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10 Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve apostles and others around him asked him about the stories. 11 Jesus said, "You can know the secret about the kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by using stories 12 so that: They will look and look, but they will not learn. They will listen and listen, but they will not understand. If they did learn and understand, they would come back to me and be forgiven." ~ Mark 4:10-12
Today, we return to one of the lakes off of the Sea of Galilee where the Lord Jesus had been teaching the crowd. And, now that the crowd has filtered out of the area, the Lord Jesus was alone with His disciples. Being alone with the Lord is such a great thing because He, in that context, can teach more directly. Being driven to be alone with the Lord is so key to our development in His ways. Our problem is, we do not want those things in our lives that push us closer to Him; things like pain, hardship and trouble.
In v.10 of today's passage we read, "Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve apostles and others around him asked him about the stories."
After the crowds had gone home the disciples came to the Lord with questions about the stories He had used in His teaching that day. One of the greatest signs that we have been "born again" is that we seek the truth. But, the problem is this: the truth is inconvenient. Most often, we want the truth when it serves our purposes. The true sign that we have entered into God's family is when we are confronted by the truth, and, we conclude: the truth must win. This will never mean that we will be perfect this side of heaven on measuring up to the truth, but it does mean that if we are born into God's family, we will be the servants of truth, not the other way around.
Our relationship with the Lord is purely based upon what He did for us on the cross. No amount of change in us has ever garnered the favor of God. And, now that we know that our sin is forgiven us through the cross, we have entered into fellowship with God. Our relationship with Him is based solely on the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made on the cross. Now that we are related to the Lord, we have fellowship with Him. This fellowship is the deepening of our relationship with Him.
Our fellowship with God is largely impacted by how we respond to the truth. He is the truth. And, when there is a clash in our lives between our sinfulness and His truth, then we must choose the truth. And, when we choose the truth, we will grow in our sanctification which is what gets His wisdom into our lives right now.
In v.11-12 of today's passage we read, "11 Jesus said, 'You can know the secret about the kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by using stories 12 so that: They will look and look, but they will not learn. They will listen and listen, but they will not understand. If they did learn and understand, they would come back to me and be forgiven."
The believer who is growing in his fellowship with God will know the secrets of God. The Greek word translated "secret" in v.11 is the word from which we get our English word "mystery." The combination of the words questions and mystery provide for us the makings of the stage where a grand pursuit ensues. This is what our fellowship with the Lord is all about. When we entered into our personal relationship with the God of the Bible, we entered the pursuit. And, the more of Him that we get to know, the more we will want.
The development and the deepening of any relationship is largely based on this pursuit. To the degree that we invest our being in the pursuit of anyone will determine how deep that relationship goes. King David wrote, "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you, O LORD."
Our longings determine our search. The problem is the longing is most often created by thirst, and, we want our thirsts quenched right now. But, it does not work that way. The more arduous the pathway to God will determine the glory discovered at the end of the search. But, we do not want to put in the hard work. We often chose the anesthesia over the deepening fellowship, and, the anesthesia turns us numb to the truth.
There are two kinds of hearers, those who follow and those who don't. This is why the Lord speaks in parables, to aid those who are engaged with the truth and the hinder those who are not engaged with the truth. The group of hearers who follow the Lord is known to be obedient to the truth, and, when this happens, we are being defined by God. To those who are defined by His truth is given the secret of the kingdom of God.
In 1 Corinthians 4:1 we read, "People should think of us as servants of Christ, the ones God has trusted with his secrets."
God entrusts the truth to those who are engaged with the truth. Central to receiving the revelation of God and His kingdom is that we are "servants." The Greek word translated "servants" in 1 Corinthians 4:1 means the person who road on the lowest level of the galley on a ship. In that day, there were three levels on the ships. The bottom group who moved the oars, pushed the ship through the sea were called "the servants."
The life of a galley slave was arduous to say the least. The pain and agony of their strenuous work was exhausting. This is the word used here to describe the one to whom God entrusts His truth. To those with the posture of the lowest slave is granted the deepest insights. We do not serve the LORD without serving His Word for His Word is the revelation of His will.
On the other hand, for those who are playing games with the truth, the Lord Jesus spoke in parables, in order to conceal the truth from them. His ultimate goal is to get us positioned to be forgiven our sin and to enter into a personal relationship with Him. So, He allows frustration so that we will turn to Him. He knows what we do not; He knows the answer is the truth.
God has infinite wisdom of all things. The world moves according to His secret will, of which we know little. Wonder is retained by wise pondering. If God never intervened, man would be lost. But, God has intervened by revealing Himself through creation, our consciences, and most profoundly through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.