Jesus Christ: 16th Journey
- Jesus began teaching extensively in Parables to separate those who were sincerely interested from those who were just curious or following Him for entertainment
- Parables may provide an illustrative way to teach truth
- The Kingdom of God is not for those that are just curious, evil, or blasphemous
We begin in Period 4 of Jesus' Life, where He begins speaking to the people in Parables. Now, we are experiencing Parables of the Kingdom of God. We begin reading in Mark 4:1-34; Matthew 13:1-53; Luke 8:4-18. Jesus goes from the house to the seaside, and teaches a great crowd out of a boat. He uses Parables and explains why He uses this method to teach; The Sower and its interpretation, The Seed Growing of Itself, The Tares, The Mustard Seed, The Leaven, and others.
Great crowds followed Jesus, and were often a hindrance to His Progress in the Gospel. Jesus began teaching extensively in Parables to separate those who were sincerely interested from those who were just curious or following Him for entertainment.
His audience targets were the following:
- Sower and Seeds = Farmers and Gardeners
- Leaven = Homemakers or Bakers
- Hid Treasures/Pearls = Prospectors or Miners
- Dragnet = Fishers
- Household = Tailors
The Parable of the Sower draws its lessons from four different types of soil rather than standard work of the sower. The preacher puts the message of the Kingdom into people’s hearts as a farmer puts seed into the ground; however, people’s hearts vary just as the soil varies in different places.
Some people hear the message; however, they don’t understand it because they are disinterested. Others show early interested; however, they soon give up, because they have not a deep spiritual concern. Others are too worried about the affairs of everyday life. Only a few respond to the message in faith; however, when they do, their lives are changed and see a spiritual harvest!
Parables may provide an illustrative way to teach truth; however, they are more than just illustrations, for their purpose is to make the hearers think about the teaching. Those who gladly receive His Teachings will find the Parables full of meaning. Because of this, their ability to understand God’s Truth will increase; however, those who have no sincere interest in Jesus’ Teachings will see no meaning in the Parables whatsoever, and therefore, their spiritual blindness will only grow dimmer and their stubborn hearts harder.
Because their wills are opposed to Jesus and His Teachings, they cannot appreciate His Teachings or Works, to which, their sins remain unforgiven.
Those who are just curious will lose interest in Jesus through these Parables, because the basic purpose of each Parable is to enlighten the audience, not darken. A Parable is like a lamp that is put on a stand to give light, to which, it is not hidden under a bowl or bed. The more thought people put to His Teachings, the more enlightening of a blessing they receive. However, if people remain lazy and do not think about His Teachings, their ability to appreciate spiritual truth will only decrease until it is completely gone.
Jesus comes back to the Parable of the Sower, as He shows the good seed will always produce healthy plants and good fruit if given opportunity. The farmer sows the seed; however, he must wait for the soil to react with the seed so it can grow. Similarly, the messenger of the Gospel must have patience in his faith in God as the message works in people’s hearts.
In the Parable of the Tares, two types of seed produce two types of plants in the same field. The plants are wheat and weeds (tares in Scripture), which are not separated while they are growing, for they depend on the farmer to root out the weeds. The weeds are left until harvest time with the wheat, and then the wheat is put into the barn but the weeds destroyed. As preachers and teachers, we sow the seed, but we do not pull up the tares, for the Lord will do this at the end of the age.
Jesus interprets this as in the present world, those who are in the Kingdom of God live alongside those who are not. This was completely different from popular Jewish thinking, because they expected the Kingdom to come in one mighty act that would destroy all enemies and set up God’s Rule of Righteousness and Peace; however, Jesus points out that His Kingdom is in the world already, but will have its climax at the end of World history. When such time comes, the wicked will be destroyed, but the righteous saved to share in the Kingdom’s triumph!
The Mustard Seed
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is told next, to which, the mustard seed is a different kind of seed that has no nutritional value. The mustard seed does not grow into a mighty oak like an acorn; rather, it’s a shrub that thrives best in desert land. It is the least of all seeds; however, the tree described became large enough for birds to find a place to roost.
The interpretation then, is that this foretells the expansion of the Kingdom of God as seen in the remarkable growth of the Church—which grew from small beginnings to a vast community that would cover the planet.
After that was the Parable of the Leaven, to which, a small amount of leaven (yeast) spreads through a lump of dough, which is what would happen for the apparently small Kingdom of God to spread through the world. Leaven is not the Gospel, but the “meal.” Meal is made of grain or seed, and the seed represents the Word of God.
Leaven represents sin or evil, and if leaven were the Gospel, she shouldn’t have hid it. False teachers put leaven in the meal, which produces wrong doctrine in to the Church, leading to apostasy, which was prophesied to come by many people.
The Parable of the Treasure Hid In a Field was about a man finding a treasure, to which he hid, and in his joy, went and sold all that he had to buy that field. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price was about a merchant man who sought good pearls and found one of great price, to which, he went and sold all he had so he could buy it.
Both of these parables show that when people are convinced of the priceless, lastingly valuable Kingdom of God, they will make any sacrifice to enter it. However, those in the Kingdom still live in a world where the righteous and wicked exist together; therefore, they will be separated at the Judgment Day (the last judgment).
Next, is the Parable of the Net Cast into the Sea, where every kind were gathered into vessels, to which, the bad were separated. It shall be the same at the end of the world where the evil will be separated from the good and judged, while the good proceed into the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ Teachings are just as valuable goods in a storeroom that are added to the things the owner has already, such as the Old Testament Scriptures. The Disciples of Jesus have a wealth of teaching available for their benefit! After this, Jesus left.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Many things could qualify for the central message, but the one that wins them all is what follows… The Kingdom of God is not for those that are just curious, evil, or blasphemous; rather, it is for those that are sincerely interested and will risk almost everything if not everything in sacrifice to obtain His Kingdom!
In addition, much of what Jesus teaches above has its own (selfsame) central message that you will need to grow into and understand.
Jesus calmed the storm
We are beginning in Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:18, 23-27; Luke 8:22-25, where Jesus is journeying from the West shore of The Sea of Galilee to some point on the lake. Storms were common on the Sea of Galilee and often came with no warning.
Cold air would sweep down from Mt. Hermon on the North, displacing warm air that was rising from the calm sea. This storm was similar. Jesus needed to rest from all of His Work He had recently done, so He laid down in the boat and slept. The storm didn’t bother Him.
Storms blew up quickly on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus wanted to board a ship to cross the lake, to take a rest from ministry. As they were sailing across the lake, a storm blew in, but it didn’t bother Jesus. The Disciples were sore afraid, and were disappointed with Jesus that He did nothing to help them.
Jesus was asleep on the back of the boat. They wake up Jesus, and He quieted the storm, and then rebuked them for lacking faith. They were amazed at His Power to quiet the storm and the seas.
What can we learn from this?
Even in the midst of storms in our lives, we must be faithful to trust in Him who will provide help in the time of need. We must be patient and willing to endure until the Lord helps us. Yes, He can help us at any time, but He wants us to endure some things so we can become more spiritually strong to withstand trials of our faith!