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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Seven Parables of the Mysterious Kingdom of God -- Matthew 13

 Why Jesus spoke in Parables 
        Jesus came to earth not only to save lost humanity but to also draw people into His Kingdom. Those who reject Jesus and His words like the Pharisees, Sadducees, many Jews and Gentiles cannot understand the mysteries of His Kingdom and are therefore spiritually blind and deaf. Jesus called them “blind leaders of the blind.”  Matthew 15:14
           Jesus used the 7 parables of Matthew 13 to speak truth about His Kingdom, its growth and the separation at the end of the age. These seven parables have a paralleled theme. The word parable comes from the word "parabole," which means to "cast alongside." Jesus cast His kingdom truth alongside an earthly event. Within His parables is Divine truth. Jesus used the things of the earth (natural) to reveal spiritual truth. Why? Jesus is Divine Truth, and because all things were created through Him, He understands all things. The Bible says that "the earth is full of God's glory." Therefore, the whole earth has a divine message from Him.
          Therefore, I speak to them in parables because while seeing, they do not see and while hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand." Jesus is showing these religious leaders that He and they are fulfilling Isaiah 6:10. Jesus ‘words show the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and the will of God as well as the rebellion of unbelief and a lack of spiritual knowledge by the multitudes.
Often Jesus’ parables are double-edged. They divide the true believer from the unbeliever. Because the Pharisees and other unbelievers had hard and unbelieving hearts, they could not see the truth of God’s Kingdom. The Pharisees were teachers of the law and should have seen through Jesus’ words and actions that He was the Messiah for whom they had been awaiting. Jesus kept quoting the very Older Testament scriptures He was fulfilling in their seeing and hearing. Because of their unbelief of Jesus, they did not see that the Kingdom of God had come. They expected an earthly Messiah (king) who would defeat their earthly enemies and set up his kingdom in earthly Israel. Jesus’ kingdom is eternal and spiritual. During His millennial reign, Jesus will establish an earthly, spiritual kingdom in the land of Israel, but ultimately His Kingdom will be an eternal heavenly Kingdom. The earthly kingdom and the heavenly Kingdom will become one in Him.
          While on earth, Jesus wants His disciples to know the character of His Kingdom that they must accept and obey.

Jesus Teaches a Crowd

        Jesus begins by speaking His parables to the multitudes. Because the crowd was getting so large, Jesus " got into a boat, sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach." The One who walks on water is in a boat teaching. The symbolism of Jesus walking on water in the gospels is that He walks on the water of Divine Truth and He wants His disciples to also do so if they are to be effective in establishing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus is the Divine Teacher; the crowd are the hearers. There is a marked difference in the hearing of those hearing His words.
 Perhaps it was a fishing boat that Jesus sat in a few feet from shore, since He is the Divine fisher of men who uses His Divine Word anointed by the Holy Spirit to draw people to Him. Here Jesus teaches His Word on the earthly water as the Holy Spirit teaches people today on the water of the Word anointed by the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus is the Anointed Word, all truth leads to Him.
The truth was veiled to those who didn’t believe in Jesus. His disciples already believed in and knew Jesus, so He did not have to reveal Himself to them. He came to not only save but also to call people into His Kingdom that He will reveal. Jesus had already said that the “Kingdom of God is at hand.” (see Mark 1:15) It was at hand in Him and is different from an earthly kingdom.
The parables of Jesus will harden the hearts of some but enlighten His disciples.  This is the double-edged sword of His Word. The prophet Amos spoke of a time when there would be a famine of the hearing of the Word of God. “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11 This was true during the two testaments of the Word. God was silent for over 400 years! It is also true when Jesus walked the earth. Many would not hear the truth of His Words.
 Jesus tells His disciples that their “eyes are blessed, because you see; and your ears, because you hear.” 13:16 after quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 about those who “keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand.”  Jesus went on to say,  “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” 13:17 Many of those under the Law could not understand the words of Jesus because of their rejection of Jesus who is Divine Truth. The Older Testament prophets and believers only saw in part, but Jesus is the fullness of God’s Truth. His disciples are seeing and hearing from Jesus face-to-face.  Those with spiritual eyes and ears are blessed. Although Christ’s followers have the whole Word of God and Jesus’ words, we too only see in part, “for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 We too will eventually see Jesus face to face and fully understand everything the Word of God speaks.
In revealing the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus begins most of the parables in Matthew 13 with, “the kingdom of heaven is like…..” This parable on the Sower and the seed was so important that it is recorded in three gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke 8:4-6 reveals that people from each city were coming to hear Jesus.

                                                         (to be continued)

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