Reading Matthew chapters 13 thru 16: If the Sermon on the Mount was a collection of things Jesus taught, and the last reading was a compilation of miracles Jesus performed, then here, beginning with Matthew 13, is a compilation of parables Jesus told. There would appear to be 9 of them. Will what we read of here support or possibly destroy our thesis? Are there really only 10 successive Essential Elements to The Real New Testament Message? Does each fall from the previous? Are they all intricately inter-connected?
From Matthew 13, the first is the Parable of The Sower. We could see it as a parable about soils. Its key is found in verse 15, in the word ‘turn.’ The parable is about understanding, that results in #6, repentance and #7, faith, and whether there has been any, and just how ‘deep’ (v.5) it is. See how this all ends: Verses 41 thru 43, and 49 + 50 relate to us how that #2, sinners (v.41+49) will be #3, severely judged (v. 42+50), but that the #1, righteous will be #10, received into the Kingdom! Put 3:7-12, 5:21+22, 5:29+30, 8:12, 10:28 with today’s 13:40-42 and 49-50. Throw in 10:15, 11:22-24, and 12:35-37; and add 12:41+42 for good measure, and we have no choice, but to conclude that hell is both very real… and very hot! And, we’re not done! There will be still more about hell in Matthew!
Chapter 13 concludes with the effect that #7, faith, or rather, the lack thereof, has to do with the Savior. Chapter 14 relates more of Jesus’ miracles, but also ties in the human response of #7, faith to these in verse 32. Out of chapter 15, verses 1 thru 20, we get a great lesson from Jesus as to what constitutes #2, sin, and where it originates from. It’s in the heart, and is expressed by our thoughts, words and deeds! And, note that they specifically have to do with breaking the 10 Commandments. Here the 6th thru 9th are specified. The Canaanite woman was commended and rewarded for her #7, great faith in Jesus, v.21-28.
Then, with chapter 16, we come to a turning point. Beginning here, Jesus begins to explain precisely how that He would be #4, the Savior, and that it would only be by means of #5, the 2 elements of the Gospel; His death and resurrection, in verses 4 and 21. From this point on, the very most important matters, concerning who Jesus really is, and what it was that He had to do for us, that we might be saved, come to the fore. Our thesis has been in no way harmed, but rather, more strongly supported. There are 10 Essential Elements to the Real New Testament Message. And, it’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell