Tonight we continue our study of Matthew 13 with verses 24-43. Jesus continues teaching only in parables to his disciples.
He starts with a parable on wheat and tares. The story is that a man sows wheat seed in his field but when he is sleeping, another man comes and sows tare seed in his field as well. So when the seed grows, both wheat and tares come forth. We are familiar with wheat as a food source. Tares on the other hand are not such common knowledge. Tares look exactly like wheat until they mature. The difference in the fruit they bear is that the tares can cause dizziness and nausea when eaten whereas wheat has been a reliable food source for thousands of years and still is today.When the combination of wheat and tares in the crop is apparent, the man’s servants alert him to this. The man knows that an enemy has contaminated his crop with this wheat imposter. Rather than immediately uprooting the tares and risking destroying the wheat as well, the man instructs his servants to reap the whole crop once the harvest is ready and to separate the wheat from the tares. The tares are to be destroyed in fire while the wheat is kept for later use.
Later on in tonight’s passage (verses 36-43), Jesus explains the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus explains the meaning very clearly and the parable ends up being a very effective way for us to understand what will happen when the world ends/on the day of judgment. God will not prematurely destroy those that heed the devil and the ways of the world but will rather wait until the end of the world to reward and punish people in accordance with their beliefs and obedience. The lesson here? We need to make sure that we are listening to and obeying the right voice. Is it God’s Holy Word? Or am I freely giving in to the desires and temptations that I encounter?
The second parable in this passage is the parable of the mustard seed in verses 31 & 32. Have you ever seen how small a mustard seed is compared with the tree it can produce? The seeds are tiny and the trees can become huge. This parable is told by Christ to show how the holy Word of God can spread to give life and love in our lives and in the lives of others. Take a moment to recall the things Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 5. The Beatitudes showed us meekness, purity and mercy. Later in that chapter we also learned how to love our enemies and freely give of our belongings. By doing such things and spreading the Word of salvation through Jesus Christ, we can become blessings to others. The kingdom of heaven is something that can grow to be a home for God’s people. This is how the Lord’s church is meant to function: a group of believers that love and support one another, all under the care of a loving and righteous God.
The third and final parable for tonight is the parable of the leaven. This is a companion parable to the parable of the mustard seed in that it illustrates how God’s providence serves to increase our faith, love and devotion. A little bit of leaven transforms the meal into bread. Just like that, God’s Word can transform you and me into new creatures when believed and obeyed.
We will conclude tonight’s study with a reaffirmation of prophecy that shows that Jesus was meant to fulfill the prophecy to teach using parables. In verses 34 & 35 the Word affirms that Christ is fulfilling the prophecy set forth in Psalm 78.
The primary application for tonight is to understand that the kingdom of heaven (the church) and the Holy Word of God (the Bible) are both in turn supreme blessings given to us by our amazing God. He has provided for us and has given us a way to increase our blessings. So why not turn to Him in good times and in bad? Why not lean on Him and on fellow Christians when things go wrong? Why not think to praise Him first when things go right?
Remember that God can do more for us than we can even comprehend: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Please join me in praising Him!