Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
A Reflection on Mark 4: 22-25.
Another passage has come to my attention which I want to include. This partly relates to a reflection by Ellis Hein on Post 3 about the oft repeated exhortation, “Those who have ears, let them hear!”
In Post 3, the question was posed, “How might Jesus be a prophet like Moses?” A follow on question might be, “What kind of Messiah is Jesus?”
In chapter 2-4 of Mark, Jesus progressively runs counter to the people’s expectation of the Messiah:
• He begins the healing of the paralytic by telling him the past no longer has its stranglehold-his sins are forgiven
• He calls Levi, a tax collector, as a disciple. Then he proceeds to eat with him and his “sinner” friends
• His interpretation of the Sabbath causes consternation
• The religious leaders accuse him of having an evil spirit, i.e. being completely off base
• His family relationships are strained and break the mold
In chapter 4 the parables begin and Jesus draws it to this climax: “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measure to you - and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (Mark 4:21-25 NIV). The RSV translates v.24 “Take heed what you hear…”
In Post 3 I reflected on the kind of prophet Moses was and how Jesus was similar. And in the verses above Jesus spells out the consequences of not hearkening to what he says. Peter says something very similar in Acts 3 in his reference to Deuteronomy 18:18 and 19. Jesus is not recorded as making a direct connection here, but the language and parallels are there. Early Friends would have connected the two, seeing Moses as a type of Jesus, the prophet (mediator) of the new covenant.
While I was pondering this, I came across the parallel passage in Luke 8:18, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Therefore, consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”
There are subtle differences in these wordings and together they cover our experience of the Light and the hearing/obeying relationship to which we are called. The variations brought some queries to mind:
• Are we hearing what is said? Are we acting on it?
• How are we listening? Are we still bringing our agendas? Are we trying to do what is said in our own strength, not resting from our own works?
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