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.