Thursday, February 9th. Mark 4:33-34

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.  Mark 4:33-34

 

I was leading a Bible study at church last week when one of the women in the group said something along the lines of “why does God make things so complicated?”

 

A pastor in our synod who champions men’s ministries often says “men’s ministry isn’t rocket science.  It is harder than that.”

 

Get enough people in the room talking about why Jesus often taught using word pictures, using parables, and you will hear as many opinions as people.  Which is, I believe, the point.

 

If Jesus was simply about disseminating information I trust that he could have boiled things down, spoken plainly, assigned memory verses, given pop quizzes and produced disciples who could speak the party line plainly.  But he didn’t do that.  He didn’t need to do that.

 

There already was a group of people who had tons of processed information ready to go.  They were the scribes and the Pharisees, the experts in the law.  But all their information was only blinding them to God in their midst.

 

If Jesus was about creating the perfect religion then he could have developed new manuals on the liturgy with just the right words, the right body language, the right worship schedule.  But he didn’t do that.  He didn’t need to.

 

There were already plenty of priests in the temple who could handle such matters.  But they had long since lost the connection between holy moments and real lives.

 

Instead, Jesus taught in parables, in word pictures, in language with seeming simplicity over layers of profound complexity.  Jesus didn’t want to be figured out, he wanted to be followed.  Not just in words but in deeds.

 

But we like short cuts.  We like clearly marked paths and, even better, we like the kind of insider information that tells us precisely where to detour to beat the crowd to the goal.  We like to be out in front rather than staying with the group.  So we like the idea of the disciples getting the inside scoop.

 

Until we realize that we are those disciples.  In our worship and learning lives as Christians, we are viewing and reviewing the same information that Jesus gave those first disciples.  But what are we doing with it?

 

Could it be that Jesus is less interested in “know-it-alls” and more interested in “do-ers of what God has created you to the do for the sake of others?” 

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, that we might be wholly yours.  Open our eyes, one step at a time, to the path before us.  Give us just the insight we need to do the next right thing.  Understand us in our frustration and help us follow as you lead the way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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