Today Jesus gives seven illustrations to explain the kingdom of God:
- The Lamp – “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.” Jesus says that at the final judgment, all things secret will be revealed and more will be given to the one who hears God’s Word, understands it and obeys it; but for those who don’t, what has been given will be taken away.
- The Growing Seed – Christ followers scatter the seed by sharing God’s Word. God is responsible for tilling the hearts of those who receive it and growing His kingdom which will reach its full culmination when Jesus returns.
- The Mustard Seed – The kingdom of God begins small, like the smallest seed, but results in enormous growth with an abundance of blessings.
- The Leaven – God’s activity is not fully visible to the world but it begins in the heart and grows to feed others.
- The Hidden Treasure – The kingdom of God is more valuable than any earthly treasure.
- The Pearl Merchant – The man that finds the kingdom of God will give up everything to be a part of it.
- The Fishing Net – Evil will coexist with the righteous in this world but there will be a day when evil is cast out and the righteous prevail. Jesus says one day, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
We end the reading with Jesus and the disciples on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee when a terrible storm arises. Jesus rebukes the wind and the water, exposing His power over the earth. He also rebukes the scared disciples for their lack of faith. This time the disciples are the ones who marvel saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Jesus is still patiently growing these men into great men of God like that fourth seed that we read about yesterday – “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:8).
Jesus says about the fourth seed – “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Jesus’ disciples are going to be hundred percent reproducers, bearing much fruit for the kingdom of God. However, following hard after Christ is going to cost them their lives but Jesus is promising that so much more awaits them in heaven than this world can offer. Soon Jesus will say to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Tomorrow Jesus continues to show His power to the people by performing several more miraculous healings. So keep reading!
(Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25)