Mar 4 outline:
Mar 4:1-2, Jesus taught the multitude many things by parable
Mar 4:3-9, The parable of the sower
Mar 4:10-20, The parable of the sower explained privately to the disciples
Mar 4:21-25, The parable of the lamp
Mar 4:26-29, The parable of the seed left to grow till harvest
Mar 4:30-32, The parable of the mustard seed
Mar 4:33-34, He did not speak to them but in parables, explaining them privately to His disciples
Mar 4:35-41, Jesus calmed the wind and the waves
Mar 4:2-34 reverse parallelism:
1a) Mar 4:2, He taught them many things in parables;
1b.1) Mar 4:3-8, The parable of the sower;
1b.2) Mar 4:9, He who has ears to hear, let him hear;
1c) Mar 4:10, His disciples asked Him about the parable;
1d) Mar 4:11a, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God;
2d) Mar 4:11b-12, But to those outside, parables, that they may see + hear but not perceive + understand, lest they repent;
2c) Mar 4:13, Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables;
2b.1) Mar 4:14-20, The explanation of the parable of the sower;
2b.2) Mar 4:21-25, He who has ears to hear, let him hear, taking heed what you hear;
1a) Mar 4:21-22, A lamp is put on a lampstand for there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed;
1b) Mar 4:23-24a, If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear, taking heed what you hear;
central axis) Mar 4:24b, With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you;
2b) Mar 4:24c, And to you who hear, more will be given;
2a) Mar 4:25, For whoever has, to him more will be given, but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away;
2a) Mar 4:26-34, Two seed parables/ He taught them with many such parables, explaining to His disciples when alone.
Now why does the Lord want the truths of the kingdom to remain hidden? For He said, once those outside see with perceiving, and hear with understanding, they will turn (repent, turn away from the path of sin and begin walking on the path of righteousness) and their sins will be forgiven them. Isn’t that what the Lord wants? Repentance, and forgiveness?
The key is in the 2B.2 pair. His warning to us is, take heed what you hear. Pay attention to the words entering your ears and entering your eyes, because words are seeds, Amen? It is words that are sown in the soil of our hearts and which grow to produce fruit. So those who have turned their hearts to hear the word of God (Deu 6:4-9), to love it, to believe it, to heed its admonitions, have made the soil of their hearts good soil. They hear, and more will be given to them besides: including keys, revelation, and understanding. But those who can take or leave the word of God, who are too busy to make time to receive it into their ears or eyes or hearts, or who are constantly doubting the truth or wisdom of God’s word – they do not hear already. They are outside, and what little they do hear, they hear but then don’t understand.
If we are praying for repentance for others, perhaps our first prayer needs to be for ears to hear and a heart to receive the truth!
So why does God want the truths of the kingdom to remain hidden? When the time of the harvest comes, the fruit that has been produced will reveal who had ears and received the word of truth, and who rejected it in favor of lies. All of us have the ability to hear! Wisdom is crying aloud in the streets and at the crossroads, not in some obscure corner or far away in a remote location (Pro 8:1-4). It is what we do with what we have heard, that determines our outcomes.