To illustrate the need for the Holy Spirit to operate as an interpreter of the Bible, read through Mark 4:1-20 for yourself. Try reading the first 9 verses alone and see if you can figure out the parable without reading Jesus’ explanation (though if you know this story too well the answers will come flooding back to you and this little experiment won’t work). Once you’ve done this, write down what you think the parable’s interpretation is. When you’re done, read on to see the actual explanation. Was it anything like what you thought it was? If not, where were you right and where were you wrong?
It’s interesting to me how much Jesus really wanted us to catch onto in this parable through the Spirit’s revealing. There’s a certain amount of truth I can sense just in reading it, but if I’m honest, my conclusion is nowhere near as in-depth as Jesus’ explanation was.
|SEED #1||Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.||When they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.|
|SEED #2||Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.||When they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.|
|SEED #3||Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.||They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.|
|SEED #4||And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.||The ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.|
I imagine that the first time we all ever read this passage, we did not hear all of the hidden truth going on in the background. Perhaps even on a second or third glance, we didn’t reap all this information. The parabolic truth was all there, but we missed it—or at least we missed some of the fine details. Perhaps this happens because we read our Bibles like a chore and don’t give space for the Spirit to speak, or perhaps it happens for some other reason. Whatever the case may be, we now understand why Jesus ended the parable saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mk 4:9)—because not everyone has the spiritual ears to receive the spiritual truth.
God’s parables are just like God’s dreams; for dreams are veiled and meant to be investigated with the Spirit for the hidden truth, which is only discoverable by the key—the secret of the Kingdom of God—that is, the Holy Spirit.
We must learn how the Holy Spirit works and allow Him to grow and teach us until our ears are opened enough to listen. Remember, the disciples had the answer key to the parable right in front of them and even they didn’t get it; so yes, it is entirely possible to have the secret and not actually know how to use it. Don’t freak out and don’t try to rev yourself up to get the truth. Just be quiet and try to listen for the Spirit’s soft inaudible whisper.