The Mystery of the Kingdom

Today's Bible reading: Mark 4:10-12

So Jesus begins His ministry sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God and revealing the mystery of the Kingdom.  One of the key ways He does this is through the use of parables.  It’s sometime said that Jesus spoke in parables in order to make His message clear and simple by using every day illustrations.  That’s only half true.  In His explanation of the parable of the sower, Jesus speaks of the mystery of the Kingdom which is given to the disciples and adds: “But for those outside, everything is in parables.”  He goes on to quote Isaiah 6:9–10, which recall that God’s revelation produces not only faith and understanding … but also unbelief and rejection.  Faith is always a gift.  Not something that you will … or you do … or you create.  Faith is always a gift.

The parables are, thus, not simply illustrations of what the Kingdom is about … they are the direct preaching of the Kingdom as a call to faith.  Perhaps a good way for us to understand what this means is simply to say that the Kingdom itself actually “happens” in the teaching of a parable.  The parables are as much “events” as Jesus’ miracles are events.

The mystery of the Kingdom is twofold.  First, the Kingdom is always God's gracious gift and has nothing to do with our efforts – what we do.  Secondly, there is the mystery why some believe - and come to saving faith - while others reject this gracious message.  However, that’s the radical nature of grace: it calls … it challenges … it pleads – but it never compels.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see you clearly and so believe that Your Kingdom is still among us.  Move us to a steadfast hope for the future and to daily repentance and new life.  We thank you for calling us into Your Kingdom, for which you declare us fit by Your grace.  Keep us faithful to our calling, so that You may be glorified in all that we say and do; through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.