The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 13

Matthew 13

The meaning of Parables: It may seem unfair that Jesus teaches in parables – riddles of sorts. Many listeners hear him but don’t understand. But notice that the disciples also hear without understanding. The difference is that the Disciples are not afraid to ask for help understanding. The key is humility. Everyone reading the Bible has difficulty understanding this or that. “Ask, and it shall be given.” Prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is essential. God’s goal is that we spend time with him, not that we just know him from afar. So these mysteries serve a purpose, drawing us to God. But God also creates a closer fellowship among believers when we discuss the meaning of his word with one another, and so he builds up the church into one body.

The parable of the sower (v1-23) tells of God sowing his word in the world. We are the soil, either having no understanding, no perseverance in trouble or overwhelmed with anxieties and riches; unless we are good soil, letting God’s new life take root in us. Good soil holds the seed, waters it, and is free from other things that choke out the new life.

Don’t forget that most of a field is good soil – but if you suspect that your heart is hard and barren, or filled with ‘weeds’ it can be restored by God. Pray to the farmer that for understanding, perseverance and singular devotion to God. Pray for release from the anxieties and the pleasant distractions that keep you from relying on God

The parable of the Weeds (v24-30 seems to address the problem of evil in the world. Evil is not from God, “an enemy did this.” The angels (v36-43) are kept from destroying the weeds, until the day of judgement. The devil is the bad guy in this parable, but don’t forget that we were enemies to God before we repented. We have sowed our share of weeds in the world. One might say that we were weeds before the grace of God began to transform us. If we were to think that some of the nasty people around us are weeds that will be pulled up and cast away at the judgement, maybe we should remember that one reason God delays his judgement is so that the wicked can repent and become children of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ through the loving witness of his people can change weeds into wheat!

The Mustard Seed (v31-35): we can see that the kingdom of God started small in the world – from a few disciples to billions of redeemed. And it continues to grow like wildfire in most of the world, despite persecution! You may be discouraged if faith seems small in your life: you struggle with doubt and self control. Don’t be afraid! The mustard seed in your soul can grow to fill your whole life, and you can joyfully join in the spread of the Gospel in our generation.

The Hidden Treasure portrays the gospel as something you find. It’s so valuable to you that you’d give up everything else to obtain the prize. The parable of the Net portrays the Kingdom as something that finds us, and catches us up. In this there is a warning – The Kingdom of God is the destiny of every person: God will gather all people before him – and distinguish between the righteous and the wicked. Jesus, about whom we are reading in these Gospels is the treasure we need to have. He will give us His life in us because of his great love, so that we have no fear of his judgement.

The hometown crowd: “In my little town, I never meant nothing I was just my father’s son” (Art Garfunkel). I still find it awesome that Jesus still did a few miracles there, in spite of their rejection – what power, what love!

Lord, my life may be bad soil choked with weeds, but you can plow this fallow ground*, and make it ready to receive your blessing. Show me how I may change, with your help, to prepare.

*Charles Finney has a sermon Breaking up the fallow ground, which is a great resource for turning from anything that is interfering with God’s work in your life: )