Reading For Wednesday Matthew 13:1-52
Matthew’s story includes Jesus’ stories. Many people are familiar with Jesus’ parables, but their importance goes deeper than just story-telling. They function in order both to explain and to conceal his kingdom. In this portion of his gospel, Matthew brings several parables together that shed light on how the kingdom operates. Jesus uses parables to fulfill prophecy (v. 35), divide people, and to confirm faith.
Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Jesus drew from something that would have been quite familiar, a man sowing seed in a field. The story might be better described as the parable of the soils because, as the sower casts the seed out of his hand, it falls into four different kinds of soil, each giving a different result. Some hear it and reject it immediately. Some hear it and receive it with great emotion; but when they are tested, they fall away. Some embrace it but are soon distracted both by the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches choke it, and it does not bear fruit. It is only over time that which is sown in good soil bears much fruit.
Jesus stays with stories of sowing. In this parable, even the good seed is compromised. An enemy sows weeds among the wheat. The children of God and the children of the devil co-exist without separation until the end comes. The angels will gather in the harvest and separate those who belong to Christ from those who belong to the devil. The kingdom is both present, where two seeds can only be distinguished from one another, and future when they will be separated.
The mustard seed may be the smallest of all seeds, and the yeast may be almost indiscernible in the baking mixture, but the effects produced in both cases are far-reaching and thorough. The next two parables demonstrate that the kingdom of heaven is like the discovery of something wonderful and that discovery is so wonderful that its value eclipses the value of everything else. The spiritual blessings of the kingdom of God are incomparable. Finally, Jesus explains that the work of separating people who are evil from the righteous will belong to the angels. The understanding of these things then places a responsibility to share it.
Things To Consider:
- Why is storytelling such an effective way to teach?
- Why is the Holy Spirit necessary for illumination and understanding the scripture?
- All the seed is the same, but the results are different? How does one distinguish the good soil from the rest?
- Why is final judgment necessary?
- How are the values of the kingdom different from the world?
- Why should we be content?
- How are you training for the kingdom?