…while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:“Listen!…” (Mark 4:1-3)
In Mark 4, Jesus was no longer using the orthodox method of teaching in the Synagogue. He had moved his arena into the open air by the lakeside placing him among the crowds of ordinary men and women. Standing in a boat facing the shore, the gentle rise of the land gave the effect of an amphitheater. So, when Jesus cried out, “Listen!”, he competently apprehended the attention of the crowd who could freely walk away at any time. Two other times during this address to the crowd he said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
A new location ushered in the need for a new method that would arouse people’s attention and keep them from drifting away. So, Jesus used parables. He engaged their interest by telling extraordinary stories with such vividness that the descriptive images stuck in the memory of ordinary people and refused to be forgotten.
One of his memorable sayings was that men do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl or bed. If we hide under the bed or behind the doors of our churches or shrouded in our homes, how can the message of the Kingdom of God be heard?
He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:21-23)
There it is! “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear!” Listen to what? Hear what? The Truth, that’s what! Jesus used everyday images to speak truth to ordinary people. He taught them using their own worldview. While speaking from a boat in the lake, or from a mountain top, or inside an upper room, he mastered the craft of meeting them in their kitchen, their bedroom, and their fields of harvest through picture stories they could relate to.
Plain people want the plain truth. Jesus shows us how to use what we know about the Kingdom and the worldview of those we know. He sends us out to tell of his truth. We are just ordinary people sent to ordinary people. We live in the same suburbs, in the inner-city, in apartments, on culdesacs. We go to the same grocery stores, schools, restaurants. We are familiar with the life styles and worldviews of the ordinary people we live among. They have ears to hear, but they can’t hear if we don’t speak the story of Truth!
Later in this chapter we find Jesus sleeping in the stern of a boat while a storm was about to break that boat into pieces. Jesus is the Truth and from a boat tossing about in a fierce storm, he demonstrated what happens when Truth speaks and is heard.
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.(vs 39)
The wind listened. Those who have ears to hear will to!