Running With Mark 27

Day 27 – January 24, 2020

Read: Matthew 13:9-12


“Let anyone with ears listen!”


The disciples, who spent tons of time with Jesus, still didn’t understand his ways.  “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”


New Testament and Jewish Studies scholar, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine in her book, Short Stories by Jesus writes,

Jesus told parables because they serve, as Song of Songs Rabbah notes, as keys that can unlock the mysteries we face by helping us ask the right questions: how to live in community; how to determine what ultimately matters; how to live the life that God wants us to live.  They are Jesus’s way of teaching, and they are remembered to this day not simply because they are in the Christian canon, but because they continue to provoke, challenge and inspire.

Jesus knew that the best teaching concerning how to live, and live abundantly, comes not from spoon-fed date or an answer sheet.  Instead, it comes from narratives that remind us of what we already know, but are resistant to recall.  It comes from stories that prompt us to draw our own conclusions and at the same time force us to realize that our answers may well be contingent, or leaps of faith, or traps.  It comes from stories that community members can share with each other, with each of us assessing the conclusions others draw, and so reassessing our own. 

The parables, if we take them seriously not as answers but as invitations, can continue to inform our lives, even as our lives continue to open up the parables to new readings.[1]



  • How is God inviting you into the parables we have been reading in the Mark series?
  • Is it comforting to you to know that the disciples, who spent all of their time with Jesus, still didn’t understand him or his teachings?

Our youngest son has worn hearing aids since he was in the first grade.  One day, when he was a preteen, he was in the other room.  I called him and called him to get him to come into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher.  I finally raised my voice to a very loud volume and he heard me.  It was my own parable, because I felt like God smacked me upside the head with the message that for Michael to be able to hear best, I needed to be right in front of him, looking him in the eye.  In Jesus, God has done just that.  After centuries and centuries of trying to get the people to listen through prophets, God decided to come look us in the eye, face to face, so that we can hear God.

  • How can you put yourself face to face in front of God so that you can hear?
  • Does God ever tell you something (through Scripture, a friend, a song) that you don’t really want to listen to?
  • Why don’t we always listen to God?





Baba Yetu (The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili)

I’m Listening by Chris McClarney


Prayer Focus:

Sit with God, listen and simply be.



Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

[1] Levine, Amy-Jill. Short Stories by Jesus: the Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2014.