Mark 4:33-34 With many such parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
Why parables? Why stories? Why not just put things out in simple, declarative statements? Well, of course, that does happen in the bible in places. In fact, we are told that Jesus does explain things differently to his disciples. But the point of life isn’t just to get to the “right” answer so that it can be repeated on some classroom test. We had math books when I was in school that had the answers to the questions in the back of the book. That way, after we had done the homework assignments we could check for ourselves if we had done it correctly. Yeah, right. Many times we would just go copy the correct answer so we had something to turn in. But when we did that we didn’t learn. There is a difference between being a disciple and being part of the crowd. The disciple has made a commitment, has engaged the teaching, and gets the benefit of further explanation. The crowd is curios and hears the teaching as an invitation to go deeper but may or may not take up the offer. Many people are content to be the crowd, to hang on the edge of Jesus and his stories, “spiritual but not religious,” intrigued from time to time as convenience dictates. Disciples are willing, even eager, to go further. They desire more and will look deeper and ask questions and rearrange their lives to be more open to greater understanding and encounter. Will you live this week as one of the crowd or as a disciple?