In 4:11-12, Jesus explains that the reason he speaks in confusing parables is so that the scriptures can be fulfilled (see Isaiah 6:9-10 for the source of this verse). But if he knows about this prophesy, and deliberately fulfills it, then it’s not really prophesy, is it? I mean, to be legit, Jesus would have to speak that way without knowing about the words of Isaiah – otherwise it’s cheating. Sigh.
We get the parable of the sower, then the parable of the lamp (v 21-23). Everyone who’s ever been to summer camp knows that one.
In the KJV, v 25 sounds like the motto of the Republican Party (haha). But the NLT morphs it into an admonition about paying attention in class. Just goes to show, you can make the bible mean anything you want.
V 26-29 provides us with a lesson in bronze-age science – “the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own…”. Jesus is on a roll – next up is the one about the mustard seed. But that’s not accurate either – it’s neither the smallest seed, nor the largest garden plant. And lastly, Jesus calms the storm – yup, even the wind and waves obey him.
V 2-5 offer a sickening description of the way the mentally ill were treated in primitive societies. But Jesus comes to the rescue, and excises the demons by sending them into a herd of pigs – causing the entire herd to perish. Which isn’t this considered cruel? Could there not have been a more humane way for an omnipotent healer to cure this poor man? The Awkward Moments Children’s Bible beautifully illustrates this story. If you haven’t heard of it, make sure to check it out!
But onto the next round of magic and miracles. Jairus calls for Jesus to heal his dying daughter in v 22 (contradiction alert – in the same story in Matthew, she’s already dead). Then he heals the bleeding woman who touches his robe. I remember hearing this story in church as a child, and no one ever explained where she was bleeding from 😉 Now Jairus’ family calls to report that the girl has died, but never mind, Jesus revives her anyway, with some magic words right out of Harry Potter. It’s miracle – so why would Jesus again tell people to keep quiet about it? And how on earth could you keep something like that a secret, anyway?