Read 295.) Matthew chapter 13. From 4:23, 7:28+29 and 9:35, we read of the summary passages of Jesus’ ministry among Israel. It was to present Himself to them as their long-promised and awaited Messiah. But, beginning in chapter 9, we learn of the rise of opposition against Jesus by the religious rulers. And, then, with chapters 11 and 12, the leader’s rejection of Jesus is complete, especially with 12:14. Chapter 12 closes with the infamous passage of His own family not believing on Him, and coming to take charge of Him, because they believed that He had lost His mind! Matthew doesn’t come right out and say so, but Mark did. Now, with chapter 13, we turn a corner. Jesus is teaching once again, but in a different manner, and with a different purpose in view. He’ll teach on the nature of the future manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven in some 10 parables, to serve a double purpose of revealing to some, while hiding truths from all the others.
Chapter 13 opens with the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation. As the Word of God goes forth in the world, people will respond in all kinds of manners, but only some will believe, receive and be saved; and go on to bring still more into the Kingdom. Are you producing a crop, and multiplying those in the faith? With the next parable, Jesus explains that even among those who seemingly respond in the most positive sense, there will still be those who are not genuine. Are you real? Jesus further explained that the real ones will be as a sown mustard seed or a bit of yeast, that will greatly expand the Kingdom on earth. With parables of hidden treasure and a precious pearl, Jesus explains how that the real converts completely sell out to receive the Kingdom! And, then, finally, in the end, there will be a gathering and a final judgment. Only those who were the genuine article, will enter into the Kingdom of their Father, while all of the others will be cast into the lake of fire.
Do NOT miss the teaching here, of the certainty of final judgment and the nature of that judgment… that it will be by fire, and will result in excruciating discomfort. Think of the agony one must be enduring to actually be weeping and gnashing their teeth! And, please note, too, if you have missed it… but, this is at least the 9th time, and perhaps more, in which Matthew writes of the severity of final judgment, and that it involves real fire, and goes by the name of hell! People ignore this to their great peril! All these parables are to speak to us. They all apply to you, if their meaning is not hidden to you. Otherwise, if the meaning is hidden… then, they are about you! Next, the ‘new’ meaning and reality of Jesus’ life and ministry, since Israel had rejected Him It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell