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Follow Me: Learning to Lead through Following Christ

Lesson5 : Hearing and Receiving the Truth

“With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples (Mark 4:33-34).”

Everyone Can’t Handle the Truth

In the movie A Few Good Men, the character played by Jack Nicholson famously said, “You want the truth, you can’t handle the truth.” It was a very climatic moment. It is still to this day one of the most often quoted movie lines. While it was said for effect, it is actually very true. Everyone can’t handle the truth. Yet as followers of Christ, it is essential that we are able to hear and receive the truth.

What prevents people from hearing and receiving the truth?

How can you tell when someone can’t handle the truth?

Servant Leaders Speak the Truth Clearly, Christ Followers Receive the Truth Willingly

Anyone who has read the New Testament is aware that Jesus taught in parables. What they may not know is why. The reason Jesus taught in parables is revealed in a number of passages in the Gospels. One of those passages in Mark 4:33-34. Let’s consider these verses together to determine why Jesus taught in parables.

What does Mark 4:33-34 reveal about why Jesus taught in parables?

As we continue exploring how we learn to lead through following Christ, there as an aspect of Christ’s ministry as a servant leader that we must understand. Jesus never failed to communicate with clarity. However, not everyone who listened could receive truth in the same way. This reveals another aspect of servant leadership. Servant leaders communicate with clarity at the level of the hearer.

Jesus spoke parables to the crowds because that was the level at which they could hear the truth. Yet He explained everything clearly to the disciples because that was their level of hearing.

What determines a person’s level of hearing?

One’s Heart Condition Determines the Level of One’s Hearing

How is your heart toward Jesus today? How is your heart toward the truth today? These are important questions. Why are they important? They are important because, one’s heart condition determines one’s level of hearing. That’s what Jesus said when the disciples came to Him and asked why He always taught in parables.

Let’s read Matthew 13:10-17

What did Jesus say about why He always taught in parables?

How did Jesus compare the disciples to the crowd?

What does this have to do with communicating clearly?

Jesus made it clear that one’s hearing and seeing are directly linked to the condition of one’s heart. The crowd, who followed Jesus, was hard hearted and did not want to hear the truth. The disciples were open to hearing the truth. As Christ followers, we will only receive the truth at the level of our openness to hear it. A servant leader must learn to communicate the message clearly at the level of hearing of the recipient. Followers of Christ must remove everything from their hearts which prevents them from hearing the message of truth.

What keeps you from hearing and receiving the truth?

When Communication is Clear, Illumination Occurs

John records an encounter between Jesus and the disciples near the end of His earthly ministry. It is kind of a strange encounter. It is found in John 16:25-33. This somewhat unusual episode reveals that illumination occurs when communication is clear. Let’s consider together to see how this happens.

As you read John 16:25-33, what stands out?

What does Jesus reveal about His communication with the disciples until this point?

How did the disciples respond?

What lessons can we learn from this encounter as Christ followers? As servant leaders?


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