Jesus says, “Listen! Behold,” and, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”
After Jesus told this parable the ones who were closest to him asked about the parable. He explained the parable, but before he did he said something that sounds pretty harsh. Read carefully what follows from Mark 4:11-12.
And He said to them,” To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to those outside, all these things are given in parables so that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”
These were the ones who were able to receive the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Those who followed and asked questions. In the Sermon on the mount Jesus said;
Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For each one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
This passage in Mark is very serious. And if you look at it by itself could be pretty frightening. But let us also look at a verse in 2 Peter 3:9 to help us understand the whole mind of God.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God’s will for all men is the same but the fact remains that not many will, “Listen! And Behold.” Not many have “ears to hear”. This is not God’s will, but it is the situation. Preaching and fancy programs will not get people to listen and behold. They will only enjoy the programs. Only by being salt in a world that has deadened its ability to taste by gluttony, only by being light in a dark world can we help a few to “Listen and Behold!”
Heavenly Father, I thank you from my heart for the encouragement of your desire for me and for each one. Please help me to take these words seriously, and give grace that I can do my part to prepare my heart for your word to grow and produce fruit that will glorify you. Amen!