Sunday’s Scripture –July 26, 2020
When Jesus tells parables, he usually takes something simple, common, even mundane (and always something that the people would have been very familiar with) and uses it to illustrate a sacred, profound, and usually more abstract truth. The parables of Jesus can be hard to understand because our context is different today. But also because God’s ways are not our ways. The parables Jesus tells always reveal the seemingly (to us) upside down and backwards nature of the Kingdom of God.
In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus tells a series of parables back to back, one after another.
Sometimes Jesus uses a metaphor, which is when a thing is regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, to illustrate his point. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken a closer look at a couple of such metaphors (the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds).
But for many of the other parables in Matthew 13, Jesus employs a different literary tool: the simile. A simile is when a comparison is made, usually using “like” or “as.”
Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like…
- A mustard seed
- Treasure hidden in a field
- A pearl of great value
Of course, every metaphor breaks down at some point. And a simile is not meant to compare two things in every way, but only a specific way. This is like that in this particular way.
Knowing this, what do we gather about the Kingdom of Heaven from these simile parables in Matthew 13?
Well, like a mustard seed, the Kingdom of Heaven starts small (in us, right now) and then grows to be the biggest reality (in all the world, at the last days). The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast in that, it only takes a little bit (what God has placed in us right now) in order to eventually work its way into the rest of the world. And, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great value in that, when we find it, it’s worth forsaking all else in order to fully grab hold of it.
Taken all together, we can piece together a more full picture of the Kingdom of God. Let’s sit with that fuller picture a bit today, and let the Kingdom of God soak into our souls.
- Which of these parables is easiest/hardest for you to understand? Why?
- If you’ll notice, the first two parables are about the small becoming big and pervasive. And the second two are about the worthiness of giving up everything for the Kingdom’s sake. Where do you need faith that the gospel is bigger and more pervasive than it seems? What do you need to forsake today in order to fully grab hold of God’s Kingdom?
- How would you describe the Kingdom of God to someone? (Maybe use your own metaphor or simile of something that would be easily recognizable today.)