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Saturday, March 12 2016
Matthew 13: The Meaning Of Parables
"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world ... Who hath ears to hear, let him hear"
The English-language word "parabolic" means, as the word implies, shaped like a parabola - which may be scientifically defined as "a plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone and a plane parallel to an element of the curve." That definition is somewhat confusing to most of us, but an example of a parabola is not - a reflector telescope, such as the one shown in the photograph, uses a parabolic mirror to gather a relatively large amount of image light, and then, by means of its slightly curved shape, reflects it all to a fine point of focus.
The Biblical word "parable" originated from the very same Greek word as that used for a parabolic mirror. The only difference is that a telescope mirror focuses gathered light, while a parable focuses gathered words (although both give "light" to the "eyes"). Similarities do however remain: both look up to heaven, both focus what they gather to make a "point," and both make use of that "heavenly" light to see and understand God's Creation.
The Messiah often taught by means of parables. He also frequently used parables for prophecies of a yet-future time. That method produced another similarity, and yet another difference, between parabolic telescopes and parabolic prophecies - both are about seeing through the distances of time, but a telescope looks back in time (the images of stars and galaxies seen tonight are actually how those heavenly objects appeared tens, thousands, or millions of years ago when the light left its source to travel through space at the speed of light), while parabolic prophecies look forward in time.
The Messiah often used parables in His teachings - sometimes to illuminate His lesson for those whose time of understanding had come, but sometimes, such as "the parable of the sower" below, to hide what He was teaching from those whose time of calling had not yet come. Without the coming of the Holy Spirit, for each person in their due time, the Word of God cannot be correctly understood.
For those whose time had not yet come, "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." It wasn't a matter of teaching so that they wouldn't understand, but rather teaching because they couldn't yet understand.
"13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying,
The "parable of the weeds" portrayed how Satan's influence has corrupted humanity and how the LORD has reserved the future day of Judgment for those who refuse to repent - after their time of calling has been provided to them.
"13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
As plainly stated, "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
"13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 13:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Notice carefully "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" - the parables were a revelation (a revealing) for those whose time of calling had come (then, and ever since) and a cover for those whose time of calling had not yet come (then, and ever since). Revealing Truth to those who cannot yet understand it does no good.
"13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
When the time of calling has come, the understanding is like the discovery of a great treasure.
"13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
So too the "parable of the net" - the "point" of all of the parables was the same.
"13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The Messiah's famous "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house" was a response of those whose time of calling had not yet come. For them, "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
"13:53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 13:57 And they were offended in him.
Fact Finder: What is the "point" of living a true Christian life?
This Day In History, March 12
538: Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ended his siege of Rome. He retreated to Ravenna, leaving the city to the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius.
1470: During the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV defeated the rebel forces at the Battle of Empingham.
1496: Jews were expelled from Syria (ironic, since Judah, the father of the Jews, was born in Syria of a Syrian mother; see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria and Who Were The First Jews?; also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings).
1609: The Bermuda Islands became an English colony.
1664: New Jersey became an English colony, named after Jersey in the Channel Islands of England.
1689 The Williamite War in Ireland began.
1799: Austria declared war on France.
1814: British troops under Wellington captured Bordeaux in France. Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the Wars of 1776 and 1812-14 against the U.S. rebels; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in stopping the spread of Napoleon's French Empire throughout Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo.
1832: Charles Cunningham Boycott, the Englishman whose name is now synonymous with protest ("boycott"), was born.
1854: Britain and France formulated an alliance with the Ottoman Empire against Russia during the Crimean War (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1879: The British-Zulu War began.
1894: Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time. As its name states, the original formula for Coca-Cola, which was created by a pharmacist for the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Atlanta Georgia, was cocaine and caffeine.
1912 The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts in the U.S.) were established in the U.S. The Girl Guides were created in England years before, in 1910, by Robert Baden-Powell, a British Army officer who also created the Boy Scouts.
1913: Canberra became the capital of Australia.
1930: Canadian fighter ace Billy Barker was killed in a plane crash near Ottawa, Ontario. Barker was awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down 54 enemy aircraft during the First World War. Barker was one of the top three fighter aces of the war, which included the famous "Red Baron" of Germany, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the "Red Baron" was shot down and killed by another Canadian fighter pilot, Arthur Brown of Carleton Place, Ontario, on April 21 1918).
1933: German President Paul von Hindenburg proclaimed that the swastika and German flag be flown together (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1938: German troops marched in to "anschluss" ("connect") Austria, one day after Arthur Seyss-Inquart became the chancellor of Austria. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria.
1940: A treaty ended the Russia-Finland war, with Russia's demands for Finnish territory met.
1945: Anne Frank, the Dutch-Jewish girl who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany at the age of 15 (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1985: The U.S. and the Soviet Union began weapons of mass destruction control talks in Geneva.
1994: The Church of England ordained women as priests for the first time - ironically, with the reigning monarch being "The Supreme Governor of The Church of England, the head of the Church of England was a woman - Queen Elizabeth II.
1999: Former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland joined NATO.
2011: A day after a major earthquake there, a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan experienced a meltdown and explosion, causing a release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.