February 2 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 23
Often as I teach my kids some important lesson, I’ll add a story about my experience and why that was or was not a good idea in my case. There’s a reason that traditions and teachings through the years have often been passed down orally or in writing through stories. We’ll remember it a lot better if we can attach a story to it. It’s the human experience.
READ: Matthew 13
In today’s reading, Matthew’s argument proving Jesus is the Messiah is centered on Psalm 78:2, which he refers to in verse 35: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” Jesus used parables in his ministry to illustrate truths through a story, and Matthew Chapter 13 is chalk full of them! However, how interesting that the meaning of these parables was hidden to the crowd listening, including his apostles. This was also to fulfill prophecy from Isaiah 6:9-10. Even if they were “ever hearing but never understanding,” they would be more likely to remember a story than a straightforward teaching, and this could lead to seeking meaning and seeking God—that was and is God’s plan. Isn’t that what you’re doing right now? The apostles’ hearts were already seeking, and they asked for Jesus to reveal the meaning of these parables in Matthew 13:36, Mark 4:10 and 34, and Luke 8:9. This is Jesus’ response to their seeking in verse 16: “’But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.’”
For the next three days, we are reading the parable of the sower told by Matthew, then Luke, then Mark. It seems the apostles were hanging on every word coming out of Jesus’ mouth now, so the details are nearly the same in each account. Jesus was telling this parable to a large crowd of people. Thankfully, the apostles were as clueless as I am when it comes to understanding this parable, and were bold enough to ask Jesus what it meant. Jesus lays out the meaning for them in verses 18-23. Luke adds a bit of clarification in 8:11: “’The seed is the word of God.’” So to simplify it and bring it to the elementary level like I taught it last week to my K-4th graders: God’s the farmer, His Word in the Bible is the seed, and we want to be the good soil; we can be the good soil by reading the Bible, praying, and worshipping and serving God. All of these things take time committed to God.
I asked my fellow Discover One Thing friends a few weeks ago about trying to better understand the Kingdom of God, and their responses really helped me today as I read the Parable of the Weeds in verses 24-30 and 36-43, the Parable of the Mustard Seed in verses 31-32, the Parable of the Yeast in verse 33, the Parable of the Hidden Treasure in verse 44, the Parable of the Pearl in verse 45, and the Parable of the Net in verses 47-50. All of these parables tell us different things about the Kingdom of God (Matthew calls it the Kingdom of Heaven to show honor to the Jewish custom of not writing the name of God). The Kingdom of God is both here on earth and in heaven. It is among and within us, intermixed with what is of the world, just as the weeds grew among the wheat, the yeast works through the dough, and the fishermen’s catch includes good and bad fish in the parables. We become sons of the Kingdom (vs. 38) when we believe in and accept Jesus as our Savior. We can experience and treasure the Kingdom of God here on earth, to the point that we give everything we have for the Kingdom of God, just as the man found a treasure and sold all he had to buy the field where he hid it or like the man who sold everything he had to buy a precious pearl. The Kingdom of God starts with Jesus but has grown and is growing into the most beautiful awesome place on earth, just as the mustard seed grew into a beautiful tree, and it will be even more majestic, beautiful, and awesome in heaven! One way I have experienced the Kingdom of God here on earth is through corporate worship; when I close my eyes during worship at our church, I feel as if I am bowing before God on His throne along with every other believer, united in loving God above all. How do you experience the Kingdom of God here on earth?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” –Matthew 7:7
Thank You for opening the door to the Kingdom of Heaven for me! Thank You for revealing Your truths to me when I ask and seek! Help me to be bold like the apostles and ask and seek when I don’t understand Your Word. Seeking You and being Your disciple takes time and commitment; please continue to help me make my time with You a priority.
Posted on February 2, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Bible, Bible Study, chronological gospels, gospel, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Matthew, parable, parable of the sower, SOAP. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.