wise, and He used parables throughout His ministry. We are going to talk about this thing called Parables and hopefully learn why Jesus used parables in His teaching ministry.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 4.10, pew Bibles pg. 890 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
I will remind you that in this Gospel of book of Mark, as well as the other books of Matthew, Luke and John, Jesus’s biography, His life and ministry are written about. If you want to get started reading the Bible, this this is a great place to start. At this point in our reading, Jesus had presented Himself as being the Savior that the Jewish folk had been waiting for. And He wasn’t just telling them, He was showing His deity by healing many people and expelling many demons right before their eyes. Again, Jesus had used in the last verses we read this thing called a parable. And that is the subject of todays message called Parables Explained. Verse 10 reads:
10 When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables 12 so that
they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back and be forgiven.”
In your Bibles, you may find that there is a little note attached to that last quote. That note is pointing us to Isaiah 6:9 & 10. Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah which was written about a thousand years before Jesus was born, and it foretells that the Savior/Messiah will speak in this manner of parables, and for a specific purpose. Therefore Jesus, by speaking parables is satisfying Isaiah’s prophesy as to what the character of the Messiah will be like. This is a great example for us here today. I am not suggesting that you speak in parables, but like Jesus did here we should do also. We should be quoting scripture. And the only way you will be able to quote scripture is to first know scripture. And the only way we can know scripture is if we spend time with it and read it.
As it is now translated, the prophet Isaiah said, “Go and tell this people: “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
So Jesus is telling them, and effectively us today, by quoting Isaiah the prophet, that He is the person and the prophet Isaiah was speaking about, that would speak to the people in parables. Interesting to know that the verse in Isaiah right before this quote, verse 8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Jesus is the person saying “Here Am I. Send me!” And with that we can know that He is surely the Great I AM in the flesh.
The Jewish people back then memorized, recited and sang Isaiah’s prophesy. That’s what they did for fun. They made songs of these sayings, most every good Jew knew Isaiah’s prophesy. So when Jesus used this quote, immediately I would argue, they knew that He was professing again that He was the Great Prophet, in fact He was claiming to be the Great I AM, God in the flesh.
I bet the Pharisees at this point were fuming. They already said they were contemplating how to murder Jesus, and this I am sure just added more fuel to their fire. At this point, Jesus the teacher, who had previously given a parable to the crowd, now pulled His twelve apostles aside and was giving them a personal teaching lesson. How would you like a personal life lesson taught by the Son of God? Wouldn’t that be Awesome! Jesus told them in verse 11 here, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you”. Wow, oh how I would love to have those lesson notes, but of course we do.. right here in our Bibles J
Back to Mark 4, jumping a few verses ahead, Jesus, in teaching them about parables, and He gives them a parable about parables. Verse 21 says:
21 He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”
Last I checked, you all have ears so I think He is talking to us here in these passages J Again, this is a parable about parables. Jesus is answering the question and teaching them and us today why He chooses to teach in parables.
Parables can be challenging to figure out. But God’s Word is intended to confound the unbeliever, but for those that seek Him and call Him their Lord, He reveals His heart and purpose, His light, in these parables. And when God opens our minds to His Word, He doesn’t intend for us to keep it to ourselves. The lamp here in this parable is God’s Word. Its meaning was first hidden from the apostles and from us too before we accepted Christ as our Savior. And since the Holy Spirit or Counselor is gifted to us as believers, we now have the ability to understand better God’s Word. God gave us His Holy Word so that we might have confidence in Him and therefore strengthen our faith. He desires for us now to be digging deep in it, and by doing so, other scripture will start making more sense to us as well. I can’t tell you how many times while reading scripture over, I come to those “oh now I get it” moments.
King David wrote in PSALM 119:104, “I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. Ain’t that the truth! God’s Word is truly a light to my path, Amen?
I have something here to show you as an illustration; my super flashlight. I call it a super flashlight because it is super; 600 Lumens, enough light even to blind an attacker if necessary for a few seconds. Lights can be a wonderful tool indeed, but what good is all those 600 Lumens if I switch it on, then stick it in my pocket? Not much good at all. God wants His Holy Light, His Holy Spirit and His Holy Word to be revealed to us. We are His children, and He desires to teach us His wisdom through His Word. Welcome into God’s light dear Christian. Let us now dig deep and learn together, Amen?
24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. 25 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
I find these passages very revealing. This verse reminds me of the other Parable of the Talents. Where a wealthy master gave some moneys (talents) to three of his men. Two of them invested well and they were rewarded with more. One didn’t do anything with his money, in fact he buried it, and he was subsequently punished for doing so. God intends for us to invest wisely all His gifts and resources.
These verses here indicate that God rewards those who invests in His Word. Those who dig deep in His Word, bathes in His Word, marinates their soul in His Word and then uses it will be rewarded. Again it says “By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you”. Wisdom and understanding of God’s Word and of God Will and Person will be our reward. But it also gives us a warning, if we do not cherish and use God’s Word then that same wisdom will be taken away from you. Don’t get me wrong, we are supposed to live by faith, but Jesus also said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Our Bible is God’s Holy Word, and He wants you to cherish it. Not once in a while, not only when it is convenient, but as a Christian, we need to not let the dust gather on our Bibles.
33 He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
So what is a parable? A parable is literally, something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. His parables were generally teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies or inspired comparisons. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
A parable is a story told to illustrate a truth. Jesus told many parables; in fact, at least for a time in His ministry, Jesus relied heavily on story-telling parables. As some count, Jesus told 30 some parables all together, but if you include the Old Testament and particularly Proverbs, then there are hundreds written in our Bible. For me, I have seen it as a great way for learning and remembering God’s lessons for life. I pray you will learn to love all of God’s Word, and especially those that Jesus spoke Himself, as they are truly precious indeed.
So what is your favorite parable? I would love to know and perhaps you will share with me one day. We will be going over some of those parables in the coming weeks. I always enjoy preaching the parables, and I hope you will enjoy them too
So the overall theme of this message today is about parables, but more specifically how Jesus used parables to shed His light onto the world. Jesus is the light of the world, however, just like my “super flashlight” has a discrete beam, unless you are in that light you will not be found. Jesus doesn’t force anyone to come into His light, but He makes His light known to us and offers His light to all. Jesus wants you to come into His light, and by doing so more will be added onto you. His true and blessed light brings true and blessed life. And as His children, we should be reflecting His light to the rest of the world. [SLIDE]
I found this same parable also written in Matthew 5:14, Jesus said “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven”.
Just like my brothers little red LED light was a blessing to my mom, God wants His light that is reflected on you, to be a blessing to the world at large as well.
Now we are going to close with an older contemporary praise song entitled Light of the World and I hope you will sing with me? My prayer is that it might motivate you to take a step in faith, which is God’s will for you this morning. Please Stand.