As I close my eyes I see Jesus walking on the water – it is still like a mirror.
“Though you may be experiencing a storm of what ifs and maybes at the moment – just because I seem to be asleep – does not mean I don’t care or cannot still the storm. How would you know the true goodness of Jesus if your life was just a long carefree holiday? It is in the storm that you will discover my power to calm it – remember what I said to the disciples in the boat? ‘Oh ye of little faith’ – that was not a rebuke it was a reminder that I was busy building their faith by allowing them to feel lost in the storm and then experiencing my love and power as I calmed it was just a word. They were still going to face storms but each time they experience my work, my rescue, their faith would grow. So my dear son and the readers of the blog, just remind yourself of the fact of the goodness of Jesus who is always there to comfort you with positive intent.
As we come now to Matthew 13., the theme of this blog comes to the fore again. The theme of “listening to Jesus”. Jesus speaks in the light of His use of parables to teach. The first point He makes is that understanding the message of the parables is not available to everyone. He specifically says to the disciples, “The secrets of the kingdom have been given for you to know”. It is the special privilege of those who follow Jesus to be able to understand the parables. IOW it can be seen as a form of judgement on those who are outside the kingdom.
He then goes on and explains that it is because of their hardened hearts that people outside will not be able to understand. OK if we take that and turn it over in our minds, it means He holds the privilege of revealing the secrets to whoever He wishes, because there must be a point at which those whose hearts are not hardened but are not yet in the kingdom will, at least understand and hear something of what He is saying.
The beauty of the promise is that those who have will be given more. Remember the beatitude, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. So there is an encouragement here to all who read this blog. If you come to His word to hear Him speak, and your heart is softened, IOW you are hungering to hear Him, you will indeed have that beautiful privilege of meeting with Him and hearing Him speak. We don’t have to do something special to hear Him, simply desire it and to listen carefully to what He is saying to you through His word.
The first parable demonstrates this. Jesus is the sower and He is sowing the seed which Is His word. Notice that the crop does not depend on the goodness or effectiveness of the seed. It depends on the soil into which it is sown. Then there are all the factors that affect whether the seed will grow and produce a crop. It has a lot to do with the soil, is it rocky or on a footpath? That is hardened. Hardened soil will not provide a suitable bed for seed to grow. Or are there many weeds representing the distractions of the world and the Devil.
The first three are probably descriptions of the outsider’s hearts. However the factors mentioned here can also prevent the insider from hearing Jesus’ word effectively. Hardened hearts and the distractions of the world are a factor which faces us all from time to time. So the admonition is that we should always be looking to have soft, receptive hearts when we come to Jesus to hear Him speak to us. Ready to listen and obey. Thy will be done Oh Lord.
This passage is once again a warning that studying God’s word for the sake of studying it will not necessarily lead one to hear Him speak to you. His word has been given to us as a vehicle to be able to hear Him and meet with Him personally. We should remind ourselves of this regularly and ask Him to give you a hunger and thirst for Him through His word and any other way we may meet with Him.
Let’s listen to Jesus then.