07262020- Matthew 13 –
“The Parables of the Kingdom”
Today’s lectionary text consists of four brief-rapid-fire-parables from the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel…
So, in rapid-fire-succession, we hear about a mustard seed, yeast, treasure, and a pearl.
Some of these can only be found in the Gospel of Matthew – while others can be found first, originally, in the Gospel of Mark.
Matthew rather freely borrowed from Mark without having any qualms about it!
As you know, we have been here for a while now. Jesus is and has been “all-about-his teaching ministry.” He loves it…and embraces it.
And the word on the streets is – that Jesus never teaches the people without throwing a parable in there – somewhere.
It paints a portrait. A picture.
It gives you something to gnaw on and over, later. Kind of a like a riddle in search of an answer. The kind…that comes to you about three A.M. Aha, SO THAT’S WHAT HE MEANT!!!!!! It allows you to decide for yourself what Jesus was really getting at. You can put it into your own words.
He was on a roll. He usually was.
It was all about the “Kingdom of Heaven.” Were this “any other gospel writer” it would be about the Kingdom of “GOD.”
But NOTE # Matthew is “a good-old- Jewish-boy-through-and-through.” Perhaps the most Jewish of all of the evangelists.
So, if you will remember going all the way back to the “giving of the law at Sinai” …God’s name is “holy.” God’s name is “sacred.” Therefore, intentionally, the name of God was unpronounceable. It was too holy, too sacred to come out of OUR mouths.
And therefore, commandment number 2.
Remember the old “THOU-SHALT-NOTS?” Don’t SAY it. Don’t GO there.
Don’t even THINK about it.
Besides that, Hebrew as a language is made up primarily of consonants – how do you pronounce YHWH, you simple do NOT. And that’s the point. It is too sacred. Too Holy, too special. So, don’t say it, think it or even mention it in cursing.
So, for Matthew, it can only BE the Kingdom of HEAVEN. There are NO OTHER possibilities…the G-word is definitely, OUT!
And somehow in some kind of strange way, these various stories are all meant to enlighten us about the KINGDOM.
And in essence what they say is: God wants YOU. God wants you BADLY. God wants you NOW. God wants all of YOU. All your life, both HE and OTHER people, have been planting seeds. Little teeny-tiny seeds. Certainly, you knew this…you realized it already.
You may recall some of those seed planters, but you can NEVER name them all. There have been THAT MANY!!!
Seeds that will one day, prayerfully grow and expand and bear MUCH FRUIT.
In the meantime, God is there, patiently waiting and watching and biding his holy time. He is in your corner. He has your back. He is just waiting for you to come to him. Completely. Totally. Holding nothing back.
And then watch things happen. Doors will open. Things will change. There will a fresh breath of new-clean-air. Life will seem somehow different…better. Normal.
AND this Kingdom of his, this Kingdom of Heaven is so worth it. You have no idea how much it is worth. It is unfathomable to you.
Take everything you own. Take all of your wealth. Include that inheritance that you were once given. Take all of your poverty, too. Take your vehicle. The place you reside. All your furnishings. The clothes that you call your own. Your check book, all your personal belongings, your social security check, your pension, any bank accounts, your 401 K, your CD’s, your IRA’s…even that STIMULUS check from the Federal Government…
Sell everything and not at bargain shop or Rummage Sale prices, but at TOP DOLLAR…NOW, Throw in your very life, your soul, everything that makes you, YOU…what is its value, what is your net worth today? What is it really worth?
Cash it all in…and no matter WHAT THE NUMBER…nothing can compare with the VALUE of the KINGDOM of HEAVEN. It is beyond priceless!
You could never pay the price. You could never afford to cross EVEN the thresh-hold. You could never afford to make a down-payment. Yet all of this, and so much more, God is willing to GIVE to you for all eternity.
He desires. He longs. He wants you to be with him forever. He wants you to know him and to be in a life-long-committed-relationship with him. He loves you. How do you put a price tag on that?
God ALWAYS loves you, MORE! And all he asks is that you come to him. Amen.