I'd like for us to study the parables of Jesus. We all love these parables because Jesus used everyday situations and circumstances to help us grow in our understanding of God.
For instance, He shows His deep love for His children in the stories of the wayward son and the Good Samaritan. Animals, coins and travel are the common subjects Jesus used so effectively to convey deeper meaning. Jesus' stories are like wrapped gifts. Unless the package is opened, the gift itself remains unseen. Once we open them up, we'll see that they contain multiple applications to our lives.
Jesus was the greatest storyteller who ever lived. He told story after story that continues to live today in our memory. You might forget one of His sermons, as many of them are presented in Matthew, but it is impossible to forget one of the stories that Jesus told. They live on in our minds. Stories are important. Jesus was a master teacher of stories, often called parables.
If you read the stories of Jesus, you will see the poor breaking bread and patching garments and sweeping the floor. You will see the rich man with his barns bursting with increase and the poor widow begging for help from the Judge. You will witness two debtors in contrast to each other. You will see the Pharisee and the tax collector standing in the temple praying. You will see Lazarus and the rich man on either side of the abyss of Hell, communicating about their plight.
Stories: There are flocks and herds and birds and flowers. There's a lonely place where a man fell among thieves. There's a bend in the road where a father saw his son returning home after he had been in the far country. The stories of Jesus live in our hearts and minds.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew Jesus has embarked on one of His major story- telling missions. In fact, the passage we have read this morning is inserted in the text between Jesus telling of a very important story and then His explaining what that story meant.
The first story He tells of the seven parables in Matthew 13 is about the sower who went out to sow the seed and after He told the story, the disciples came to Him, trying to figure out what He was doing.
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
They did not understand why Jesus had adopted this method of communicating His truth. What Jesus was saying to them was I’m going to tell you a story and behind this story is a truth that you need to hear. Jesus took common things out of the common aspects of life, things that the disciples and the Jewish people would have known well, and He would tell that story out of what they knew so He could teach them something they were yet to learn.
So, the disciples were concerned about the parables and they said, “Lord, why are you teaching in parables?”
What we’re studying today really unfolds a major paradox, because when Jesus answered them, the answer seemed to contradict, or to be absurd. The purpose of a parable is to make a truth better known. Notice the answer.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
1 Corinthians 2:10
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1 John 2:27
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
In verse 11 of Matthew where He speaks of mysteries, it means something that the people in the Old Testament didn’t know, that is going to be revealed in the New Testament and it only comes by Divine revelation. One of the best definitions is found in:
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Notice what Jesus said. He said it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom. In other words, you disciples are going to know it. All at once they would understand that these were great truths that Jesus was telling them.
Matthew 13:12 (Jesus speaking)
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
It seems that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The spiritually receptive get more, while others go backward in their walk with The Lord. Everything that is not used is ultimately lost. What Jesus is saying to His disciples in this principle is this: Those who have and respond to what they have been given, will get more and continue to grow, but those who have not and refuse to accept what has been given to them, will decrease until ultimately it is taken away.
The Jews of Jesus’ day had closed their eyes and their ears to what they might have known. If you read the Scriptures, you will find that the Jews had plenty of evidence that Jesus was the Messiah.
The Wise Men, the Shepherds, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Simon and Annas, John the Baptist… they all had these witnesses, but many of the Jews would not accept the fact that the Messiah was right there in front of them.
Jesus offered the Kingdom to the Jewish people. He offered Himself as their King. The Scripture says,
11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12sup>But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
Matthew was written to prove that Christ is the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
When you get to Chapters 8-9 of Matthew, you will read about Christ Jesus healing the centurion’s servant, curing one sick of palsy, curing a woman of a bloody issue, raising Jairus’ daughter from death, restoring sight to two blind men, one who was born blind and healing a dumb man possessed of a devil.
Miracle after miracle Jesus performed. They should have seen that Christ was the Messiah. He is the one prophesied about in the Old Testament. These miracles are from “I AM”. He was the Miracle Worker.
When you come to the 12th Chapter of Matthew, you read that the people accused Jesus of performing miracles in the name of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. Jesus knew their thoughts. In Matthew the 13th Chapter, verse 15, Jesus told them if they didn’t want to hear the truth, if they didn’t want to listen to His teachings, which was their choice, then they wouldn’t “hear” it and would “not understand” it.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew you’ll see what He quotes in verses 14 and 15.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them.
If we don’t take what God gives us and we don’t act upon it, there will come a time when our spiritual muscles begin to deteriorate and He begins to withdraw the truth and we are not able to comprehend the truth and we go backwards in our walk with Him.