Gospel of Mark, Lent, Reflectionary

Ordinary Preachers (Mark 4:1-34)

Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? (Mark 4:13, CEB)

I’m always fascinated by what a hard time the disciples have understanding Jesus. He hand-picked them, didn’t he? According to Mark, in chapter 3, he went up a mountain and called exactly the ones he wanted. They had three jobs: to be with him, to go out and preach, and to cast out demons. How, I wonder, did they preach? What could they say, confused as they were?

Jesus seems to have expected more of them.

It’s a good question for any of us who try to be faithful followers. What can we say, confused as we are? Sometimes I think those of us with advanced education in theology and scripture have the hardest time of all, concerned with our socio-political agendas from whatever place on the spectrum.

Ultimately I am both hopeful and humbled when I consider that Jesus chose ordinary people to preach the good news. Maybe God gave the disciples, and gives us, the gift of coming to know Christ more deeply through the act of sharing with others what we do not yet understand.

Holy God, use me today for your purposes and increase my understanding. Help me to accept that sometimes it happens out of the order I would expect. Amen.


I’m reading and blogging about Mark for Lent. Want to read along? I’m using the Common English Bible because it messes with my expectations of familiar passages. I am also referring to NRSV-based resources including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, as well as the online Greek interlinear Bible.

You can find the full schedule here, including links to earlier posts.

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