On Sunday we went through Mark 4:1-20, the “Parable of the Sower.” It was a very packed text, and included one of the real difficult passages from the New Testament. At first glance Mark 4:10-12 comes off as wildly contradictory and extremely counter-productive to the mission of Jesus.
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
It seems as if Jesus is here saying, “I’m speaking cryptically because I want people to walk away and not believe in me. I’m doing this because I don’t want to forgive them.”
It doesn’t take a PhD in hermeneutics to figure out that this is not the perspective Jesus walked around with. He came to “seek and to save that which was lost,” He’s obviously not intentionally framing salvation through Him as the proverbial “carrot and stick” game. So what is going on here?
As I stated Sunday, the central idea I pulled from this passage as it was combined with the parable was:
Salvation is not a gift you unwrap, it’s a gift that unwraps you.
There are major differences between a gift I unwrap and a gift that unwraps me. Here they are:
A gift I unwrap:
1) I own it.
2) I utilize it how I want.
3) As owner, I am in charge.
4) If I don’t like the color, I can exchange it for another.
5) If I want to return it and use the cash for something else, that’s my prerogative.
6) It’s about ME.
A gift that unwraps me:
1) It owns me.
2) I become utilized as a result of receiving this gift.
3) I am submitted.
4) When there are things in me that need to change color, it works that out.
5) God is the author of it, and as the giver of the gift, He transforms me.
6) It’s about Jesus, not about me.