“It is all about knowing, that is why Paul prays in Ephesians 1, that ‘you may know Me better’. I already know you completely in seeing how you function and think – yet coming to a deeper knowledge of me has to do with the heart understanding what your mind is taking in and digesting. Knowing Me intimately is a heart matte and Me knowing you better is a heart matter, because you are understanding and knowing me better. As you hunger and thirst for righteousness so I will fill you – with Myself, my righteousness I will flow into you. My promise is that I will be found of you and even as you hunger and thirst so I will create more of a desire in you to know me better. The more satisfied you are in me the more I am glorified. So set aside you’re fretting and doubts and seek Me and my righteousness will fill you with the certainty of the unseen.”
In Matthew 13, Jesus repeats the phrase 7 times “The kingdom of heaven is like…” So these are 7 aspects, some overlapping of what is to be expected in this new kingdom which He was bringing into the world.
They seem to be easy enough to understand, but how do we interpret them as they affect us personally? Let us look at each, briefly.
The wheat and the weeds is ultimately about judgement at the end. However it is a stark reminder that as we meet together there will be some who are still outside the kingdom. It is not up to us to judge but being aware of this should make us sensitive to where people stand with Jesus. We can never assume, when there is a group of people gathering to worship that they are homogenously believers.
The mustard seed and yeast focus on the nature of the growth of the kingdom. We have already seen how it has burgeoned since the beginning from the small band of disciples to the colossus it is today. The allegory of yeast reminds us that the growth has and will be driven by each individual member being active. Yeast particles each give off gas and cause the dough to rise. Each individual must play its part for this to be successful. Could the gas the yeast emits be like the work of the Holy Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit.
The hidden treasure stories should awake in us a new realization of the priceless value of the kingdom. It should be a spark burning into a fire within driving us to share that with outsiders and awaken a new appreciation of what we have in it.
The net tells again of judgement. But also of the importance of gathering the lost like one would throw a net into the water to harvest the fish out there. Even as we harvest we will be reaping good and bad fish. It is God in His final judgement who will separate them.
Finally as Matthew sums up the chapter the focus is on Jesus again. He is the landowner who is bringing out of the storehouse what is new and old. A reminder again of the way the Old flows into the New Testament. And finally the theme of rejection, even by those close to Him of the One who has come to give His life to introduce the kingdom into the world and to them personally.
Working through section over several days Jesus confronted me on several issues. Taken together however, what does He say to you?
Firstly I am encouraged to see that the prophetic vision of Jesus has been so perfectly fulfilled. That is a great encouragement and comfort for the rest of my pilgrimage here in the earthly wilderness.
Secondly I am again encouraged and urged to play an active part in the kingdom, especially in sharing the wonder of its priceless value. Jesus was prepared to die for its launch. Is that not a huge inspiration for me to take this task seriously. And – yes – I must expect opposition and rejection as I go.