Beyond These Walls: Here We Go! Week 1 Devotional Day 1
DAY 1 – Monday
Mark 4:1-3; Mark 4:33-34
Why do you think Jesus spoke in parables so often?
What are some modern-day examples of parables? What makes stories such an effective communication tool?
Reflect – The Parables (Part 1)
Many of us are familiar with the parables of Jesus—from the Good Samaritan to the Prodigal Son. But what we may not know is what a parable actually is and why Jesus used them in the first place. In our passage this week, we get a glimpse into what these parables are all about.
A simple definition of “parable” comes from the NLT Study Bible: “A brief narrative story told with earthly analogies to illustrate a spiritual truth.” These stories usually have to do with another big theme in the gospels: “the kingdom of God.” In other words, when Jesus tells his stories, he’s typically seeking to open our eyes a bit more to how God’s reign in the world really works. These truths about God’s kingdom are, understandably, tough to grasp. In our passage, Jesus calls this the “secret of the kingdom of God.” That Greek term, musterion, can also be translated “mystery.” A mystery in the New Testament is something that was once secret but is now being revealed. God’s kingdom had been a secret in many ways—something people could easily miss. But Jesus invites them now, through his stories, to get the “inside scoop.”
The use of parables in religious teaching was not something unique to Jesus. The rabbis of Jesus’ day used these kinds of stories, too. Presenters today add a story to their speech to capture the attention of their audience. And parents still tell stories to their kids with a life lesson, with the hope that they will stick with them over time. Jesus’ teachings are a bit different in that he does not always make the “moral of the story” clear to everyone. We’ll explore more why that is tomorrow.
 NLT Study Bible, p. 2443.