In the Zone – Ha-Makom

We want to impress on Harmony Bible group leaders the importance of disciple-making friends and the skill of listening, asking powerful questions, and provoking a faith-filled response. This article is an introduction which we would be glad to explore further during a training workshop. 

Rabbis call it Ha-Makom which means ‘the Place’. They’re not talking about ‘basketball’ or ‘flow’ but the “inter-subjective space” in which the reality of our communion dissolves the boundaries of what is yours and what is mine, the haves and have-not’s, the teacher and the learner (John 17:21).

On Thursday of the Passion Week, Jesus say to his disciples John records an intimate moment between Jesus and his disciples writing, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). The greek word for used here for friend is philos (φίλος). The modern Hebrew word for friend, haver (f. havera) and Rachel Adler explains that the root of the word means means “to join together at the boundaries.” Elizheva Hurvich writes that the Aramaic word hebruta, which coincides with haver, refers to the “practice of learning in pairs”.

C.T.Studd Quote
To whom are you called to share the Gospel?

Isn’t this the reality also of our experiences. Friends who follow Jesus together learn more, encourage and strengthen one another. Spiritual abuse emerges in communities that fail to respect and value each person.  In the company of true friends we find belonging and its lateral dependencies shown in the Emotivational Spectrum which are: connection, and value. The practice of being a friend eliminates false barriers, covetousness, and fears, while fostering harmony, love and mercy. As illustrated in the Emotivational Spectrum the polar compound of Connection is Interdependency (and its lateral dependencies are intimacy and freedom).  With this understanding we see essential facets of such friendship and can begin to comprehend why making disciples requires us to engage in relational ministry.

As iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17), Elizaheva explains “‘Two scholars sharpen one another’, through discussion and debate, forming each other’s insight into the text (Ta’anit 7a)”. We would emphasis listening and dialog more than debate or discourse, just as we would emphasize friendship and discipleship over authority and dogma.  If you want to get a head start on learning these skills and values I suggest you read up on “Appreciative Inquiry” and “Powerful Questions“.

The Harmony of the Gospels reveals 138 questions which Jesus answered. Taylor Holmes reports that 52 were questions Jesus posed while teaching; and 61 questions were asked by others (25 of these by the disciples).  One of the questions the pharisees asked Jesus was on Tuesday during Holy Week in their final effort to ensnare him, rather than learn or hear the Good News. It is recorded in Section 135 of the Harmony of the Gospels (Mt 22:34-40 / Mark 12:28-34) – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus answered quoting from Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18. His reply in the Gospel according to Mark began with the word “hear” (shamah) translated listen, heed‘ and “thou shalt love” (agapaō). I am sure that if we would employ these two commandments we would experience an evangelistic explosion!

To wrap up this lesson, disciple-makers elicit the spiritual aspirations as they engage in disciple-making friendships.  They explore the scriptures together, learning from one another, making room for questions, connection, and prayer in that sacred space (Ha-Makom) where our communion strengthens our friendship (haver). In that moment, in that context, we fulfill the first and the second greatest commandments, honoring both our covenant with God and our covenant with our community of faith.


Jesus Teaches in Parables

Week 55 | Section 64a,b

Jesus Teaches in ParablesJesus’ parables sparked interest among his followers and for generations to come. In this study we’ll explore the reason for parables and also delve into the first of nine parables about the Kingdom at this time in Jesus’ ministry.


Section 64a
[one_third last=”no”]Matthew 13:1-3a
1 On that day1Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3a He spoke to them many things in parables,2 saying,[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no”]Mark 4:1-2
1 Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea. 2 He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching, [/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes”]Luke 8:4
4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.3 [/one_third]
Section 64b

[one_third last=”no”]Matthew 3:b-23
3b “Behold, a farmer went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Others fell on rocky ground,4 where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among thorns.5 The thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.6 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”7  10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.8 12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled,9which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive: 15 for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and would turn again; and I would heal them.’10¯11 16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.12 17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them. 18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”13[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no”]Mark 4:3-25
3 “Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. 6 When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some produced thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.” 9 He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10 When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “To you is given the mystery of God’s Kingdom, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, 12 that ‘seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.’”









13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables?14 14 The farmer15 sows the word.16  15 The ones by the road are the ones where the word is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 These in the same way are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble.17 18 Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word, 19 and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.18  20 Those which were sown on the good ground are those who hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times.”


21 He said to them, “Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 He said to them, “Take heed what you hear.19With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away from him.”20[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes”]Luke 8:5-18
5 “The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. 6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. 8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and produced one hundred times as much fruit.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

9 Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?” 10 He said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, but to the rest in parables; that

‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.












12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.

13 Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation. 14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.





15 Those in the good ground, these are those who with an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and produce fruit with perseverance.


16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed; nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has.”[/one_third]

Group Dialog:

  1. With whom do I associate most this parable?
  2. When I hear Jesus speak what do I think he’s trying to say about the Kingdom?
  3. As a disciple, what am I going to do with the truth I just heard in this parable?

Learning Objectives:

As disciples constant learners and doers, evangelism, teaching, prepare your heart, repent, love of Christ, first love, seek God, study the Word of God, disciples make disciples.

Photo: The reflection on a pond in Orlando, Florida. A reflection on the pond, like the use parables, provides us a new perspective on the truth.

Study Notes: