What Jesus Did! 'Limited Doses and Visual Hooks' — Mark 4:33

Friday, March 11, 2016

Jesus used many stories like these to teach them. He taught them all that they could understand.
— Mark 4:33
Illustration of Mark 4:33 — Jesus used many stories like these to teach them. He taught them all that they could understand.

Key Thought

Jesus is an incredible teacher. In his earthly ministry, he used common everyday images as hooks on which to hang eternal truth. The people would see these images in their day-to-day lives and then would be reminded of the eternal truth that Jesus hooked on the image. This was crucial. They couldn't understand everything all at once. Until his death and resurrection and without the work of the Holy Spirit, much of what he said and meant was a mystery. Yet these images allowed him to share messages "pregnant" with meaning. Later, as these disciples learned more about his life and ministry and as the Holy Spirit begin to work in each follower's life, they could see the visual image, take Jesus' message off the visual hook, and more fully understand his message. Teaching God's truth is an awesome and humbling responsibility. Jesus is the great reminder that it is also a creative responsibility. More than just communicating a message, we're communicating God's will to people who need to understand, to obey, and to be blessed by this message.

Today's Prayer

God, my dear Abba Father, please help me to be more creative and effective in my teaching of your will. I know that Jesus was a powerful teacher in word and deed. I want my life to display what I teach so others know that this message is not only true, but also livable. I also want to help others understand the power, beauty, mystery, grace, and holiness of your will. I know that I cannot do this on my own efforts alone. So, dear Father, I commit to becoming a good steward of the grace you have given me as a teacher. I will do my creative best. However, Father, I ask that your Spirit take what is good and make it much better and that your grace take what is bad and keep it from being a hindrance to those eager to know your truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is like a man that plants seed in the ground. The seed begins to grow. It grows night and day. It is not important if the man is sleeping or awake; the seed still grows. The man does not know how the seed grows. Without any help, the ground grows grain. First the plant grows, then the head, and then all the grain in the head. When the grain is ready, the man cuts it. This is the harvest time." Then Jesus said, "What can I use to show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. The mustard seed is the smallest seed that you plant in the ground. But when you plant this seed, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants in your garden. It has branches that are very big. The wild birds can come and make nests there and be protected from the sun." Jesus used many stories like these to teach them. He taught them all that they could understand. Jesus always used stories to teach the people. But when Jesus and his followers were alone together, Jesus explained everything to them.

Mark 4:26-34

Related Scripture Readings

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,} "Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who can tell the Lord what to do?" But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Each of you received a spiritual gift {from God}. God has shown you his grace (kindness) in many different ways. And you are like servants who are responsible for using God's gifts. So be good servants and use your gifts to serve each other. The person who speaks should speak words from God. The person who serves should serve with the strength that God gives. You should do these things so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:10-11

My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. Why? Because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly than other people.

James 3:1


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.