The Imitation Game is a film based on the story of Alan Turing, in which a British mathematician and his team crack coded messages from the Nazis during the Second World War. The parables (or stories) of Jesus are a bit like codes or puzzles that need cracking. Only these codes reveal the secrets of God’s kingdom. Mark’s Gospel shows us how to crack them. On Day 8 of Higher Bible reading, we have three parables to crack…


Today's reading is from Mark 4:1-35. You can find it on page 763 of your Higher Bible.
You can also read it online here.


So let’s get code-cracking. The hidden message behind the parable of the sower is answering why some people seem to grow with God, whilst others don’t. Some hear and forget, some begin enthusiastic but burn out, some have too much else going on to give him a second look. But the one who sticks with it will eventually see beautiful things spring up in their lives. If Jesus was talking about the lamp on the stand today, perhaps he might phrase it like this: ‘When you put on the big light, it’s so everyone can see in the house.’ In other words, let your faith shine out bright so that nobody is left in doubt how good God is. The tongue-in-cheek parable of the mustard seed compares something as infinitely big as God’s kingdom to something smaller than the pips of an apple. It reveals how God likes to work: turning the littlest things into the most impressive things. So take heart: even if you’re not quite sure what to make of your baby-sized faith at the moment, God can grow it into something impressive.


Ask God for a situation this week where you can shine his goodness into it.

Live It

Today Jesus urged us to ‘put on the big light’. Think of a way you can shine bright this week. It could be as simple as being there for a friend, or it could be something difficult, like making friends with the kid nobody wants to know. Whatever you do, shine bright!


‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – so goes an old Chinese proverb. At the beginning of your second week of regular Bible reading you’re probably about eight steps in. There’s still a lifelong journey to go but you’re heading in the right direction. So keep on walking, you’re doing great. Don’t worry if there are bits that don’t yet make sense. They will. Remember that small beginnings lead to great things with God. See you tomorrow!

Say What?

What does parable mean? In the Old Testament, prophets and teachers used stories to challenge people in their thinking. The same was true of Jesus – he used stories rich in meaning to describe what was happening or what God’s kingdom was like. These stories are known as parables and they always contain God’s truth at the heart of them.