July, 2004

See on this Kingdom,

Matthew 12:38-13:52

Signs, Significance and Parables

The Kingdom of heaven is the most beautiful place of peace, unity of purpose, inspiration of heart, illumination of spirit, kindliness of perspective, helpfulness of attitude, kept pure by the Prince, Christ, and kept at work by zeal for His glory. Filled with quietness, it has the sense of singing that fills the air, like the sound of waterfalls in the near distance, or the ocean over the dunes (Revelation 1:15).

Today, first we notice that when Christ's formalistic enemies, the scribes and Pharisees sought some 'sign' to show who He was, Christ was not interested, any more than He was when Herod later sought from Him some miracle. He does not 'perform' but does what in wisdom and love, grace and justice He sees fit. Authors do not 'perform' for their creations, but rather the books and their characters have opportunity to seize the page and perform for the author! That, even for human writers, can be the way it feels! No sign, therefore, would HE give, as if to meet unbelief with mere power. Only the SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH, would He give, who was in the large fish for 3 days and nights, just as Christ would be buried for such a period, both in the interrogation travesty and in the grave. This they would see when He was risen, but as in the way of unbelief, they could see nothing yet!

I. Talking spirits, the second infection can be far worse 12:43-45
The self-made spiritual man, filled with glorious works of self-sufficient holiness, or synthetic works with the Church, seeks to avoid Romans 3:23-27, and get glory where it is not to be found: outside the Lord Himself, so becoming able to boast of something other or lesser than He. In this boast, there is a new host for seven worse devils, such as spiritual pride, spiritual self-sufficiency, spiritual self-trust, spiritual gourmandising, so that you eat up the praise in your days, and glory in the consent of others, a sense of the superficial, when under the spiritual carpet is the dust of ages and so on. The delighted devils invest and infest the unprotected piece of humanism,

But what is it like ? It resembles an odd island in mid-Pacific, waiting to be washed under the first waves, seeking how to erode the surface themselves, until it too is neatly embraced in the consuming power of the obliterative ocean.

2. A Kingdom that is Family 12:46-50
Jesus held concern for those whom He came to save, and though in flesh at first  as a child in a family (cf. Isaiah 9:1-7), yet His mission do not let Him linger as if contained by family, for integrity preceded it. In this way, the absurd myth of Mary as the one to pray to is shown to be such, for He did not go to see them when He heard of their desire, having at that time other things to complete. WHOEVER, He declared, does the will of God, this is My brother and mother and sister. Here is no aristocracy, and as God, Christ did not waive the needs of some for others, because of family. Family is to be loved; but none is to be shoved.

3. Parable of Sowing leaves nothing so-so 13:1-9,18-23

In this, you see the word of God, as seed being sown, either reaches a soil prepared or it does not. If it is too shallow, the seed shrivels without root in the heat of tough times, if the ground has too many thorns or weeds, it has no life, if it is hard, there is no penetration. It is given up to God, or God at last gives it up!

4. The More-More Magnificence of Knowing Christ 13:10-13

Christ went on to explain that when the heart is open, and the ear eye attends, then parables can be comprehended, and points realised, so that the more you get, the more you understand; but when this is not so, as in rebels, the symbols are where these people stop, they never grasp the sight of truth, since they live with their eyes closed.

Thus this has the obverse side, the less the less - 13:14-17

5. Parable of the Wheat and the Tares - 13:24-30,38-43

Wheat is sown, and this stands for the children of the kingdom of heaven. When the world is young, these are mixed with the children of darkness, for whom light is to be a thing scorned or at least left alone. If now the division between them were to be made now, there would be such a disturbance of the ground, that little might live. When history draws to its close, then the final plant shapes will be apparent, which wheat and which weed. Then is judgment, as if weeds, being now freely pulled, may be burnt up where they belong, in the rubbish.

Notice however that Christ is declaring that the field is the WORLD, not the Church. The world goes on till it goes off! like an actor on stage till the part is finished. It is of this that Christ explicitly spoke. In the Church however, the body of believers, there is a wholly different field; for this is planned for family, the family of light. So far from leaving this to go its own way, we are shown in Revelation 2:5,16, that where an erring body does not repent, their status evaporates, and their place is no more. It is imperative that your church preach and teach the word of God, and that hearts be saved, wills bent like massive shoulders to the work of Christ (Romans 16:17, I Timothy 6, and see /separation1997.html).

6. Parables of the Seed, the Leaven, the Hidden Treasure,
the Pearl and the Fishing Dragnet 13:44ff.

Here Christ is showing the tiny beginnings that can lead to marvellous shade, and none did this more than He, who from heaven's haven arriving in an embryonic form, grew to be like a tree in which the children of light and celestial flight might rest (Matthew 11:28ff., Ephesians 2:5-6). This is given in the illustration of the tiny mustard seed, which yet can grow into a plant on which birds may rest.

Similarly,  the leaven parable shows that though it seem so small, yet the rising power of leaven can change the entire situation for the meal into which it is placed; and what fine breads can result. It may work for a while, but in a little the result if amazing. Though it seem but a lump in which its enlivening action occurs, in a relatively short time, the mass of stuff becomes a new product,  useful and nutritious. So does the heart receive new thoughts, the mind new ideas, the life new dynamic and the eye new enlightenment, until what was a heap of confusion and muddle, is a living person of health and holiness, fraught with meaning.

  As to the hidden treasure in the field, what is this but the Gospel, marking in the garden of grace, Christ Himself. It is not apparent except to the one who finds; and when he finds, there is nothing to be kept back, until only the field is gained.   Similarly it is like a great pearl which commands such a price that all is gone to get it, but it is well gone for such radiance and grace, such a gleam and colour. But it is not only a beginning, but an end; for the kingdom of heaven also resembles a dragnet which catches fish great and small. What does the fisherman do but remove those too small, not grown; and what does the Lord do but throw away the wicked. Does it matter ? It is a great grief; but He has borne grief for those who desire Him, the desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7).

 "So," said Jesus, "will it be at the end of the Age. The angels will come out, separate the wicked from among the just; and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." What is more powerful than truth ? and what more devastating than life unliberated, allowed to fail while its means are worshipped, or its pleasures, or one's own preoccupations. Is this what life is for, to become an example of death, as if the soul could not grow, being yet unborn! kept in the womb of this world until poison spoils all.

Matthew 13 goes on to show Jesus rejected in His own town of Nazareth which could not stand the revelation of its Messiah, the Christ, though God had shown Him coming at that very time (Daniel 9:24ff.), and in that very region (Isaiah 9:1ff.), centuries before, to do just what He had done. No parable can save the godless, but only this same Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven given under heaven (Acts 4:11).