As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.Mark 4:10(NASB)
In the preceding verses the Lord told the parable of the sower to a very large crowd, as He sat in a fishing boat on the sea. Jesus ended His teaching with an important command, which not only reminds us to hear His word, but to give our undivided attention to all He says and to inwardly digest all He teaches - "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Teaching in parables became an important tool as Christ's ministry progressed, and it became the main vehicle through which revelation was given to those who followed Him during His earthly life. A heart that was receptive to the gospel was enlightened by the Spirit of God and enabled to hear and understand the truth that Christ taught, while a closed mind found the simple tales He told entertaining but the truth remained incomprehensible.
The simple definition of parable is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning", but Wiersbe's definition is more eloquent and substantial - "A parable begins innocently as a picture that arrests our attention and arouses our interest. But as we study the picture, it becomes a mirror in which we suddenly see ourselves. If we continue to look by faith, the mirror becomes a window through which we see God and His truth. How we respond to that truth will determine what further truth God will teach us."
Teaching in parables became increasingly important after the blasphemous accusation of the religious leaders, that Christ was casting out demons by the power of Satan. It drew a clear line between those who trusted His message, His ministry and His claim to Messiahship and those who rejected His Person and work... and so we read in this verse, "As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables".
Although multitudes enjoyed His stories and the Jewish leaders heard the parable of the sower, it was only a small remnant of believers, along with His twelve disciples, that were privileged to discover its deeper meaning. Because their minds were open to the truth, they waited unto the crowd had dispersed and were alone with Jesus.. and then they questioned Him about its meaning.
The parables Christ taught were generally kingdom parables which provided understanding to those who were ready and willing to receive revelation about the coming kingdom of God... and a clear distinction is drawn between those who were spiritual alert and had an ear to hear all that Christ was teaching and those who were deaf and blind and resistant to the truth of the glorious gospel of God. A line is clearly drawn in the sand between those who were ready and willing to hear and understand and those with a heart of stone and a mind that was closed.
May we search the scripture daily to discover a deeper depth of truth, and a greater understanding of Who Christ is; What He has done and all that it means to those who are saved by grace through faith in Him. There is no limit to the things that God is prepared to show us in His word, if we will get alone with Him and spend time in His word, and are ready and willing to hear His voice.
Let us remember that as we study the Word, it becomes a mirror in which we suddenly see ourselves. But it we continue to look by faith, the mirror becomes a window through which we see God and His truth. May we respond to the truth we receive by faith.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and the truths it contains. Give me a teachable spirit, ears that are ready and willing to hear the truth and a heart that is open and prepared to search the scripture daily, so I may grow in grace day by day, and increase in a knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ... of Who He is and all that He has done for those Who trust in Him. This I ask in His precious name. AMEN.