“He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots”.
Mk 4:34 EHP
In a theological college the students formed themselves into small groups. The evening time every night was devoted to silence for study up till half-past nine with each person in his own room. Then the groups got together and coffee, tea or cocoa was made. Animated discussion ensued, prompted by the question, “What did you make of the Prof’s lecture this morning?” One thought this and one thought that. Someone thought it didn’t make sense – another showed why it did. Sometimes the debates and arguments went on till the small hours of the morning. At the end of the course they all agreed – they had learnt more in the keen dialogue at nine-thirty than ever they would have done if they had stayed on their own wrestling with the lectures.
In a similar way Jesus argued it out with Peter, James and John, and the rest in the privacy and intimacy of their disciples’ circle. How we wish some of those discussions could have been preserved for us all to benefit. But maybe in the gospel records some of the things Jesus is reported to have said have come down in their memories from those private discussions and explanations?
Much growth in discipleship and spiritual formation happens when people can “thrash it out” in fellowship and intimate reflection. When thus you meet to discuss and study the Bible in a close group Christ is there with you as he was when he met with the band of disciples to unravel the meaning of his parables and sayings. Expect to meet him – and to learn.
Lord, teach me more – and keep it simple.