Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Matthew 13:1-17


1 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. 3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying,

``Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some, seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 ``Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 ``But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 ``Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 ``And others fell on the good soil and yielded* a crop, some, a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 ``He who has ears, let him hear.''

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, ``Why do You speak to them in parables?'' 11 Jesus answered them, ``To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 ``For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 ``Therefore, I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

14 ``In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, `YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.' 16 ``But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 ``For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."

After the Jewish leadership rejects Jesus as God's Messiah, Jesus shifts His method of teaching. Jesus begins speaking in parables.

Parables are the simplest of narratives: they sketch a setting, describe an action and its result; they often involve a character facing a particular moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences of that choice. Though not every moral narrative is a parable, many fairy tales would be viewed as extended parables, except for their magical settings. In the Biblical sense, a parable is simply "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."

Jesus has been clearly presenting Himself and performing the appropriate miracles as the Messiah, but now He is going to move into using the method of teaching by parables. The disciples quickly notice the difference and ask Jesus why He is doing this. His answer was twofold: First, He is using parables in order to conceal and second, He is using them to reveal. They are used to conceal the truth of God from those who are not interested. No matter what Jesus does, these people will not be able to truly see and hear the message Jesus came to give. I see this as an act of grace on His part to not heap up more condemnation upon those who are actively rejecting Him. And secondly, to reveal truth to those who are interested.

NOTE that what is most important to Jesus is that you and I be interested. Well, are you?