What Jesus Did! 'Outsiders and Insiders' — Mark 4:12-13

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"I do this so that: 'They will look and look, but never really see; they will listen and listen, but never understand. If they saw and understood, they might change and be forgiven.'" Then Jesus said to the followers, "Do you understand this story? If you don't, then how will you understand any story?
— Mark 4:12-13
Illustration of Mark 4:12-13 — "I do this so that: 'They will look and look, but never really see; they will listen and listen, but never understand. If they saw and understood, they might change and be forgiven.'"

Key Thought

Certain messages are appropriate for those who are inside the faith, but make no sense to those outside the faith. These messages are not going to be understandable to those who do not share our faith and our world view that arises from our faith. For instance: Christians see the story of the Cross as a story of great power; non-Christians see it as something gross, gruesome, awful, ghastly, violent, appalling, or horrific. Jesus is preparing his specially selected followers for their ministries. He is focusing on giving them messages they can understand, but those outside their group will not. This is a great reminder that those who do not know Jesus will not understand many things we believe, teach, and say. We shouldn't get discouraged; this has always been true. Rather than becoming frustrated, we need to give thanks that God has made these things known to us and then find effective ways to introduce the people in our world to the grace of Jesus so that one day each of them can share in Jesus' truth.

Today's Prayer

Father, I know that many people in the world do not understand many of the things I dearly believe. Please give me patience and courage to face their questions, attacks, and rejections. Use me to break down the barriers that are erected between them and me so that they can come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Another time Jesus began teaching by the lake. Many, many people gathered around Jesus. So Jesus got into a boat and went out on the lake. All the people stayed on the shore next to the water. Jesus taught the people from the boat. Jesus used many stories to teach them. He said, "Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Some seed fell on rocky ground. The ground there did not have enough dirt. The seed grew very fast there because the ground was not deep. But the sun rose and the plants were burned. The plants died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and stopped the good plants from growing. So those plants did not make grain. Some other seed fell on good ground. In the good ground, the seed began to grow. It grew and made grain. Some plants had 30 grains, other plants had 60 grains, and some had 100 grains." Then Jesus said, "You people that hear me, listen!" Later, Jesus was away from the people. The twelve apostles and Jesus' other followers asked him about the stories. Jesus said, "Only you can know the secret truth about the kingdom of God. But to those other people I tell everything by using stories. I do this so that: 'They will look and look, but never really see; they will listen and listen, but never understand. If they saw and understood, they might change and be forgiven.'" Then Jesus said to the followers, "Do you understand this story? If you don't, then how will you understand any story? The farmer is like a person that plants God's teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. This is like some people. Those people hear the teaching of God. But Satan (the devil) comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them. Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly and gladly accept it. But those people don't allow the teaching to godeep into their lives. They keep that teaching only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly quit. Other people are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. These people hear the teaching. But then these things come into their lives: the worries of this life, the love of money, and wanting all kinds of other things. These things stop the teaching from growing. So that teaching does not make fruit {in the lives of those people}. Other people are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and make fruit—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more."

Mark 4:1-20

Related Scripture Readings

Then the Holy Spirit made Jesus feel very happy. Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. I praise you because you have hidden these things from the wise and smart people. But you have shown these things to people that are like little children. Yes, Father, you did this because this is what you really wanted to do.

Luke 10:21

But like the Scriptures say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no person has imagined what God has prepared for those people that love him." But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit knows all things. The Spirit even knows the deep secrets of God. It is like this: No person knows the thoughts that another person has. Only that person's spirit that lives inside him knows those thoughts. It is the same with God. No one knows the thoughts of God. Only the Spirit of God knows those thoughts. We did not receive the spirit of the world. But we received the Spirit that is from God. We received this Spirit so that we can know the things that God has given us. When we speak these things, we don't use words taught to us by the wisdom that men have. We use words taught to us by the Spirit. We use spiritual words to explain spiritual things. A person that is not spiritual does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. That person thinks that those things are foolish. That person cannot understand the things of the Spirit, because those things can only be judged spiritually. But the spiritual person is able to make judgments about all things. Other people cannot judge that person. {The Scriptures say,}

1 Corinthians 2:9-15

I became a servant of the church because God gave me a special work to do. This work helps you. My work is to tell fully the teaching of God. This teaching is the secret truth that was hidden since the beginning of time. This truth was hidden from all people. But now that secret truth is made known to God's holy people.

Colossians 1:25-26

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.