We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

(Thursday, 12/13/07) Parables 2, 3 & 4 of the Similitudes - The Sower and the Soils, The Reason for Parables & The Explanation of the Sower

The Sower and the Soils - The beginning of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:1-9

Jesus ends this parable with the statement, “He who has ears, let him hear.” What does He mean? What is necessary for hearing or better -- understanding the parables? An open and receptive heart. How do we know that? He will tell us in the next section

The Reason for Parables

Matthew 13:10-17

Chiastic Structure
--> 1. “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.
----> 2. “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
------> 3. ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
--------> 4. And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
----------> 5. For the heart of this people has become dull,
------------> 6. And with their ears they scarcely hear,
--------------> 7. And they have closed their eyes
--------------> 7’ Lest they should see with their eyes,
------------> 6’ And hear with their ears,
----------> 5’ And understand with their heart and return, And I should them.
--------> 4’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see;
------> 3’ and your ears, because they hear.
----> 2’ “For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men
--> 1’ desired to see what you see, and did not see [it]; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear [it].

This whole section can be outlined as a chiasm. At the center of the chiasm is the most important part - the focus of the passage. Numbers 5,6 & 7 reveal the root problem and give us a progression. Because they had hard hearts, they could not hear Jesus’ words. Because they would not listen to His words, they could not see who He was. They could not see that He was the Messiah. Therefore they could not see the kingdom that had come upon them.

When you understand this, the miracles which involved restoring sight to the blind take on new significance. They become physical symbols of the spiritual blindness of Israel.

The reason Jesus told the parables was to hide the truth from those with hard hearts who did not want to hear the truth and did not want Jesus as their Messiah. They were looking for a different type of Messiah. They wanted one who would come in and defeat their earthly enemies right then.

But while He was hiding the truth from the hard hearted, he was also revealing truth to those who had open hearts and were willing to accept the truth, even if it was not what they expected.

What did the prophets and righteous men not see nor hear that the disciples were hearing about and soon to see? (Matt 13:17) The interadvent age. In OT Israel there was the present age and the age to come. The age to come was the kingdom where the Messiah would rule. What the prophets and righteous men did not see or hear about was the church age. They only saw one coming of the Messiah in the OT. They didn’t see him coming to die the first time, and returning later to judge. (Isa 61:1-2)

What Jesus is doing is revealing truth about the interadvent age - the church age - a mystery form of the kingdom. Matt 13:12 says, “what they have shall be taken away...” What is it that they don’t have? Spiritual insight. What will be taken away? Their responsibility. Because they rejected Jesus, their responsibility to reach the world - bless the world would be taken from them and given to others - the church.

The Explanation of the Sower

Matthew 13:18-23

This is one of the few parables that Jesus explains, and there is still much debate about its meaning. The question that I always hear debated is the state of the “soils.” Which soils represent saved or unsaved people? I don’t think we are to try to determine which ones are saved or not. The next parable will tell us why.

But what lessons can we learn from this parable?

- One lesson we can learn is that we need to sow the word. There will be results. Some will reject, some will accept and bear fruit. Our job is to spread the good news.
- Another lesson is that people need to have an open heart to receive the word. We cannot convince them intellectually of the Truth and their need for Jesus. Their hearts must be prepared and ready.
- We also need to have an open heart to hear the word. We need to let it speak to us. We do not want to be like the man in James that looks in the mirror and does not notice the things that need fixing.

No comments: