These words of Jesus to the disciples caught my attention as I was reading Mark 4 in preparation for one of our recent Bible studies. I try to read what goes before and comes after the text we are studying to get a feel of the before and after. It can play a role in how we need to understand what is happening in the portion we are studying. I had read these verses over and over before and had not caught on to them. (Maybe it is the political climate of our day that made them jump out at me!) But, whatever it was, I saw them in a new light – “Consider carefully what you hear...”
The world of Jesus 0was a quiet world compared to ours. There were few distractions from the silence. Oh yes, there were the everyday noises of life: animals, people, shouting in the market place, normal conversations, and children playing. But there were not all the external noises that play a role in our days: traffic rushing by on busy streets with horns honking, people talking in the air to people via phone devices, air planes taking off and landing (for some), radios blaring out the latest songs, or sports events bombarding the air. Have you tried to find a “quiet” restaurant lately? No telephones rang with ring tones that defy description. No televisions blared in living rooms and dens. It was a quiet world. There was much less sound, much less noise, much less confusion.
Yet, Jesus' words to his followers are for them to listen carefully to what they hear. Jesus has just told the parable of the sower and then has challenged them to be a light to the world. In the middle of this short challenge he adds the caution to be careful in what they hear.
This will become more important in the disciples' lives as they progress in the faith. There will be those who will challenge who Jesus is. There will be those with a different idea of what Jesus taught. There will be different voices challenging their own memories and thought process. There may even be times when they wonder if they heard correctly – after all there were no recorded messages and, thankfully, no distorted sound bites. “Consider carefully what you hear....”|
As we sort through all the noises in our lives and try to discern the Word of the Lord we need to be reminded of these words to those who will follow Jesus. We should take time to consider the source, the circumstances and the potential outcomes of the messages we hear. This is not always easy to do in our busy, hectic lives - but I wonder if we can afford not to. Not to stop and discern noises of our day and, as Jesus says, “Consider carefully what you hear...”