Today's Bible Reading: Matthew 13
Selected Biblical Text
31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."
33 He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough." 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." (Matthew 13:31-35 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
In Matthew's Gospel, the third major discourse of Jesus is a group of parables. Parables, by their very nature, reveal hidden truths. The nature of the kingdom was not immediately obvious in Jesus' day, nor is it obvious in our day. Some things are hidden, invisible until one takes a closer look. The nature of the kingdom is easily misunderstood. We mostly tend to think in normal patterns rather than seeking meaning in changing expectations. Jesus came to help people change their expectations. Life can be better than we thought. We can escape tedium and find fruitfulness; we can endure difficulties knowing that God is in control. These new possibilities are of such great value that those who see them will pay virtually any price to obtain them.
The two parables in our selected text show the power of small beginnings. Parables turn reality upside down. Parables reflect new, never-before-seen realities. Parables say that things do not have to be the way they always have been. Parables integrate life, combining what is with what can be.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the "expectancy quotient" of your life? Do you tend to expect only a little change or a lot of change? How hopeful are you that Jesus can turn around the difficult parts of your life or the lives of your family and loved ones? Do you expect the "same old same old" or do you expect things to be different? What commitments would you be willing to make if things could really change? The reality of Jesus' kingdom, what is not always visible and easily seen, is that God's power can change our lives. Praise Him!
Dear God, thank you for revealing yourself to us. Forgive us when we are stubborn, hard-headed and unchangeable. Mold us and make us new, into the image of Jesus, reflecting kingdom realities which are different than what we have known previously. Give us wisdom to see, even as the disciples of Jesus needed an explanation. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.