Today's Reading - Matthew 12 - 13:52
Matthew groups Jesus' teachings into five major sermons by Jesus (perhaps connected to the five Books of Moses). Chapter 13 is often called the Parabolic Discourse as it is comprised almost entirely of parables.
Jesus explains that he teaches in parables because "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you (the disciples), but not to them." It is only those who choose to follow Jesus and be in relationship with him - including the readers of Matthew's Gospel - who are able to fully grasp the nature of God's coming kingdom.
Each of these parables give some glimpse into this new way of life. We learn that entrance into this kingdom is a matter of the heart rather than of ancestry, that the kingdom starts small and grows to an immense size, and that it is of such value that those who recognize it will give up everything to claim their place in it.
Perhaps one of my favorite parables in this sermon is the parable of the weeds. The revelation that God's kingdom (the wheat) will continue to grow, even while evil (the weeds) grows alongside. Despite what we see on the news, the world is not simply getting worse and worse; Christ's kingdom advances daily. And yet, we cannot right this broken world on our own. The weeds will remain until the harvest. We, therefore, have two tasks. First, we seek opportunities to build upon the foundation Jesus laid, by sharing the gospel with the lost, rescuing the oppressed, caring for the poor, and worshipping the triune God. Second, we join our voices with the church of every time and place, praying, "Come, Lord Jesus!"
Are you in a relationship with Christ such that you can be open to the secrets of the kingdom of heaven?
Would you give all you have to possess Christ's kingdom? Do you value anything higher than the kingdom?
Where do you see the church advancing? Are you part of that progress?
Where do you see evil continuing to grow? What can the church do in those situations?
Ok, put the Bible down and go do it!