Short Meditations in Mark’s Gospel: 70. Secrets Shared
Mk 4:11,12 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “`they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’
The kingdom of God is all about the reign of Jesus bringing the will of God to earth – “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10) – “I have come to do your will, O God.” (Heb 10:7) How that will was to be brought about was a mystery. Paul used that word about the Gospel a number of times. It was not obvious. It had to come by revelation from heaven. It was a secret. The ways of the kingdom are not obvious to the natural man, they are secrets, and part of Jesus’ role on earth was to share those secrets with those who would follow.
Ah, there is the key – to followers. Jesus said to his disciples it “has been given to you.” and then he distinguished them from the rest of the people – “but to those on the outside.” Who are those people? They were everyone who came along just as a spectator, who hadn’t given their heart to Jesus and to his Father. There are those who come along Sunday by Sunday but most of what they hear remains a mystery to them, for they have never given their hearts to Jesus, they have never surrendered to his Lordship.
There is a spiritual principle here that is vital to understand. Jesus said of these ‘outsiders’, these ones who are merely spectators, merely onlookers, those who have not surrendered to him, who do not follow him that they will see but not see, they will hear but not understand. They will see what Jesus does, but it doesn’t seem relevant to them. They will hear the words week by week, but are unmoved by them. This is a truth of the kingdom, that you enter it and THEN start to understand. You need no understanding when you surrender to Jesus beyond the terrible fact that you are a sinner and are lost without him. That is all you need to understand – your terrible need. And so you surrender and start to walk with Jesus and as you do so he shares with you and suddenly you start to see it as you had not been able to before.
And what about the “otherwise they might turn and be forgiven”? Is forgiveness the all important issue? No, it is just the way into a relationship with Jesus; THAT is the crucial issue. Jesus doesn’t want any superficial, “I am sorry”. He wants surrender. He wants to rule.