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Monday, October 10, 2016

Spiritual Comprehension (Mark 4:33-34)

"With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything."

When Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree in the Garden "the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked." Ultimately, sin is self-awareness. Before the Fall Adam and Eve were aware of God and unaware of their own nakedness. Aware of their nakedness after the Fall they hid from God. Blinded by sin and alienated from the life of God all of humanity is more aware of self than he is of God.

In the Book of the Revelation, Jesus counsels church people to "anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see" (Rev. 3:18). Riches, self-righteousness (and all of the other "self-" sins), and pride blind man to his spiritually impoverished state where he thinks he is omni-competent (able to take care of himself and in need of nothing) all the while he is "wretched, miserable, poor, naked and blind." Therefore, an independent spirit reflects spiritual blindness. The one who thinks he doesn't need God is the one who is blind indeed!

The Apostle John describes the advent of Christ as "the life that was the light of men" and the rejection of Christ as "the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:3-4). The Pharisees and multitudes in Jesus' day were spiritually blind--unable to receive the things of God. And the Apostle Paul describes man in his natural state, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritual discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The disciples weren't exactly the crispest cookies in the box either. Nor are we. Just as Jesus explained the parables to His disciples when they were alone so we too must spend time alone with Jesus and in His Word so that we may see and comprehend spiritual truth. Followers of Jesus Christ must "consider carefully how you listen" (Luke 8:18). Spiritual comprehension comes from spiritual consecration.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Mark 4:30-34; Matthew 13:31-35; Luke 13:18-21
  • Why does Jesus have to explain the parables to his disciples? (see 1 Corinthians 2:14)
Matthew 13:24-30
  • What does this parable teach about the enemy? About people? About the kingdom?
Matthew 13:36-52
  • Why are the disciples concerned after hearing the parable regarding the co-existence of the weeds and the grain?
  • What does this parable teach about the kingdom? About God? About the enemy? About those who are deceived?
  • Which parable would Peter, Andrew, James and John more easily relate to? Matthew and Judas?
Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25
  • What does Jesus tell the disciples to do as evening approaches; and what does He Himself immediately do? What does this tell you about Jesus?
  • What has Jesus told them they were getting in the boat to do?
  • What does this tell you about the disciples spiritual vision? What does the storm reveal about their faith? About Jesus?
Mark 5:1-20
  • Where is the demon possessed man hanging out? What does this tell you about his 'comfort zone'?
  • What are the demons willing to do to remain in the area? What does this tell you about demons?
  • How does the man change once the demons are banished?
  • Why doesn't Jesus allow the man to accompany them on their journey?
(One account mentions two men while the other accounts mention only one. Jesus seems to have only dealt with the one man, which is why two accounts only mention the one man.)

Turning truth into prayer
Ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ to "give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward you." (Ephesians 1:17-19)