Last week we spoke about vision and seeing the Kingdom of God and His call and purpose for this congregation, Nachalat Yeshua. It was brought out that, according to Messiah Himself, knowing and understanding the first of His parables is crucial to understanding all the rest of His parables. It is the privilege of His disciples to know them, whereas the multitude does not. The parables of Jesus help us understand the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven as God works in the world today.
There are three series of parables which the Lord gives over the course of His ministry. They seem to have reference to three different stages of Pharasaic opposition and popular feeling. The Pharisees were accusing Jesus of being of the devil, whereas popular opinion was divided, with some wanting to make Him King already. Jesus would speak in parables when those who were following Him – both believers and unbelievers – were not receptive to what He was saying, for example, when they expected the Kingdom to be then rather than include gentiles and be established in the future. The parables helped conceptualize otherwise blanket statements hard to imagine, especially being that the subject matter required spiritual understanding of the things of God. For those who wanted to understand, the Lord would explain His parabolic teaching; for those who did not, even the parable became a further proof of their hardened hearts and self-interest.
The first series of parables (Mt 13) reveal the elementary truths concerning the planting of the Kingdom of God, its development, reality, value, and final vindication. The second series (Lk 10-16; 18) also concern the Kingdom of God, and while they are still characteristically evangelical, they also exhibit a controversial tone as the opposition to Jesus intensified. The third series (Mt 18; 20-22; 24-25; Lk 19) are primarily judicial, with some evangelical elements included. (God is always extending mercy and hope if people would repent and believe.)
In order to help us be on the foundation upon which to understand the parables and the ways of God’s rule in our lives and in the world, I want to go through the very first of these parables, reading from Mk 4:1-20.
Some key points:
—Everyone hears the Word of the Voice of God: Ps 19 1-4a (5a Heb); Rom 1:18-23; 10:14-18
–Not all who hear receive, accept, believe, obey: Is 53:1; James 1:22-24; 2:18-19; Is 29:10-13; Heb 3:14-15
–there is eternal security for the believer: Ps 16:8-11; Rom 10:9-13; Heb 3:14-15
–the Lord knows His own, and all who call upon His name will depart from iniquity: 2Tim 2:19
The parables of Jesus help us understand the way of God with His people – both Israel and the Body of Messiah. When Jesus gave the apostle John His letters to the seven churches that are in the Book of Revelation, He evaluates the condition of the believers based partly on what He taught His disciples in His parables. Let us in the fear of YHVH gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom for the times in which we live so that we are walking in the Spirit of Truth with our God and Savior. God has a plan and is carrying it out by His Spirit according to His Word and covenants.
Study the Bible at home; participate in the Bible studies and house groups of the congregation. The Kingdom of Heaven governs our lives. Our attitudes and relationship to it and to the Word of the Lord determine the quality of our life – both in this world and in the world to come.