Master to Messiah Day 12
Week 3 >> Day 2
Matthew 13:1-13, 13:47-52
The Parable of the Sower
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.
Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
The Parable of the Net
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate
the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do you understand all these things?”
“Yes,” they said, “we do.”
Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
This marks a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. He begins to teach in parables. He takes stories of common day events and uses them to teach spiritual lessons. Only those with insight are able to understand. Peter and the disciples wonder about this, and ask Jesus often about the meanings of the parables Jesus tells.
Jesus uses the parables to teach principles from the kingdom of God. In the first parable you read, Jesus contrasts four different kinds of listeners by using four different kinds of soil to describe the condition of people’s hearts. He wants the disciples to understand the importance of their role in being open to accepting truth and cultivating it. In the second parable you read, Jesus teaches that even to the end of this age, people will still be divided into two camps: the wicked and the righteous. He then asks His disciples if they understand everything He has told them. They reply, “Yes, we do.” And since they understand, Jesus tells them that they are now responsible for enlightening others to the same truths through their teaching.
If we refuse to hear and understand the parables, we refuse to look at things from God’s perspective. Our fear and pride confines us to our own perceptions, and therefore, we never will understand the kingdom of heaven and what it is like. This method of teaching presses Jesus’ disciples to deeper understanding and requires them to pursue their relationship with Jesus on a more intimate level. Jesus and the Holy Spirit use His Word and our stories to teach us, much like they are doing here for the disciples.
Ask God to open the hearts of those in our community who need to hear the Gospel message.
- Why do you think Jesus uses parables to teach? What is it about this method that is so effective?
- How can traditions and fears keep us from seeing or hearing the truth?
- Pray that you will be able to see things from God’s perspective and that God will give you a deeper understanding of the kingdom of heaven.