Reading for Wednesday, June 27: Matthew 13
Matthew 13 could be called the chapter of parables. The longest of these parables is the parable of the sower. Not only does Jesus teach this parable publicly, but Matthew records some “behind the scenes” information: an explanation of this specific parable and a defense of Jesus’ parabolic teaching in general. According to Jesus, the parables cannot be understood apart from ears ready to hear (v9, 43). “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them,” (v11). But the aim here isn’t the creation of a secret society. The disciples of Jesus are commissioned with the charge to expand the borders of God’s Kingdom, that even greater numbers might partake in the wonders of His love.
Sadly, some will inevitably reject this message. Some will receive the word with “rocky” hearts; others will have the message thwarted by the enemy and his weeds. Those who receive this message will bear witness to the mustard seed quality of the Kingdom: starting small, in the heart, expanding deeper and wider, until the whole person – even all creation – is taken in by the grandness of God’s love.
What are your thoughts on these parables Jesus delivers in Matthew 13?
The chapter closes on a low note. Jesus returns to Nazareth, only to find scoffers. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” And it says that they took offense at him. As a result, Jesus did not perform any miracles in Nazareth “because of their lack of faith” (v58).