PRAY: Pray that God may open His Word to us by the power of His Spirit. That we may grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus. That we may share this joy in all our lives and to those around us.
READ: Mark 4:21-43
33 He would speak the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. 34 And He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, He would explain everything to His own disciples. (Mark 4:33-34).
Have you ever heard someone say, “Get real!” and wondered for a moment, exactly what they meant by, “real?” Generally, we accept our own experiences as real, but if a friend or teacher tells us something that is just too big or extraordinary to believe, sometimes it is not that easy to accept.
In Mark 4, we see the twelve disciples struggling with their own sense of reality as Jesus teaches them about the Kingdom of God. First, He explains that He will teach them its secrets and the reason He speaks to the crowds in parables. Then, He uses parables drawn from everyday life to illustrate several points. He compares the Kingdom of God to the futility of hiding a light in a basket, exhorting them to hear, see and understand.
He compares the Kingdom to scattered seed that grows to a full harvest, even when we do not understand why or how. He encourages them to greater faith by comparing the Kingdom to the tiniest of seeds that once sown grows to the largest of garden plants. To an agricultural society like Jesus’ these were daily and familiar experiences, and ones they could connect with and understand.
By choosing such parables, Jesus, in a way, demonstrated how the Kingdom of God was just as real as their everyday lives. Despite this direct teaching, his disciples were slow to understand and soon found themselves faced by a very dangerous and frightening form of reality. On that same evening, the disciples and Jesus boarded a boat to cross the sea and ran into an incredible windstorm. With the waves crashing all around them, threatening to capsize the boat, they went to Jesus who was well — sleeping. They woke Him and accused Him of not caring if they all died. For them, Jesus just did not understand the severity of the situation.
Then, in perhaps the most incredible of “get real” moments, Jesus stood up, spoke to the wind and the waves: “Peace, be still”, and the entire storm simply stopped. How is that for a dose of reality?
How often are we the same as the disciples? Do we read the Bible as reality or just a collection of poetic illustrations? Is it real history, or just a nice story? Truly, truly what Christ has revealed is real! It is reality itself, for He is the Lord and creator of it all. Over our daily lives, Jesus has authority and power to say to us as well,: “Peace, be still.” What Jesus has shown us is the fullness of reality, and this truth, in Him we find our complete hope.
In Jesus, we truly can, “get real”.
1) What is real to you? What is our mission?
2) In what ways is your life a “real” storm that Jesus has power over? Where do you need to hear “Be Still” from Him?
3) How might I show and share the reality of the Kingdom of God with others around me?
Memorize: Mark 4:23-24
23 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!” 24 Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured and added to you.
This week's devotional is written by Michael Strickland. Michael is a City Church Owner and serves as a City Group Leader and in the band. He works in the FSU College of Music as the IT Director.