"..that they may ever see, but never perceive, and ever hear, without ever understanding, lest they turn and be forgiven…." (Mark 4: 12, quoting from Isaiah 6: 9-10)
Hunh? These mysterious words of intent serve as Jesus' explanation about why he speaks of the mystery of the Kingdom of God in parables: precisely so that some people will not understand. "Let those who have ears to hear, hear." Those who don't, can just tune out. And this after he has told the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20), in which it seems that the word is meant to be sown liberally, indiscriminately, like seed sown over rocks, pathways, among weeds, thorns and hungry birds, as well as on good soil. In which case we should be handing out ears to hear right and left, transplanting them or drilling them into people's heads.
So what gives? And how might the parable of the sower apply to any of us who have already taken the word to heart so that it has borne fruit in a living faith? For a few attempts at answering these questions, check out last Sunday's message (September 14, 2008) at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, at
Mathew Swora, pastor