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

More of The Chronological Gospel

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Matthew 12:38-50, Asking for a sign (4/21/14)

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.

Mark 4:13-25, Parable of the Sower elucidated (4/23/14)

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.

Matthew 13:36-53, Parables of the Kingdom elucidated (4/25/14)

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
Sabbath Controversies
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 Teachings
To 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, More Trials
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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