Morning Musing: Mark 4:21-23

“He also said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously describes His followers as the light of the world. In that context, He says that we are not to live such that our light is obscured, but rather to shine for all the world to see. That is, indeed, the purpose of light: to be seen. When we come to these couple of verses in Mark and see Him talking about not putting light under a basket as He did in Matthew, we’re tempted to think He’s talking about the same thing and move on. I’ve thought that before. Taking a closer look, though, reveals something else is in view. Let’s talk this morning about what that is.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 4:13

“Then he said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand all of the parables?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I said on Tuesday that the parable of the sower isn’t about you. It’s not about me. Can we take things in just a little different of a direction this morning? It’s still not about you and me, but as Jesus explains the different soils and what they each represent, we can’t help but find ourselves in the story. We can’t help it because while this isn’t about calling us to evaluate what kind of soil we are now, we were once the soil in which someone else was trying to plant a Gospel seed. If we can better understand the perspective and experience of each different soil, we’ll be better able to sow seeds in a way they will be more likely to take root. So, let’s talk about dirt this morning.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 4:10-12

“When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. He answered them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that “they may indeed look, and yet not perceive; they may indeed listen, and yet not understand; otherwise they might turn back and be forgiven.”‘” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of my favorite speakers likes to joke that he has the spiritual gift of sarcasm. I always appreciate this line because I’m pretty sure that’s one of my spiritual gifts as well. Sarcasm, technically defined, is the use of irony to mock or convey contempt (thank you, Google). Irony is when you say one thing but mean the opposite. Mocking we understand. Contempt is anything that conveys the idea you think something or someone is stupid. In other words, sarcasm is saying something, but meaning the opposite, in order to express your disdain for some idea or person. Why talk about all of this? Because Jesus here is quoting His Dad’s sarcasm. Wait…God is sarcastic? Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 4:2-3

“He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them, ‘Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every teacher has a style. And most teachers have a set of stories they tell over and over and over again. They’re stories they use to make the points they think are the most important to make because they convey the most critical truths they want to communicate. For Jesus, the style was parables, and Mark 4 contains some of the parables that He no doubt told in every little town, village, and hillside He visited. This is a parable we’ve looked at before together, but if Jesus told it a lot, it’s probably worth our time to look at it again.

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Let’s Talk about the Issues

We’ve been talking for the last three weeks about how followers of Jesus should think about engaging with the politics of their culture wherever they happen to be. The short version is that our engagement should always be considered through the lens of the Gospel. But, how should we actually think about the various issues at stake in this or any election? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Thanks for tuning in as we continue our series, Being Good Kingdom Citizens.

Let’s Talk about the Issues

We need to make this election about the issues! How many times have you heard a politician use that line before? Probably more times than you’d care to count! And when a politician says something like that, what is usually the furthest thing from his mind? The issues, right? If you’re like me and more than a little bit cynical about politicians and politics, you hear that phrase as a kind of code language. It’s a code for: I know I’ve got this gigantic personal or political scandal going on over here and which should probably totally disqualify me from running for office, much less actually be deserving of your vote, but I’m not willing to give up this chance for power, and so I’m raising the red herring of talking about issues on which I disagree markedly with my opponent in hopes that it will distract you from paying attention to the man behind the curtain and rile you up to vote for me anyway.

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