April 4, 2020

As I began my day, I sat down and wanted to read my bible. “What shall I read”, I ask God. I turned to the verse of the day in my bible app and read it. Then my notes from this past Wednesday’s sermon at church came to mind. I grabbed my notebook and began to flip through the pages to find the notes from Wedneday. I came to the 2nd page of notes first and felt God say to me “Start here”. I hesistated for a second and flipped a page to find the beginning of my notes, “I’ll start at the beginning” I thought. It makes much more sense to start at the beginning I thought. But God nudged me again to flip the page and start where he wanted me to start, in the middle of my notes at the scripture reference Mark 4:16-17, after reading it, I was intrigued to start at the beginning for Chapter 4 so I could fully grasp what this reference scripture was all about. I am so glad I did because the revelation that God gave to me this morning was nothing short of wonderful. 

Let’s start at the beginning:

Mark 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 

Here we have a crowd gathering around Jesus to hear from Him. Jesus, seeing the crowd, gets into a boat and sat the boat on the lake and while the people sat on the shore began to teach them. Here are the thoughts and or questions that immediately formed in my head as I read this short snippet:

  • Jesus spoke to the large crowd, without a speaker, and they heard him. 
  • Why did Jesus do that? Why did he go into a boat in the water and left the people on the shore?

I have read this part of this passage many times over and upon reading it, I always have the same questions and have always answered my questions the same, Jesus is just amazing and He can do whatever he needs to do whenever He needs to do it. But upon reading it again this morning, those same questions came to mind along with the question: Does water make sound louder? I did a quick search and found some very interesting information. Sound does in fact “sound” louder over water. 

From Inspiring Science: When you make noise, sound waves travel away from you in every direction, making an expanding sphere. Since the air just above an open body of water is cooler than the air slightly higher up, the speed of sound is slightly lower above the water’s surface. The temperature gradient above the water translates into a gradient in how fast sound travels; sound waves further from the water will be faster than those below them. The difference in speed causes the expanding sphere of sound to change shape, flattening into a wall or even focusing the sound downwards. That’s why sound travels further over water: less is lost up into the air, meaning more of it ends up in your ears — or your neighbors.

Water amplifies sound and makes it louder.  WOW! Jesus was certainly a smart man and an innovative one at that. He saw the large crowd and to accomodate all who wanted to hear Him, he intuitively solved the problem of everyone being able to hear him. About two years ago, this statement came to my mind, God is the God of innovation. When I heard it I was overcome with joy because as I began to think about all the things we humans have invented and all the wonderful and beautiful things nature produces, I undoubtely agreed within myself that God was indeed a God of innovation. He so graciously gives us the intelligence and creativity to create, invent and improve things year after year after year. We, humans, are not stagnant creatures, we have the ability to use our minds to move things along, progress things and come up with a zillion different ways to do a zillion different things. That thought alone arrested me, putting me in awe of just how great God truly is. 

The statement “God is a God of innovation” came back to me once I learned that sound really does travel faster over water. Jesus was an innovator. He was a problem solver and He was quick about it. This thought began to arrest me even more and I just had to find a definition for innovation. This is what I found… Innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.  

The scriptue says in Mark 4:1 – Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. – Here we see Jesus began teaching by the lake. —— In other words, He was by the lake or near the lake. He did not start teaching in the lake or in the boat. He was ashore like everyone else. Let’s keep reading the entire verse: 

Mark 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.

So as Jesus was teaching, like He had done before, people began to crowd around. While Jesus was teaching, a problem or hiccup began to appear. More people were listening, the crowd needed to hear. Jesus, while He was teaching, solved a problem while the problem was brewing. How innovative is that. Intuitively Jesus carried out this modern definition of innovation… He implemented something new aiming to improve efficiency and effectiveness. He immediatly solved his problem “Everyone needed to hear what he was saying”  While we are out here living our lives, problems and hiccups will occur and just like Jesus we can expect God to give us direction and guidance to solve them, even at a moment’s notice. THAT revelation alone is one that brings to me to awe and gives me such encouragement and hope. There is no problem that is too big or too hard for God. Not even an unexpected one. 

Wait, I ain’t done yet.

Back to this sound over water business. So to answer my own questions, Jesus in fact used a speaker that day. He used the water. The water was His speaker. Does that not speak volumes to you. That is probably a whole article in itself. The water was used as a speaker. How many times does the scripture refer to the Word of God as Water and what does a speaker do, it amplifies sound, it makes the sound louder. What does God want to make loud in our lives, HIS WORD. Another topic for another back. 

Back to the sound over water business again. Back to the scripture:

Mark 4:1-3 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! 

So here we have Jesus speaking to a very large crowd and he began to teach them many things and in the middle of him speaking says “Listen”…. I don’t know what else Jesus taught that day but it seems He had something else to say and He wanted to perk the attention of His listeners to tune in more closely to hear what He had to say. It was as if He was saying “Listen, I want you to hear me loud and clear”. Whatever he was about to say next was important and He wanted to make sure they paid attention and understood what he was saying. In other words, pay attention to what I say next. 

Mark 4:1 – 9 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

This parable or teaching was centered around a farmer sowing seed and different outcomes a farmer can expect to receive after he sows a seed in different types of soil. Not only does the scripture often refer to the Word of God as water but it often refers to the Word of God as a seed. There are a few definitions of the word seed and various uses of the word seed. Most commonly though a seed is used as a unit of reproduction with the capablility of developing into another unit. So the Word of God is seed to us, giving us the capability of developing into another God like unit. We are all works in progress. No one person is better than the other. I believe what Jesus was saying with this scripture is that no matter what I am teaching you, no what the lesson is, we have to act as good soil so the seed of God’s word that God so graciously plants in our lives, can reproduce, in us, the God-like beings we were created to be. At the end of this passage Jesus says “Whoever has ears to hear let them hear”.  In other words, Whoever is sitting in this crowd, whoever hears the words that I speak, listen to what I tell you. Let these words ring loudly across your ears so you can understand what I am trying to say. Hear me! Understand me! Understand this: The seed of God, the word of God, is meant to reproduce and it will do just that. It will do what seeds do and sprout. The effectiveness, quality of and strength of the resulting plants highly depends on the soil in which the seed was planted. 

Let’s continue reading:

Mark 4:10- 20  – When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]” 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

The message on Wednesday was Enduring Persecution. In life, there is going to be trouble. There is going to be trials and hardships. Jesus endured them too, at the beginning of this passage, Jesus began teaching and a problem or hardship arose in the midst and intuitively He moved and solved his problem while it was brewing. The words that Jesus gave that day were important seeds for the people to hear. But Jesus ended his teachings with an important note, verse 9, whoever hears this word, let them hear it. Whoever hears the words I am speaking, whoever you are, fully hear it. Then in verse 20, allow the seed fall into good soil by hearing it and then accepting it so that it can produce a crop. Whoever hears the word of God, whoever is listening: hear the word and accept it so it can reproduce, in you, God’s ability to move and thrive through any hardship that arises in your life. 

Be Blessed

~ Monika 

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