What Jesus Did! 'Telling Stories' — Mark 4:1-2

Thursday, February 25, 2016

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,
— Mark 4:1-2
Illustration of Mark 4:1-2 —  Jesus used many stories to teach them.

Key Thought

I find it interesting when a good preacher or Bible teacher is criticized for telling too many stories. Yes, there are some speakers who only go for the "emotional tug" on people's hearts by telling one story after another. On the other hand, we need to not only pay attention to WHAT Jesus taught, but we also need to notice HOW he taught it! Jesus engaged people's imaginations and made everyday events, images, and experiences into hooks on which he could hang God's truth about the Kingdom. One of the reasons that he attracted large crowds involved his miracles. But, Jesus is very careful not to allow himself to become "The Miracle Man." Interestingly, Jesus is not called the Healer, but the Teacher! His words were powerful because they were true. His teaching was influential because it carried with it the ring of heaven's truth. But let's not forget that his teaching was popular because he knew how to engage people's hearts, minds, and imaginations when he taught. One of the ways he did that was telling stories. Amazingly, these stories still speak to us today!

Today's Prayer

Loving Father and Almighty God, please help me grow in my ability to teach the truth of Jesus. I want to teach it through the example of my life. I want to communicate that truth to those around me in my sphere of influence. Father, I also offer myself to be used by you to teach others about Jesus in any fashion you choose. And when my opportunities to teach your truth come, please help me know how to teach in ways that engage the hearts and minds of those I'm trying to reach. In Jesus' name. 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

So Jesus came to them and said, "All authority (power) in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach those people to obey everything that I have told you. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of the world."

Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum. On the Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue and taught the people. The people there were amazed at Jesus' teaching. Jesus did not teach like their teachers of the law. Jesus taught like a person that had authority (power).

Mark 1:21-22

When Jesus arrived there, he saw many people waiting. Jesus felt sorry for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd {to care for them}. So Jesus taught the people many things.

Mark 6:34


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.