Lesson 150-March 25, 2018
Introduction: In todays Scripture we find the disciples responding to Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Soils) with a question. The fact that the parable had been given but no explanation had been offered perplexed the disciples. They were puzzled by Jesus’ lack of explanation. There are some important facts that will help us in regards to the disciples questions and seemingly confusion. David Platt offers some wise words of insight that I believe we will find both helpful and useful as we look at todays Scriptures.
David Platt: “In order to understand Matthew 13 we need to place ourselves in the broader context of Mat- thew’s Gospel. In Matthew 3:2, John the Baptist announced, ‘Repent, because the Kingdom of Heaven has come near!’ He had proclaimed that the King, Christ, would ‘baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’ (v11) and that a ‘winnowing shovel (fork) is in His hand’ (v12). As Judge, Jesus would separate the wheat from the chaff. Then John baptized Jesus, the anointed Messiah, the One who had come to usher in the Kingdom of God (vv13-17). Drastic changed looked to be imminent.”
Platt continues, “But now in Matthew 13, ten chapters later, very little substantive change has happened. Sure Jesus has healed and taught some people, but most were keeping a safe distance from Him. Religious people in particular were standing up against Him, even plotting to kill Him (Matthew 12:14). Following these para- bles in Chapter 13, Jesus’ neighbors were ready to disown Him (vv.53-58). Needless to say, there were a lot of people very confused about whether Jesus was the Messiah, including the crowds (Chapter 12) and John the Baptist himself (Chapter 11). Even the disciples must have been a little perplexed, as things weren’t shaping up the way they had hoped.
Many Jews expected all of Israel to flock to the Messiah and rally around Him, yet only a few people were ral- lying around Jesus. And it certainly did not look like He was ushering in a whole new Kingdom. As chapter 13 begins, interest had grown and the crowds were gathered around Jesus, even to the point where He had to get into a boat and go out into the water in order to see all of them (vv.1-2) And what did Jesus do? He decid- ed to tell them some stories about farmers, seeds, weeds, bread, pearls, and homeowners. How’s that for a message from the Messiah! We need to see what these words that confused crowds two thousand years ago mean to our lives today.”
Thus the disciples question becomes very important even for us today.
(v10) “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables’?” Mark gives us some very interesting information in regards to this question. Mark tells us in (4:10) that the disciples were alone with Jesus away from the crowd when they asked Him that question.
Questions: Why do you think the disciples waited till they were alone with Jesus, away from the crowd to ask Him this question.
Do you think that as the disciples saw the crowd they realize that many of them were not getting it?
To the disciples is it possible that it seemed many in the crowd were becoming confused by Jesus’ method of story telling? In the disciples assessment the story Jesus was speaking was confusing the listeners and making it difficult for them to find meaning in His words.
(v11) “He answered and said to them.” Jesus now uses the disciples question to explain the purpose of speak- ing using parables. He simply helps the disciples to gain understanding in the manner and method of His teaching.
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Jesus told the disciples “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven.” Please read (v19), (v24, (v31), (v33), (v44), (v45), (v47), (v52).
Question: What do you find in common in the preceding verses?
(v11) “mysteries” “In the New Testament, a ‘mystery’ is a spiritual truth understood only by divine revela-
These “mysteries” were Kingdom truths given as divine revelation for the understanding of those of the King- dom (those that receive Jesus Christ as the Messiah, God’s chosen one). These “mysteries” that Jesus speaks of “could never be learned apart from divine revelation, but which has now been revealed.” MacDonald
(vv. 11b, 12) “but to them it has not been given, for whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Those who receive and accept Jesus, the true Light (John 1:9) will grow in knowledge and understanding re- ceiving further light, (understanding) as he/she grows in obedience and maturity in their walk with Christ.
As we walk in the light, the brighter the light becomes (“abundance”). But we must remember that those who reject the true Light (Jesus), through their rejection and unbelief the light grows dimmer (“even what he has will be taken away from him”).
(v13) “Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
“Many thousands of people heard Jesus teach and saw Him perform miraculous signs as evidence of His di- vine messiahship, but most of them did not recognize Him as Lord or receive Him as Savior. They were ex- posed to God incarnate, and yet they rejected Him in either by direct opposition or by indifferent neglect. They said no to the King and because they refused to receive the divine light that shined on them, they drifted deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness.” MacArthur
Please explain in your own words the meaning of the following: As a person remains in unbelief, the chains of their own unbelief become tighter and tighter ultimately binding them forever.
Please explain: A persons’ rejection of God ultimately brings God’s rejection of the person. What are you doing with the Light that God has given to you?