God’s Word for You
Mark 4:9-12 The Sower - Part 2
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, March 12, 2022
9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”
This is no different than saying, “Use your ears,” but Jesus also means, “Trust my words.” His words create faith and give life. The whole Bible is God’s revelation to mankind for three purposes: to save man from sin and hell through faith in Christ; to train God’s people for holy living; and to give God glory (John 5:39, 20:31; 1 Peter 4:11). Most of the parables are especially a part of the first and third purposes. They uncover God’s will about salvation and the way God gathers his church, and they glorify God because without faith, it is impossible to understand them correctly or take them to heart. This latter subject is what Mark takes up next:
10 When Jesus was alone, those who were around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but everything comes in parables to those who are outside, 12 so that
‘They will certainly see but not perceive,
and they will certainly hear but not understand.
Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven.’”
Jesus is happy to reveal the secrets of salvation to those who have faith in him. We notice that Jesus was not alone with the twelve when he was asked about the parables, but that there were others, “those who were around him with the Twelve.” This would certainly mean whatever families, especially the wives and children of the apostles were there (1 Corinthians 9:5; compare Acts 21:5), but also the women who formed Jesus’ support group and who funded his ministry (Luke 8:2-3)
In the days when Isaiah was preaching, many of the people would not listen or believe his words. Jesus quotes the very first prophecy God gave to the prophet when he was called (Isaiah 6:9-10). The Lord foresaw that the people of the land would not just be decimated by an attacker, but so much worse: “Though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste” (Isaiah 6:13). And why? On account of their sins, because they rejected the word of God.
The parables have the same effect on the hearer as the preaching of Isaiah and the other prophets: The meaning was hidden to those without faith. For faith is the great gift of God that comes with conversion and baptism. Faith receives every blessing that God gives, like a mail box, an open hand, or the open mouth of a baby bird. The little hatchling bird does one thing, it asks in the only way it has to ask, by opening its little beak. If the parents are away, the asking goes unanswered. If the parent birds are killed, the hatchling will die. It cannot feed itself. If nothing is placed in the hand, the hand remains empty. If nothing is delivered to the mail box, it will never be full. And if God never gave a gift, man would have nothing at all. But God gives and gives and gives, and everyone with faith receives what God gives. Those without faith are stubborn birds who close their beaks, foolish brutes who don’t open their hands, and rusted mailboxes that can’t be opened. Everything that God gives we receive by faith, especially forgiveness, new life, and the assurance of our place with Christ forever in paradise.
Preach you the Word and plant it home
To those who like or like it not
The Word that shall endure and stand
When flow’rs and mortals are forgot.
“Preach You the Word” by Martin Franzmann, vs. 1.
Pastor Timothy Smith