The Gospel of Mark Chapter 4, v.21 (take a look at the Reading Tips in right panel -->)
Parable of the Lamp
Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. 22 For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open . . .
. . . and every secret will be brought to light. 23 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 24 Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
Parable of the Growing Seed
26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” 33 Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. 34 In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
Jesus Calms the Storm
35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
About today's contributor . . . Melinda is originally from Haiti. She works in mental health and lives in Brooklyn.
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I’m initially struck by Jesus as a teacher and me as a student. When Jesus asks his first question of whether a lamp would go under a bed or basket, my initial response is, “It depends. Are they trying to look for something under the bed? Are they trying to set mood lighting?” For better or worse, I’m a very literal person. I take things at face value first and so maybe in some ways I could be the most annoying student. So, reading this either makes me feel a little silly or maybe a bit obtuse. When Jesus is talking about things being hidden or revealed, it makes me wonder are you still talking about light, Jesus or are you talking about talents or abilities? I missed the transition. Do we even want these hidden things to be uncovered? I’m wondering if they’re hidden for good reason? When I read that to those who are not listening even what little they have will be taken away, I’m a little worried. Jesus sounds extremely harsh and maybe unwilling to answer my follow-up questions and not like the type of teacher who later, when the crowd is gone, tells his disciples what everything means. I’m a bit overwhelmed by how many sides of Jesus’s personality there are to grapple with here. What do you think? What strikes you about this passage?
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Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
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