Mark 4:21 – 25
He said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’ And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’
Jesus is still explaining – this passage is a part of the previous one, and to understand it we have to remember what has just been said. The message, word, or seed that Jesus sows and tells in parables is the light of the world. It is not intended to be hidden away or kept secret (hence we must understand the Isaiah passage, not as God’s intending that people hear but not understand, but as God’s saying that is how people are – they have ears to hear but will not understand). The light is intended to be put on a lamp-stand, to disclose what is in the dark corners of the room. Secrets are meant to be brought into the light. Paul says that God’s mystery was kept hidden until Christ – but was now disclosed – that Christ came that all might be saved.
And so Jesus tells them to pay attention to the parable – to be the good soil, that they might nurture the seed and help it grow. And those who accept the seed, the message of Jesus – and that is love – will grow in him and will produce fruit. And the more that we grow in him; the more we produce fruit – then, the more we receive in the way of growing in relationship with him. Let me say that differently – as we grow, as we ask questions and learn, we are better able to understand, and to pass on that understanding – as we grow in our relationship to God, the better able we are to accept his love and grace and grow further. That is in contrast to the one who is the hard ground, and unable to accept God’s grace to begin with, and thus unable to grow in it!
And so – let us be fresh, good soil, to accept God’s love and grace and continue to grow and produce fruit!