Blessed… The Parables

NOTE: During these next few days the blogs are going to look a bit different. Chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus beginning teaching parables in earnest. In this chapter Jesus tells the parable and then might go into something else, perhaps teach another parable and then comes back to the first to explain it. For the sake of continuity I am going to keep sections together. Today’s readings are the first two verses of the chapter paired with why Jesus taught in parables. When we get back to more sequential passages I will move back to a more standard presentation.

That day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he climbed into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore…

 …Jesus’ disciples came and said to him, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?” Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand.14 What Isaiah prophesied has become completely true for them:

You will hear, to be sure, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeingFor this people’s senses have become calloused,  and they’ve become hard of hearing, and they’ve shut their eyes so that they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them. “Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t (Matthew 13:1-2, 10-17, Common English Bible).

I love Jesus’ parables. Sometimes they can be difficult to understand the point but I really do love them. They are some of my favorite preaching passages. I think that the Beatitudes and the specific parables Jesus tells in Matthew are the biggest reasons why Matthew is my favorite of the Gospels.

In today’s reading, Jesus is telling the reason he taught in parables. At least to my ear this sounds a bit cryptic too. But, what I think Jesus is saying here is, he teaches in parables because only those whose hearts are ready will understand the parables. When a person’s heart is ready, then they will understand.

What that idea says to me is, we have to be at work through prayer, Bible study, worship, giving, service and more to build our hearts to better understanding of what God has for us.

Through prevenient grace, God is already at work in our lives. God builds us up and prepares our hearts and minds to be disciples. As fellow travelers on the way, we in the Church, the people charged with making disciples, are the instruments God uses to open hearts and minds to change lives in the world around us.

How do you allow God to use you to build hearts and minds to understand the parables as well as all the Gospel?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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