Whoever Has Ears, Listen (Mark 4:21-25)

Whoever Has Ears, Listen! (Mark 4:21-25)


Mark 4:1-34

We find ourselves today in the midst of Christ teaching on the kingdom of God. He has begun to teach in parables for two reasons:

1.) To prevent those rejecting Him from perceiving and understanding spiritual truth.

2.) To help His true family clearly understand the truths of God as natural illustrations lay along side it.

His believing followers have been considered His true family inheriting the kingdom. They alone have been given the privilege to know the true kingdom of God.

Jesus plainly says to His disciples:

Mark 4:11-12

11 …‘To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 in order that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCIEVE; AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND LEST THEY RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”

As we recall it was through His first parable Jesus revealed who are birthed into His kingdom; those who possess good soil:

1.) The Word is sown in their heart!

2.) Once it is sown, they grasp the truths of God’s Word and see the proper relation between them.

3.) Bringing the truth together they receive it, firmly taking it upon them in both heart and mind.

The living word will then bring forth life in them.

This morning we will look at Jesus teaching in verses 21-25. Jesus presents two statements challenging us to hear and handle the revealed Word of God.

Let’s go to the text!

Mark 4:21

21 And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?’”

The answers to Jesus’ first questions are obvious: No!

I love how Jesus even answers His own question with a question: “…Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?”

The question is rhetorical: Yes!

A lamp is not designed to be hidden, but used to displace darkness. In regards to the lamp the question is not what is it, but Who is it? Jesus is the lamp! Jesus is the light that displaces darkness! Many of our translations read “A lamp”, but the original Greek declares “The Lamp”. This should not surprise us for Jesus says:

John 8:12

“…I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Consider what this meant to the Jews listening:

What did they understand the lamp to be? The Word of God!

Psalm 119:105

Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

Above Jesus declares Himself to be the light, and the Psalmist declares the word of God to be the light. John the apostle sums this up beautifully for us:

John 1:1-14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. 9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

To downplay the Word is to downplay Christ!

To disregard the Word is to disregard Christ!

To neglect the Word is to neglect Christ!

To reject the Word is to reject Christ!

To hide the Word is to Hide Christ!

The two are inseparable for He is the living Word!

Let’s read the verse again:

Mark 4:21

21 And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?’”

Consider the juxtaposition of this verse: Seed is meant to be sown!

Just as the Word of God is to be sown in hearts, so is the Word of God to shine in hearts.

Now, Jesus gives a very clear picture as to what takes place when He shines in the heart of man:

John 3:19-21

19 the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

The world hates the Word, but the Living Word of God is the only One capable of imparting life! Christ, therefore, will not remain hidden. The light of Christ exposes everything:

Mark 4:22

22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light.”

This reminds me of the Word’s vitality:

Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

Christ will shine!

Jesus continues:

Mark 4:23-25

23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.’ 24 And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides. 25 For whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.’”

I believe it is hear we will begin to see a connection with Christ’s parable of the lamp. Here Jesus is only speaking with the believers. His conversation began with Him explaining the reality of the non-believers spirituality: They are dead! Non-believers, being spiritually dead are incapable of perceiving what they see, and understanding what they hear pertaining to Christ, the Living Word.

Paul clearly teaches this in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 2:14,16b

14 …a natural man (Non-believer) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised…but we (Believers) have the mind of Christ.”

The believing disciples not only have the ears to hear, but they have The Lamp to see! Being spiritually alive they can both see and perceive, and hear and understand. Within these sayings Jesus is revealing the responsibility that comes with enlightenment:

1.) Shine the light Who gives you sight.

2.) Listen to the One Who gives you understanding.

Jesus says:

Mark 4:24a

24…’Take care what you listen to.’”

He is calling us to be discerning by looking critically at what we hear. In order to shine the light of Christ we must rightly discern His voice, The living Word. For us His voice is not audibly heard, but visibly read in the eternal Scripture.

Notice here we must also desire His Word:

Mark 4:24b

24By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you…”

Do you want to grow in Christ so you may clearly shine the light of His Word? You need to study it!

Notice too this is not a “You get what you put in” kind of deal, but a “You get well beyond what you could ever put into it”:

Mark 4:24b

24…By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides.”

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you! We truly do not understand the depths of His love and grace towards us in Christ!

I ask:

Stewards of God’s Word are you listening?

You who have ears to hear do you understand?

Mark 4:11

11 To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God…”

We see Jesus saying in the end of this portion:

Mark 4:25

25 For whoever has…”

Has what? Has the ears to hear and understand the mystery of the kingdom of God.

Jesus says to you:

Mark 4:25

25…to him shall more be given…”

As ambassadors of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to His Word.

1.) Listen to it daily and grow in understanding.

2.) Walk in the light it provides for our lives.

3.) Shine it in the hearts of humanity.

Christ came to be seen and heard; therefore, we too must been seen and heard proclaiming Christ crucified and risen again! We must unashamedly shine the light of the gospel in this lost and dark world.

There is one final, sobering statement in this text. It is to those who are outside who see, but do not perceive, and hear, but do not understand. It is to those who have not been given the mystery of the kingdom of God:

Mark 4:25b

25and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

Luke’s account is more pointed:

Luke 8:18b

18…and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”

To not be given the mystery of the kingdom of God means only one thing: Christ does not know you. If Christ does not know you then you are lost in sin and condemned already before the Holy God.

For all have sinned and fall short of His glory! The penalty for our sins is eternal death and facing the divine wrath of the Almighty. I beg of you to repent and believe the gospel! Failure to do so guarantees that everything will be stripped from you for all eternity at life’s end.

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