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Monday, June 21, 2010

6/21/10- Mark 4:1-9 Having Ears to Hear- Parable of the Sower part 1

1 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: 3 "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times."
9 Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." (Mark 4:1-9)

(Mount of Sermon on the Mount- imagining Jesus teaching from a boat in the Sea of Galilee below)

Thoughts: Jesus taught actually on the Sea of Galilee because the crowds were so large.  The Sea of Galilee on the Capernaum side (where Jesus lived during his ministry) was in the shape of a bowl- so it was a natural amphitheater.  Preaching from a boat allowed some distance for his sound to get out and for people to hear. 
At this point in his ministry, he was seeing different levels of committment and knew that this differentiation would continue in the future.  So he described the differences in people by the differences in another living thing that the people dealt with daily- plants.  Jesus was the newest thing- and many came to hear him, but many would fall away.
As I have said many times, many are falling away in America today.  There are many causes.  Some of it is found in the Church- professors in our seminaries who will not combine faith with academics; preachers who take their own ideas and the trendy ideas of today more seriously than scripture; rampant temptation and a lack of shame about sexual immorality, drugs, and breaking the Sabbath; a blanket of secularism that tries to silence prayer and any talk about God- lest someone be offended (whether God is offended or not does not seem to matter).  One of my travelling companions (Bill Gregory) noted that in Israel people were not embarrassed to talk about God- He was so much a part of their lives. 

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to have ears to hear and a heart that will respond.  Deliver me from the temptations that would kill my love for you.

John Calvin abridged: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  These words partially show that all are not endowed with true understanding to comprehend what Jesus said, and partially to arouse his disciples to listen attentively to the teaching that is not readily and easily understood by all.  He makes a distinction between his hearers that some have ears and others are deaf.  Other passages show that it is the Lord who pierces the ears (Psalm 40:7) and that no one obtains or accomplishes this by their own efforts.

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