Matthew 13: Kingdom Extravaganza (2)
Pray Psalm 72.7-14.
In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him,
And His enemies will lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.
For He will deliver the needy when he cries,
The poor also, and him who has no helper.
He will spare the poor and needy,
And will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and violence;
And precious shall be their blood in His sight.
Sing Psalm 72.7-14.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?)
Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures,
Let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more.
And let the Righteous rule the earth, and let His foes bow low.
Let nations praise His matchless worth, and all His bidding do.
The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace.
All they who suffer violence find mercy before His face.
Read Matthew 13.1-17; meditate on verses 10-17.
1. What did Jesus say was “given” to His disciples?
2. Whose eyes and ears are “blessed”?
Given how much Jesus spoke and taught about the Kingdom of God, it’s striking that the subject almost never comes up with His detractors. Their problem with Jesus was twofold: First, He set aside their traditions as vain and unBiblical. Second, He claimed to be God. Both of those teachings challenged the authority of the religious leaders of the day, and turned their hearts against Him.
Or rather, these matters exposed their hearts as set against Him from the beginning.
Only when it looked like their opportunity to destroy Jesus was slipping away did they play the king card, warning Pilate that Jesus’ claim to be King of Israel deserved death from the servants of Caesar. Otherwise, we don’t hear much from the religious leaders about the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed and brought near.
This is because their hearts were so turned against Him, that they could not receive any of His teaching about the Kingdom. Jesus taught in parables because He knew two things: First, to those whom God had given – or would give – understanding into the mysteries of the Kingdom, the parables would ultimately make perfect sense, and guide them in their calling to the Kingdom and glory of God. Second, for those whose hearts were set against Jesus, and who had made up their minds to destroy Him, the parables would make no sense whatsoever. God would prevent them from making the connections the parables require. They would regard the parables as nonsense and not worthy of debate, not because they were, but because the leaders had already decided against Jesus.
Their hardness of heart did not thwart the Lord’s plan; instead, He used their hardness to accomplish the work of redemption, for in their sending Jesus to the cross, they carried out God’s good purpose in making Jesus the Sin-bearer for the world. But for those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, they would be blessed to know mysteries that prophets and righteous men longed to know, but did not (vv. 16, 17).
1. What are the mysteries of the Kingdom?
2. What qualifies someone to be able to receive and understand those mysteries?
3. How can we make sure that our eyes and ears are “blessed” when it comes to the mysteries of the Kingdom?
He did not say “You see not” but “You shall indeed see but never perceive.” He did not say “You do not hear” but “You shall indeed hear but never understand.” So they first inflicted the loss on themselves, by stopping their ears, by closing their eyes, by making their heart fat. For they not only failed to hear but also “heard heavily,” and they did this, he said, “lest they should turn for me to heal them.” Thus he described their aggravated wickedness and their determined defection from him. John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 45.1-2
Show me how to seek the Kingdom today, Lord, in line with Jesus’ teaching, and so that I…
Pray Psalm 72.15-20.
Ask the Lord to show you how to seek the Kingdom today, to give you insight into the mysteries of the Kingdom for your life and work today.
Sing Psalm 72.15-20.
Psalm 72.15-20 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?)
Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right.
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night.
And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim.
And may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name.
Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs.
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forevermore!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).