1 Samuel 15:34–16:13 ;
Mark 4:26-34 ;
Rather than deliver lectures, Jesus told stories, stories in the form of parable. People listened and took notice. In that way he invited people to live lives transformed by the Spirit of God. They might not have always got the message straight away, but they would remember them; the significance of the story might have burst upon them some time later. Those who were ready to accept his call could see what he was getting at while for those who were not Gospel-ready they might have at least remembered the story. Jesus was introducing a radically different way of life and that required imagining the world differently. Such a change cannot be brought about by argument alone but requires the presentation of images, stories and symbols that speak to the heart as well as to the head. The parable-type story is a way to win those who are ready for God’s message. It does not coerce or impose itself but invites people to make their own discovery. It is also significant that Jesus told stories about ordinary, everyday things and familiar situations like those confronting younger sons, or travellers on the dangerous Jerusalem-Jericho road. He met people where they were at. He likewise invites us to recognise the Word of God in the everyday stories of our lives, the things that happen to us or around us. Sometimes other stories in the Bible also come to have the significance of parable for us. Could it also be that your life is a parable capable of bearing the Gospel to others?
- Why are stories an effective way of communicating the Gospel?
- The Holy Spirit cannot be programmed, but what factors do you think might make a person more disposed to accepting the Gospel?
- What do you think is being conveyed through the parables in Mark 4:26-34?
- What message comes to you through reading 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13?