Statements Tough to Swallow

Isaiah 6:10
Mark 4:1–21

Let’s face it; sometimes Jesus made statements that are tough to swallow. At first glance, it sounds like He spoke in parables in order to prevent the masses from understanding His message. In his excellent book Jesus Asked, Conrad Gempf pointed out that this idea completely contradicts the traditional view of parables that he was taught in Sunday school: that parables are simple stories that illustrate deep, spiritual truths.

Jesus taught the opposite of that idea as well, by offering parables to the crowds and explanations to His disciples.

Far from “dumbing down” His message to make it more easily accessible, Jesus was looking for genuine seekers who would wrestle with it, taking it seriously.

At a time when He was incredibly popular, and it was fashionable to go and hear Him teach, He refused to become just another religious sideshow or pop preacher. Gempf wrote that there’s a difference between a mystery (which is the meaning of the word used here, musterion) and a secret. A secret is hidden, whereas a mystery can be uncovered by those who investigate it, like persistent detectives.

Following Jesus calls for us to be baffled, confused, and out of answers at times. It means that we might have to live for days—or decades—with questions that remain unanswered. True disciples have never quite found all that they are looking for. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” It’s the normal condition of the honest disciple. Jesus can handle our doubts, concerns, and confusion.

Pray: Lord, help me to be someone who diligently looks to know You, and know the truth that sets me free. Amen.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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