Matthew 12:38-50, Asking for a sign (4/21/14)
The Chronological Gospel –
Signs and Parables
|Matthew 12:38-50, Asking for a sign |
|Matthew 13:1-2, Mark 4:2-10, Matthew 13:11-17, Parable of the Sower |
|Mark 4:13-25, Parable of the Sower elucidated |
|Mark 4:26-28, Matthew 13:24-29, Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:33-35, Parables of the Kingdom|
|Matthew 13:36-53, Parables of the Kingdom elucidated|
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The scribes and Pharisees were surely familiar with the miraculous healings that Jesus had performed – especially the healing of the deaf, mute, and blind, which were prophesied by Isaiah to be signs of the coming of the Messiah. Even if they hadn’t seen any of these miracles personally, they had heard about them. So now they’re asking for a sign, as if nothing Jesus has done so far was important. Jesus says that such wicked and faithless people will have the repentant Gentiles of Nineveh as their judges. This has led some scholars to believe that the “sign of Jonah” is preaching, repentance, and forgiveness.
Matthew 13:1-2, Mark 4:2-10, Matthew 13:11-17, Parable of the Sower (4/22/14)
In reporting the Parable of the Sower, Matthew again includes a quotation from the prophet Isaiah. What Isaiah says is somewhat alarming – especially in English – because it sounds like Jesus teaches in parables so that
people will not hear, understand, or repent. Some scholars say that in the Hebrew or Greek, the implication is that people are willfully
deaf and blind, and ignorant, so that they do not have to
understand and repent. That is the way Weymouth translates in this passage.
1-2 That same day Jesus had left the house and was sitting on the shore of the Lake, when a vast multitude of people crowded round Him. He therefore went on board a boat and sat there, while all the people stood on the shore.
Mark 4:13-25, Parable of the Sower elucidated (4/23/14)
2 Then He proceeded to teach them many lessons in figurative language; and in His teaching He said,
3-4 “Listen: the sower goes out to sow. As he sows, some of the seed falls by the way-side, and the birds come and peck it up.
5-6 Some falls on the rocky ground where it finds but little earth, and it shoots up quickly because it has no depth of soil; but when the sun is risen, it is scorched, and through having no root it withers away.
7 Some, again, falls among the thorns; and the thorns spring up and stifle it, so that it yields no crop.
8 But some of the seed falls into good ground, and gives a return: it comes up and increases, and yields thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold.”
9 “Listen,” He added, “every one who has ears to listen with!”
10 When He was alone, the Twelve and the others who were about Him requested Him to explain His figurative language.
11-12 “Because,” He replied, “while to you it is granted to know the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens, to them it is not. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whoever has not, from him even what he has shall be taken away.
13 I speak to them in figurative language for this reason, that while looking they do not see, and while hearing they neither hear nor understand.
14 And in regard to them the prophecy of Isaiah is receiving signal fulfilment:
“‘YOU WILL HEAR AND HEAR AND BY NO MEANS UNDERSTAND,
AND YOU WILL LOOK AND LOOK AND BY NO MEANS SEE.
15 FOR THIS PEOPLE’S MIND IS STUPEFIED,
THEIR HEARING HAS BECOME DULL,
AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED;
TO PREVENT THEIR EVER SEEING WITH THEIR EYES,
OR HEARING WITH THEIR EARS,
OR UNDERSTANDING WITH THEIR MINDS,
AND TURNING BACK, SO THAT I MIGHT HEAL THEM.’
16-17 “But as for you, blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For I solemnly tell you that many Prophets and holy men have longed to see the sights you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the words you hear, and have not heard them.
You probably remember that I’ve been teaching the Bethel Series since 1982. Bethel has three levels – Congregational Bethel is for students who want to learn more about the Bible, Bethel Teacher Training is for students who want to teach Congregational, and the Bethel Workshop is for students who want to teach Teacher Training.
Jesus taught “congregational” parables to the crowds, but his disciples were enrolled in the “teacher training.” They not only had to hear and remember the parables, but they also had to learn the meanings of all the parables. Eventually, the original disciples learned enough from Jesus that they could train other teachers as well.
Mark 4:26-28, Matthew 13:24-29, Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:33-35, Parables of the Kingdom (4/24/14)
The thing that makes parables so memorable is that they are related to everyday occurrences that you already know something about. While Jesus was traveling around in the rural areas of Galilee, he told parables about farming and making bread. In particular, he told four stories often called “Parables of the Kingdom,” because each one of them gives us a glimpse of what the kingdom of God is like. Matthew, as is his custom, shows us how Jesus’ use of parables fulfills prophecy.
26-28 Another saying of His was this: “The Kingdom of God is as if a man scattered seed over the ground: he spends days and nights, now awake, now asleep, while the seed sprouts and grows tall, he knows not how. Of itself the land produces the crop – first the blade, then the ear; afterwards the perfect grain is seen in the ear.
Matthew 13:36-53, Parables of the Kingdom elucidated (4/25/14)
24-27 Another parable He put before them. “The Kingdom of the Heavens,” He said, “may be compared to a man who has sown good seed in his field, but during the night his enemy comes, and over the first seed he sows darnel among the wheat, and goes away. But when the blade shoots up and the grain is formed, then appears the darnel also.
27-30 “So the farmer’s men come and ask him, “‘Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed on your land? Where then does the darnel come from?’ “‘Some enemy has done this,’ he said. “‘Shall we go, and collect it?’ the men inquire. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘for fear that while collecting the darnel you should at the same time root up the wheat with it. Leave both to grow together until the harvest, and at harvest-time I will direct the reapers, Collect the darnel first, and make it up into bundles to burn it, but bring all the wheat into my barn.’”
30-32 Another saying of His was this: “How are we to picture the Kingdom of God? or by what figure of speech shall we represent it? It is like a mustard-seed, which, when sown in the earth, is the smallest of all the seeds in the world; yet when sown it springs up and becomes larger than all the herbs, and throws out great branches, so that the birds build under its shadow.”
33 Another parable He spoke to them. “The Kingdom of the Heavens,” He said, “is like yeast which a woman takes and buries in a bushel of flour, for it to work there till the whole mass has risen.”
34-35 All this Jesus spoke to the people in figurative language, and except in figurative language He spoke nothing to them, in fulfillment of the saying of the Prophet, “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE, I WILL UTTER THINGS KEPT HIDDEN SINCE THE CREATION OF ALL THINGS.”
Jesus continues his intensive training of the disciples he has chosen to be teachers by explaining a parable we read yesterday, “The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.” “Tares” are weeds, but Jesus was actually talking about a specific weed, darnel
. Darnel bears a very close resemblance to wheat, especially when it is young. In the parable, the servants are inclined to pull up the darnel right away, but the master, who knows better, says to leave it until they can be sure which is which. (It’s sometimes difficult for us to tell good people from bad people, and we need to remember that it’s God’s job, not ours, to make that judgment.) Once the disciples understand that parable, Jesus goes on to teach them some additional parables of the kingdom.
More of The Chronological Gospel
Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and TeachingsTo Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1,
Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2,
Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1,
Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2,
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost
Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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