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Matthew 13

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Wednesday, APRIL 7

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13

The chapter in front of us has no less than seven parables in it.  If you are familiar with the Bible, you are undoubtedly familiar with the word parable. If you are not necessarily familiar with the Bible, the word parable may be a new word to you.  So, I thought it might be helpful to define this word parable.  

The word parable literally means to lay or place alongside of.  The idea is that of placing or laying something alongside something else for the purpose of making a comparison.  Often times Jesus would use something very familiar to explain a spiritual or moral truth that might otherwise be difficult to grasp. 

I say often times Jesus would do that because that was not necessarily His purpose in the parables of this chapter.  He did use the commonplace to explain important truth.  But the truth of these parables was not grasped by all who heard them regardless of how familiar they may have been with the comparison.  Because Jesus never did anything without a clear purpose, we can rest assured that Jesus did this intentionally.  The obvious question is why.

The disciples asked that very question in verse 10.  Jesus gladly answered them.  In fact, He gave them two reasons.  One, He did this to reveal meaning to those who receive Him and believe in Him.  And He did this to conceal meaning from those who did not receive Him and believe in Him.   

Jesus explains this a bit further in verse 12.  He said whoever has (that is the folks who have a personal relationship with Jesus) will be given more (more understanding as they mature in that relationship).  But the one who doesn’t have (that is the folks who have rejected Jesus) will, as they continue to reject Jesus, lose what little understanding they did have.  

But here’s an interesting thing to think about.  Even those who receive and believe, those promised understanding because of their relationship with Jesus still struggled with some of the parables.  So, Jesus explained a couple of the parables to them.  If nothing else, this is proof that Jesus really does want His children to understand His truth.

If you skip all the way over to verse 51, Jesus actually asked the disciples if they understood the parables that He told.  Their simple answer to Him was, “Yes”.

So, what are we to do with this?  First, this is not to be construed to mean that Jesus is choosing who is going to be saved and who isn’t by deciding who can understand His Word and who can’t.  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.  His desire is for all people everywhere to be saved.  This understanding is not a result of Jesus’ choosing.  It is a result of people choosing Jesus.  Then Jesus gladly brings understanding.

Second, just because we do have a personal relationship with Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean we will understand everything that Jesus said.  Some of what He said is most clear to all of us Christ followers.  Some of it only becomes clear as we grow and mature in our lives as Christ followers.  And some of it may very well remain a mystery until we arrive in heaven.  But that’s the reason we keep reading our Bibles.  That’s the reason I will continue to write these devotionals.  That’s the reason we should all be very intentional and most consistent in putting ourselves in places where we can hear the Word of God taught.

Matthew 12

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, APRIL 11

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12

There is so much happening in this chapter, it is impossible to cover even half of it in the space I have available.  So after reading and rereading the chapter, I have settled on a section of the chapter that begins in verse 33 and concludes in verse 37.

This section follows an interesting discussion between Jesus and some religious leaders.  It seems the religious leaders were convinced that the only way Jesus could be casting our demons is if He were doing it through the authority of Beelzebub (that would be Satan).  Jesus literally destroys that argument but when we get to verse 33, He draws this line.

He said to the religious leaders and to us, for that matter, that we need to make up our minds about Jesus.  He is either evil and does bad things or He is good and does good things.  And the only way to truly decide whether he was evil or good was to evaluate what He did.  If He did good things, He had to be good and therefore could not be evil.  And the reverse is true.  If He did bad things, He had to bad and therefore could not be good.

Then in verse 34, Jesus gives us the ultimate test of good or evil.  He said that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.  In other words, what was actually in a man was what would eventually come out of a man.  The things we say ultimately are evidence of the nature of a person’s heart.  If there is bad stuff in us, bad stuff will come out in our words.  If there is good stuff in us, good stuff will come out in our words.

Our words, then, are proof of our heart.  That’s why on the judgment day we will give an account of every careless word we speak (v.36).  The word careless here means useless.  So this is not necessarily using bad words. It is using worthless words.  Jesus takes it a step further and says it is those words that will either justify or condemn you.  But don’t miss the point that it is every careless word.  Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to talk or talk so much when we do.

The reason our justification or condemnation flows from the words we speak is the words we speak flow from the heart we have.  The Bible says “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)  This is the way the Bible views the unredeemed heart, the unsaved heart.  That’s why God promises to “give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”. (Ezekiel 36:26)

As God changes our hearts that necessarily changes our words.

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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