Sometimes it feels like people talk more about parables in the Bible than they actually read them.
Is that the case for you? When was the last time you read a parable? Regardless of your answer, we want to spend some time this month studying the parables in Mark (commonly referred to as the Markan parables).
You can find these parables in Mark 4 and they all have the same focus: the present coming of the Kingdom.
Now the other gospels have parables about the Kingdom of God, but Mark’s are unique. However, before we get into that, let’s just establish what a parable is: A parable is a genre of literature usually defined as a short, allegorical story. It’s purpose is to illustrate some truth or lesson. In other words it’s a fictitious narrative, whose plot has direct comparisons or correlations to something in reality. For more terms and definitions, check out our glossary here.
So, as we read through and study the parables in Mark, we will read allegorical stories – ranging from farmers and seeds to trees and harvests – that all metaphorically point to truths about the Kingdom of God.
That is the heart of our study this month. We are going to go through these parables with a fine comb in order to identify and analyze the metaphorical elements within these narratives; and, by metaphors, we mean those specific words, phrases or even figures who symbolically represent something within the Kingdom of God.
Our hope, in highlighting these parables, is to not only gain a deeper, more complex understanding of the Kingdom of God, but to also revel in the beautiful words and images that Jesus Himself chose to describe His own Kingdom.
For Jesus Himself is the greatest writer of all and His eloquent, metaphorical images are both playful and intentional, beautiful and meaningful. We pray that as you study these parables, you will desire to gain the same vocabulary for thinking and talking about God’s Kingdom. For the way in which we perceive God’s Kingdom impacts how we live and act in it.
We also have a series of devotions on the temple of God in Mark 11. You can check those out here.