September 1, 2013

The Parable of the Soils

Passage: Mark 4:1-20

Jesus is the most famous teacher in the history of the world, and parables are his most famous teachings. Parables include sayings, proverbs, epigrams, riddles, and stories (3:23; Prov. 1:6; Ez. 17:2). They are figurative, set alongside actual people and events, and applied in different ways, often meaning more than they appear to. But they aren’t just descriptive. Parables reveal, confront, and compel action (2 Sam. 12:1-15). They are small sayings with big consequences for those who hear (vv10-12; cf. Is. 6:9-10). Hearing a parable is an opportunity to change or continue as your character. This is why prophets use them, and about a third of Jesus’ teaching consists of parables. So we have to pay close attention, understand what is meant in the original context, then apply it to ours (vv3, 9). This parable in particular is the key to all parables (v13). It’s about hearing and doing the word, or not.

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