Mark 4:11

and he said,  “To you the hidden truth of the kingdom of God has been imparted; but to those who are outside it all teaching takes the form of parables so that –


you and you and you
are in on the secret
they of course are not
unfortunately a secret
about basic belovedness
does not mean you know
the meaning of every story
hint event intention
context of news items
you are not an authorized pundit
your secret is hidden
in plain sight
your heart’s joy
regardless of your heart’s health
parables are not secretive
only provocative through generations
another opportunity in a movement
toward increasing wholeness


“In the Marcan context…parabolē ‘parable’ is a Christian technical term and means the stories Jesus used as illustrations in his teaching about the kingdom of God.” [A Translators Handbook on the Gospel of Mark]

The “mystery” [not “secret”] of G*D’s presence is yours (plural) and to those beyond this little tribe, such revelation comes through little stories and/or riddles. This could be more specific—through stories of Jesus. It is probably best to leave it in the more open format.

Spoiler alert. There is an implicit promise here that the reader will have the secret revealed to them. Just sit back and it will come. It will turn out that such a revelation will not be forthcoming.

Hopefully this will assist the reader in locating themselves in the middle of a much larger parable—the whole book of Mark. We are to wrestle with the riddle of an announcement that doesn’t get announced without the engagement of the reader. This mystery reader turns out to be us and needs engaging all the way through the rest of Mark, both verse by verse and as a whole. To test this, return to read the first three chapters in light your presence in each episode.

We’ve run into the Messianic Secret before. For too many, this provides a way to talk about Mystery without engaging it on a personal level. It is critical to note Pheme Perkins comment: “…the parable theory probably does not belong to the christological use of ‘messianic secret.’”

The disciples receive their “secret” by way of observing healings and hearing parables. The kicker is that those beyond a circle of disciples receive the same. There is no inner-outer distinction here.

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