This morning I preached from Mark 4:21-34, which is a series of three parables of Jesus, as told by Mark. Looking again at the text this afternoon something caught my eye that I had missed earlier. After telling the parables Mark ties things together in verses 33-34, writing this in verse 33:
"With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it."
It is that phrase in the middle, "he spoke the word," that I had missed before, or at least I missed the importance of it. Two of the parables preceding that verse are about the kingdom of God, but no one is going to have the first idea of what Jesus is talking about unless they have first heard and understood what Mark refers to as "the word." And to understand what "the word" is we go back to Mark 1:15. Jesus is in Galilee, saying:
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
The gospel, "the word," is the good news that God loves sinners and He offers them reconciliation with Him when they turn from their sin and trust in God, alone, for their salvation.
The salvation that came with hearing and believing the word that Jesus spoke as he taught the parables is salvation that is still available when a person hears that word today.
He spoke, and he continues to speak. May you hear that word, receive it with gladness, and know the everlasting joy of a healed relationship with God.