Monday, February 06, 2006

Matthew 13:1-43

Today's lecture on Empowering the Church is a great exposition on Matthew 13:1-43. As I reflected on it, I uncovered an even more profound mystery.

1) There are Four parables but 1 message.
2) There are Four parables, but the disciples only asked Jesus to explain one.
3) There are Four parables, and all referred to the kingdom of heaven.

What is the kingdom of heaven? Here are some of my thoughts in the form of WHAT IS NOT.

#1 - The Kingdom is NOT about environment.
The 1st parable talk about the parable of the Sower. The good seed on good soil. We might think of it as environment driven. This is supported by the fact of the rocky terrain that limited the growth of good seed. the same parable also talked about seed that were choked by weeds. All of the three can be related in some way to environment. But the 4th example in the devil stealing away the seed certainly pointed to the statement that the kingdom of heaven is NOT about the environment. Seeing the need for more explanation, Jesus went on to the second parable.

#2 - Parable of the Tares/Weeds (NOT about man's timing)
This parable follows the Sower/seed parable. Now Jesus expounded on the need to let the weeds and seeds grow up together and not pre-judged them. Jesus specifically pointed out the folly of determining events in MAN's own time. It is not about man's timing to cut the weeds.

#3 - Parable of the mustard seed (NOT about size)
The mystery deepens, when Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven as likened to a mustard seed, small but potent. The point I gather is that the kingdom is not about size. I remember the Godzilla advertisement that 'Size Does Matter'. In the kingdom, size does not matter. So it is not about size.

#4 - Parable of the leavened bread (not about size part 2)
Again, a little yeast on a little dough gives us bountiful bread.

In summary, the kingdom of heaven is not about the environment, not about fighting evil forces, not about man's timing, not about size, not about all other shapes/sizes. So what is it about? It is about God.

Look at the Parable of the Sower. Sometimes we get too focused on the seeds that we forget that it is the Sower who can save. Look at the Parable of the Seeds/Weeds. It is the Sower who have the eyes to see when is the best time to harvest and separate the good from the bad. Look at the Parable of the mustard seed. It is the Sower who caused the seed to grow. Remember Paul who said that it is 'God who gave the increase'? Look at the little yeast. Can a yeast work the dough in itself? It is the Lord.

The kingdom of God is not about how man sees things, but how God enters the scene, and that makes all the difference.


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