For an introduction to this series, click here.
Jan. 19, 2007
This chapter includes many of the parables in Matthew 13, so we will kind of gloss over them. It starts with the parable of the sower. I'm sure you've heard plenty about this parable, but it is about four kinds of people who hear the gospel. Three are lost; only one shows fruit of salvation. After Jesus tells the parable, the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables. Jesus replied,
"And he said to them, 'To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that 'they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.'"(4:11-12)
I don't think this can be said enough, because so many people out there think Jesus told parables because He wanted everyone to understand. That wasn't the case. As we talked about in the previous chapter, many of these people had already rejected Him. In a way, we could say that Jesus was merciful to them by obscuring the truth. That way they could not be judged more severely for rejecting Christ’s clear message. These people experienced, whether they knew it or not, one of God’s most fearsome judgments: that of being left alone.
The next section tells the parable of the lamp and the basket. Mark's version puts a different spin on it, though. Jesus says that the light of the lamp will bring everything to light before God. I wonder why there are different versions of similar teachings of Jesus found in the different Gospels. Some would say that different people remembered the teaching differently, but I think it is mainly because Jesus used the same stories and illustrations in different situations and different audiences. That just makes more sense to me.
The next parable is of a bag of seed. A man planted it, but doesn't know what kind of seed it is. But when the seed comes up, he harvests it. This one has a similar message to the one that follows it, the parable of the mustard seed. The kingdom of God progresses slowly, and no one can understand or even see when it grows, but grow it does, with God's help.
The last section tells the story of the calming of the storm on the sea. I need to go.