Jesus taught the crowds that clamored around Him with parables…but when He was alone with His disciples, He would explain the meaning behind them. It tells us in Mark 4:10 that, “When He was alone, the Twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables.” Reading about God from some author isn’t the same as being alone with God yourself. Solitary time with God and His Word enables you to ask those tough questions you’re confused about. And as you probe deeper into His Word, that alone time with God becomes even more important…for it’s then that He can teach, edify, and exhort you.
This verse comes from the Parable of the prodigal son…a young man, who after squandering his portion of his inheritance, found himself starving to death in the middle of a pigsty. It was in those deplorable conditions, that he finally came to himself…recovering his right mind, and realizing just how far he had wandered away. Repentance is a change of mind…leading to a change of heart…which leads to a change of our actions. Unfortunately for many of us, Godly sorrow is only attained when we find ourselves in the middle of the pigsties of life.
This is from the Parable of the Sower, where the farmer sows the Word…the Logos…the Word of God, onto a hard-packed path. The seed just sits on top of the surface, unable to germinate and grow because of the hardpan – the unbroken subsoil beneath. To have a hardened heart towards the Gospel is to have an indifference towards the things of God…or to have an unfeeling conscience. So how can we pray for that person? We can ask the Lord to plow up that hard soil of rebellion in their life… that the Word of God may germinate and flourish there.
Jesus taught the crowds with parables. Many times, He would make comparisons between spiritual things and things found in nature. Now to the carnal ear, it was just a nice story…but to the searching ear, it moved and resounded within their souls. Later in verse 34 it states, “But when He was alone with the disciples, He would explain everything.” In the evenings around the fire, Jesus would then reiterate very clearly to the disciples what He meant with the parables…giving eternal implication and significance to each one.
Jesus taught in parables…stories illustrating a moral or spiritual truth. It’s much akin to an allegory, where the characters and events symbolize a deeper underlying meaning. His Disciples asked Jesus why He taught in this manner, and His reply shed light on the human nature. To those who had already rejected Jesus, they were just stories. But to the Souls who had opened their hearts and minds to Him, the parables were light and truth. For in John 14:6, Jesus states, ” I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”