Mysteries of the Kingdom of God

Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 13: 11-17, Mark 4: 10-13; Luke 8: 10-11
The Message: Mark 4: 11-15
In Your Bible: Matthew 13: 11-17, Mark 4: 10-13; Luke 8: 10-11

A parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, capturing the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, yet it leaves doubt as to its application. * Jesus emphasized the need for his disciples to listen carefully to these parables. For in them were mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven!

Insight for the Believer

In New Testament times, a mystery meant something unintelligible to the outsider but was crystal clear to the informed. ** I like this wording from The Message:

He [Jesus] replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely.

“But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it “ (Matthew 13:11-15 The Message).

Warning – Listen Carefully

Jesus knew his disciples needed additional attention and more understanding as they built on his teaching. He explained this to them more precisely, saying, “If you do not understand this illustration [parable], you will not understand any other” (Eyewitness Stories Mark 4:13). He emphasized the need to listen carefully, because these parables show the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven.

Prayer: Father, thank you for these parables. Help me to grasp Jesus’ teachings on the mysteries of the Kingdom. They are truly words of life.

Questions: As a disciple of Jesus, what parables are difficult for you to grasp?

* The Parables of the Kingdom, C. H. Dodd, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961, p. 5.

** The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975, p. 64.

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