Jesus invested His time in the lives of the disciples who stayed close at hand to see and hear all Jesus had to say. The crowds did as well although at times, they did not understand the meaning of Jesus’ words.
Often Jesus told parables sharing the deeper meaning of those stories, only to His disciples, in private. Jesus explained:
“When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—
Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.”
(Mark 4:11, The Message)
Interestingly, then Jesus goes on to explain the parable of the farmer scattering seed on different types of soil (found in Mark 4:13-20):
- The footpath. Seed sown on the footpath is quickly taken away by the enemy.
- Rocky ground. When problems come, due to shallow roots, they don’t last.
- Among the thorns. The seed is crowded out by worries, wealth and other desires.
- Good soil. Produces a harvest – 30X, 60X 100X – as what was planted.
The parable was then understood by the disciples although the meaning remained hidden from the crowd. But they had heard His words and the story would create a readiness in the people, “nudging them toward receptive insight.”
In going back to read this portion again and again, it brought back to mind the first time the landscaper came to aerate the grass. The process had left deep and unattractive holes everywhere.
In questioning the landscaper, I learned that the purpose of aeration was to poke holes in the soil to allow air, water, and other nutrients to get to the roots of the grass. The process helps the roots to grow deeply so that a stronger lawn develops. It keeps the soil from becoming compacted.
Compacted = hardened.
The parables, meant to aerate our souls, so that our roots will grow more deeply in Him.
We can know them with our minds but it is only with our heart that they are received. A heart that has been prepared, created for readiness, and nudged by Him will then receive His words.
They will yield a harvest in our lives as their words are meant to move us to action.
A harvest – 30X, 60X, 100X – what was planted.