In Mark 4:30-41, I found a series of events that, to me, represent the positives and the challenges of being close to Jesus.
The closer you are to Jesus, the more He will reveal to you.
In verses 30 -34 Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed and in verses 33-34 it says,
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
Verses 33 and 34 show us that Jesus’ aim was definitely NOT to confuse the crowd. He was kind enough to use parables, stories, when speaking to the crowd. His aim was not to set himself far above the people by using big words or speaking in a way they would not understand, but to come down to each and every single person’s level and actually communicate the kingdom of God to them.
I recently attended Momentum, a young adults conference and one thing a speaker, Tim Ross, said was that ‘those who stick around will get a revelation of Jesus that those who left never get.’ And I think this sentence explains so well what happened here in Mark 4. It was only when Jesus was alone with the 12 men he had been consistently doing life with that he explained everything. Maybe it was only then that He could. I truly believe that if someone from the crowd decided to follow Jesus for the rest of that day, they would have heard Jesus explaining everything. If they insisted, cancelled all their plans for that day, if they were not satisfied with the little they had heard, if they told Jesus they wanted to know more, I believe He would have taken them for a coffee, sat them down and explained everything.
Being close to Jesus means making time to spend with Him and getting to know Him better. It means He can trust you and will reveal more of His heart to you because He knows you want to hear it.
Being close to Jesus does not mean being present in church every Sunday. It’s about the posture of the heart, not the body.
The closer you are to Jesus, the more He expects of you.
Later on in the chapter, we see the disciples freaking out about a storm, Jesus calming the storm and His disciples.
‘He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”’
After rebuking the wind and calming the waves, Jesus turns to the disciples and basically tells them he expected more from them. Verse 36 mentions that there were other boats around so the people in the boats must have experienced the storm too. I can imagine Jesus pointing to the other boats around and saying ‘I would expect this fear and hopelessness from them’ and then looking at His disciples and saying ‘but not from you.’ The disciples had been closer, they had heard and seen things that the crowd hadn’t heard or seen. When you’re close to Jesus, you’re expected to go through the storms of life differently, you’re meant to react and to live differently because you have been with Jesus. You cannot spend time with Jesus consistently and remain the same. More is expected from you. You’re held to a higher standard.
So being close to Jesus means more is revealed to you, but it also means that more is expected from you. The most important thing though is to stay close. Stay close to the one who made you, who loves you and who died and resurrected for you.