Whose Line is it Anyway began as a radio program in Great Britain before moving to television in 1988. This improvisational comedy show uses 4 celebrities who participate in a series of skit like activities. The only catch is that these individuals must make up things as they go, without any planning, off to the top of their heads. From 1998 to 2007, Drew Carey served as the host with Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles as the regular contestants, alternating a few others as the fourth. One of the games played is Questions Only, where interactions between 2 people must begin with a question. If not, contestants get buzzed by the host, switching with the person on their side of the stage. The concept of questions only is nothing new as Jesus used this conversational style to reveal the mystery of the kingdom of God during the first century.
As soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, together with the twelve [disciples], began asking Him about [the interpretation of] the parables, Mark 4:10.
The first 4 books of the New Testament include 46 parables used by Jesus. These simple stories were used to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth. Similar to modern analogies, stories tend to hold the attention of an audience. Jesus used common occupations such as farming or fishing to speak to the massive crowds which followed him. In a sense, Jesus was a motivational speaker, using faith as the vehicle to overcome the obstacles confronting people. The context of the passage above follows the Parable of the Sower. This story involves seeds planted in four different types of soils. Each environment upon which these seeds fell greatly influenced the overall growth. Perhaps confused by these details, the disciples requested a private meeting with Jesus, hoping to clarify the correct interpretation of this parable. This is where Jesus began to unveil the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
He said to them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you [who have teachable hearts], but those who are outside [the unbelievers, the spiritually blind] get everything in parables, Mark 4:11.
The apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-20 claims that all human beings come into contact with the invisible qualities of God. Signs of creation like rainbows, sunsets and the birth of a newborn child are clearly seen so that no one is without excuse. This sets the stage for the Parable of the Sower. The kingdom of God is presented to everyone at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the timing is not always good. Thus, some people receive this news when their heart is hardened, landing on compacted ground. This seed is stolen by the evil one. Others are introduced to Jesus during rocky times, when people are unstable, not on firm footing. Thus, without any room for roots to develop, storms, turbulent times and unforeseen events uproot any type of faith that had been planted. Meanwhile, many people seek God when stress, trials or worries become too much of burden. However, if these conditions persist, joy for life is lost, choked by spiritual briar patches and sticker bushes that continue to wound your soul. The only way to recover from bad environments is by plowing the soil around you to allow living water to nurture the seed sown into your heart. If necessary, add bags of dirt, remove any rocks that stunt growth and don’t forget to weed wack. May you reach the point of Matthew 9:12, mature enough to feed yourself spiritually with a combination of Bible Study, prayer and worship. Come to your senses quickly and emulate the persistent widow so that the kingdom of heaven will be your home, John 14:2.
by Jay Mankus