January 16, 2024

Tell It Slant

Mark 4:30-34

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror. . . .

—  1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

If you were a kid like I was in the 1960s, you might remember Sergeant Joe Friday from the TV show Dragnet. Friday was a no-nonsense police officer. When he questioned a witness, he didn’t want to hear stories or opinions. “Just the facts,” he would insist. And by the end of each episode, with the facts in hand, Friday would make an arrest.

A focus on facts may be right for a police investigation. But things are different with the kingdom of God. When Jesus talks about the kingdom, he doesn’t rattle off a set of facts. And he never offers a definition. Because the truth of the kingdom is more than we could ever take in.

Instead Jesus gives us glimpses of the kingdom through stories and pictures. He says the kingdom of God is “like a mustard seed.” Or like many other things. Yet what Jesus says about the kingdom isn’t necessarily obvious, even to the disciples.

The same is true about what Jesus does. Just after the mustard seed story in Mark 4, we see Jesus calming a dangerous storm out on a lake. That certainly said something about Jesus as King. But it wasn’t altogether clear. The disciples were left asking, “Who is this?” (Mark 4:41).

Let’s listen to some more of Jesus’ stories and watch some of his deeds to learn what we can about the kingdom and its King.

Teach me, Lord Jesus. I want to know who you are and what your kingdom is about. How else can I serve you? Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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