"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Matthew 13:24-58 -- "The kingdom of heaven is like..."

Finishing up Matthew 13 today.

First the kingdom was sown by the planter
as discussed here.   The seed, according to Wiersbe, is the Word of God which is "living and powerful" (Heb. 4:12). "The truth of God must take root in the heart, be cultivated, and permitted to bear fruit" which is the result of true salvation.  Fruit includes things such as holiness, good works, Christlike character, worshiping God and so forth.

As we learned a lot of the seed never produced fruit.  Only that which fell upon good soil was fruitful.

The rest of Matthew 13 contains six parables that begin with "the kingdom of heaven is like."  It includes

1.  wheat in a field growing alongside weeds which will be separated at harvest
2.  a mustard seed which grows into a large plant
3.  leaven or yeast in dough
4.  a hidden treasure
5.  a pearl of great value
6.  a fishing net which gathers good and bad fish which will be separated

Wiersbe suggest the first three parables "reveal that Satan is primarily an imitator:  He plants false Christians, he encourages a false growth, and he introduces false doctrine."  He also believes the hidden treasure represents Israel, the pearl is the church and the fishing net represents the saved Gentile nations who will enter the kingdom.   His views on those things are rather interesting, but they are much further symbolic than I've ever taken them to be.  I've tended just to take the parables more as symbolic of the kingdom of heaven since that's what Jesus was talking about. 

This chapter ends with Jesus returning to his hometown, the people marveling at his miracles and words then being offended by him because apparently they were unwilling to believe a local boy could grow up to be as wise and wonder-working as this Jesus seemed to be. 

53When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. 55"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57And they took offense at him.
      But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
 58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

I wonder why it was such that a prophet was without honor in his own hometown.  Notice Jesus didn't do many miracles there. Their lack of faith deprived them of what he was able to do. God likes our faith!


Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, pg. 45-48


Lat said...

Very interesting thoughts here.i like how 'fruit' is explained.

" Fruit includes things such as holiness, good works, Christlike character, worshiping God and so forth.."

I believe it's basically all good that is done with a sincere,devoted and a loving heart.

So Jesus did not perform any miracles for those who knew him.But you can't really blame them when someone from a family they know so well comes along doing miracles claiming to be so and so.It's not easy to believe as seen in all prophets' stories.

Amber said...

'...a box of chocolates!'

*crickets* Oh, you all know you snickered a little. Just admit it.:p

Ok. So, the first parable, of the wheat and the tares, growing together in the same field. I was taught that that was a reference to Satan, who follows Christ and sows false faith and religions in his wake. And, again, we come to the idea that lies work best when they're very similar to the truth.

I was taught that the mustard seed and the leaven represent the disciples, who being only a few men (a little leaven, a tiny seed), 'encompassed the earth' with the faith that they spread. It could also stand for faith itself entering a person's soul, causing virtue to begin to sprout within them. A little 'seed', a great harvest.

The hidden treasure, if I remember correctly, represents those who accidentally stumble across God and the truth, and even though they maybe weren't looking for Him, they receive Him with great joy, recognizing what a treasure they have been given. The pearl...um...I think that the pearl is supposed to represent those who are looking for God, and surrendering all of their worldly things, find Him and the truth. Because it's worth, you know, *everything*.

Personally, I think that the fishing net is mostly a reiteration of the wheat and the tares parable. It helps emphasize the point that even those who are gathered into the church must be judged. It's not an automatic 'in'.

Anonymous said...

OOOOO its SO pretty here! I love your new layout!

So guess what? Last week I was speeding thru the carolinas on my way to Atlanta. Thought about you the ENTIRE time and wish I had access to my emails so I could tell you "hey, I am near you!" I even stopped at a rest area in both states to pray with my husband. It was nice.
I wish I had more time to stop and see you. In fact, there were a couple of others too I wish I had time to visit. I told my husband I HAVE to go back and have more time so that I can visit. He said I could, but honestly, our time was on a tight tight schedule. --we went on a road trip to New York by the way lol

Anyway, I want to start blogging again, can't wait actually, and wish I could just get myself on a schedule to get that done.

I'll be around
Much love to you

Susanne said...

Lat, yeah, it seems hard for people to believe someone who grew up among them could be chosen by God. I can understand somewhat as I tend to be skeptical of this as well. :)

Susanne said...

Amber, haaaa! OK, Forrest. :) Thanks for telling what each of the parables means. My understanding of them is more in line with yours than what the commentary I read said. I know parables are metaphoric/symbolic, but this guy was taking it a bit farther. It was interesting though, but I like the simpler explanations you gave better. So thanks!

Susanne said...

Shell, how nice to see you! I think about you from time to time and wonder how you've been. I see you've been driving across the East Coast...ha, ha! You adventurer! :)

Eager to hear about your summer and whatever you want to share on your blog. Great to see you again! Hugs!