A Season of Parables

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re the kingdom of God

To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.  Acts 1:3

Do you ever wonder what convincing proofs were necessary for the apostles to finally believe that Jesus was truly alive? He appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, two friends on the road to Emmaus. At least twice He appeared in the doors-locked upper room. He ate with them. He prepared breakfast on the shoreline (after another miraculous catch of fish).  He appeared to a crowd over 500 at one time (cf. John 20 & 21, Luke 24, 1 Corinthians 15).

Jesus also spent the forty days between His resurrection and ascension speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Followers of Jesus are often slow-to-believe and quick to forget. Jesus gives His body and blood and says, “Remember Me”.  Jesus also gives us parables. These teachings are snapshots, illustrations, memorable stories and images. Many of these parables begin with Jesus saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”  These parables need Jesus’ explanation, which He gladly gives, granting to those who believe and seek Him, to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:11).

In these weeks heading toward Holy Trinity Sunday (May 30th) we will be considering a few of these parables, these blessings given to us by Jesus who tells those who believe, that “…many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it (Matthew 13:17).  May we have the eyes and ears to see and hear and take to heart these encounters with the kingdom of God.

Explaining the many conditions of the human heart, Jesus exposes the thorns and thistles – what Jesus refers to as the worries of this world – which quickly choke out the reality that we citizens of the kingdom of God. It is from His kingdom we await Christ’s return. As part of the kingdom, we gather with fellow citizens so our hearts are the good soil, as we worship, pray, and encourage one another. As good soil, our hearts bear the fruit of God’s Word as we are sent into the field of this present world as ambassadors, sowing the seed of God’s Word generously – letting it fall where it may regardless of the condition of the soil (cf. Matthew 13, 2 Corinthians 5, Ephesians 2, Philippians 3).

We are also described as being the actual seed sown by Jesus – our lives scattered abroad to bear the image of God, to preach the gospel, and to manifest the kingdom of God on earth (cf. Matthew 13).

May we who are beloved of and belong to God, encourage one another. May we know just how blessed we are to believe, though we have not seen. May we be the blessings of God to others, scattering the Word of the gospel, being scattered by God into the field of this world to manifest the wondrous and amazing grace of the world to come – the kingdom of God!

Pastor Jon