Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Matthew 13 - Part 2

Last time in Matthew Part 1 we learned that when Jesus returns counterfeit Christians will be recognized and removed from Christ's church. 

Where is your value?  Is it Christ and eternity?  Nothing is more important than that.  The Kingdom of Heaven is used six times in these parables.  What is the Kingdom of Heaven?  Jesus is the King and through His grace we can be part of His Kingdom.  Through the Holy Spirit we show the world the Kingdom of God.  In the future Jesus will reign here on earth.  One day we will all understand what it all truly means. 

Jesus continues His teaching in parables.  In these parables He did not explain to the disciples what they meant as He did with the previous parables.  In verse 51 Jesus asked them if they understood the parables and they answered, "yes".  It could have been because they would not have understood anyway. He had not gone to the cross and given up everything yet.  Jesus knew they would truly understand these prophetic mysteries when they entered their ministry after His death and ascension. 

Matthew 13:31-35 - The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast 

The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast seem to have the same meaning.  I will give you my interpretation.  Jesus compared the mustard seed as the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus planted the seed of the gospel and some people believed.  The seed is so powerful that as time passes it influences more and more people to believe and spreads over the whole earth.  The mustard seed becomes the largest tree in the garden.  The birds who come to perch in the tree represent evil.  These are those who are counterfeit Christians, take advantage of true Christians, and hinder the gospel.   

To me the Parable of the Yeast has the same meaning.  The yeast is like the Kingdom of Heaven which influences the world.  The flour represents the world.  Yeast is powerful and a little bit goes a long way and influences the whole batch of flour. Both parables prophesy the tremendous expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven to come. 

God's Kingdom will spread according to his plan and purpose.
The work and purposes of God are often underestimated, but are unstoppable. 

What are you doing to help spread the gospel and grow God's Kingdom? 

Matthew 13:44-46 - The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl 

Here Jesus again does not explain the parables.  There are two ways to look at these: 

One is that our treasure is Jesus Christ Himself and to have Him we must give up everything to follow Him.  The other is that we are His treasure.  What a great feeling to know we are His treasure.  He loves us and gave up everything for us.  Thank you Jesus!  

One meaning of the Parable of the Pearl is that Pearl is Jesus and the merchant is us.  In the story we (the merchant) seek God (the Pearl) and when we finds Him, we give all we have to acquire Him.  Another meaning is the man or merchant is Jesus and the church is the Pearl.  Jesus paid the price of death for us, the church. 

Jesus shows His great value and sacrificial love for His own.  He gave up everything for us and we need to give up everything to follow Him.  He loves us and we should love Him as much.  He is our treasure and we are His.  What a comfort for those who belong to Him.  

Are you His treasure?
What specific treasure has God given you?
How faithful are you in sharing your treasure of Jesus with others?
How does your life truly show He has died for you?

The Church and believers are special treasures to Jesus.
Nothing is more valuable than God's kingdom.

One day Jesus and His Kingdom will be revealed to all.  Are you prepared for that day?  There is nothing more valuable that Christ and His Kingdom.  Is He your treasure?

Matthew 13:47-50 - The Parable of the Net 

"Once again the Kingdom of God is like a net.." - Matt. 13:47.  The Net is the Word of God.  The good fish are true believers.  The bad fish are unbelievers and counterfeit Christians.  The fisherman are angels.  At the end of the age there are two outcomes for the two types.  These are similar to the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:39-43.  When Jesus returns the angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous.  The righteous will be with Jesus in heaven and the wicked will be thrown in the fiery furnace.  This parable prophesies the judgment to come. 

At judgment God will separate the wicked from the righteous.
God's promises and power are real and our appropriate response is to believe and share them with others. 

What is your responsibility to Jesus' repeated warning? 
Will you share the gospel with someone before it's too late? 

Matthew 13:53-58 - The Rejection 

After Jesus finished the parables He went to His home town.  He preached in the synagogue and the people were amazed at His wisdom, but instead of accepting Him as the Son of God they took offense and rejected Him.  "Isn't this the carpenter's son?  Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?" - Matt. 13:55.  Rejection of Him continues even today.  Jesus did not do any miracles in His hometown.  Perhaps because the people had no faith in Him and would not have listened or believed anyway.  He did not waste His time.  

One who believes and serves is often rejected by family and others.

Have you ever tried to be a witness and experienced others would not listen to the Word of God?
What can you do in this situation?
What is it He's showing you again and again?  Ask Him to show you His truths.
How will you let these truths be a priority in you day?
Will you let God help you see what really matters?
How do you respond to God's Word?  Every time you read the Word you are responding to Him in some way.  If you resist His Word, you are resisting Him.  If you received His Word, you are receiving Him. 

All these parables are prophetic and relate to the God's kingdom, which is the church all through the ages.  They show the different reactions to the preaching of the gospel; they tell of the expansion of the kingdom of God to come; they reveal there are counterfeit Christians in the church; they tell us that we are the Lord's treasure and how important we are to Him; they tell of the judgment to come with the separation of the righteous and the wicked. 

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and you are now ready to get back on track with the study of Matthew.  See you next week for Matthew 14.


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