Scripture Reflection for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Brandon Jubar
Reading I: Ezekiel 17:22-24
Reading II: 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
GOSPEL: Mark 4:26-34
3 Critical Ways that Jesus Shared His Message
One of the things that Christians often struggle with is how to share the Gospel message – how to evangelize – in a way that draws people to Jesus. The task becomes even more difficult when dealing with people who have little or no Christian upbringing. How do we share our faith with someone like that? Perhaps this is a good time to ask ourselves, “What did Jesus do?”
First: Tell Stories
Let’s face it – most people’s eyes glaze over as soon as you start lecturing them. Unless it’s a topic that they’re fascinated in and already know something about, then chances are good that a lecture is going to miss the mark.
So when Jesus wanted to draw people in and get them to engage with what he was saying, he told them stories. In this weekend’s gospel reading, Jesus tells of a man who scatters seeds upon the ground and then watches them grow, though he doesn’t know how. Sure, there is a lesson in there, but by sharing that lesson within the context of a story, he kept their attention. Today, we also know that people tend to remember stories much more than they remember lectures (though Jesus probably knew that already).
Second: Use Analogies That Relate
Another thing that Jesus seemed to understand was that the best way to share a new concept with people is to connect it to something that they already understand. No analogy is perfect but it does create a frame of reference so that comprehension can begin.
Jesus used the analogy of the tiny mustard seed – something that the people of the time were very familiar with – to explain the power of faith. In their minds, the people knew that a tiny mustard seed grows into a very large plant, so Jesus connected that imagery to his new teaching about faith and the people began to understand.
Third: Lecture Selectively
In Mark 4:34, we learn that Jesus spoke in parables to most of the people but to his disciples – those who were closest to him – he explained everything. It’s a lesson that more people in ministry could use and it’s something that every Christian should keep in mind when they try to evangelize. Lecturing generally falls on deaf ears unless the audience is ready to learn and explore.
This weekend’s gospel teaches us about how even a little faith can grow into something incredible, which reinforces the idea that we should spread the message all around because it will eventually take root. But it also illustrates the three critical ways that Jesus shared his message: telling stories, using analogies, and lecturing selectively. In our attempts to evangelize and share the Good News, we should do the same!
How does it make you feel when someone lectures you about faith?
What is one parable from the Bible that you remember?
What is one analogy that you’ve heard lately?
Copyright 2015 by Brandon Jubar
All rights reserved.