In Today's Scripture Reading:
Jesus' parables; execution of John the Baptist; feeding of 5,000; Jesus walks on the water
In the first parable of Jesus that Matthew recorded, Jesus described four kinds of responses from those who hear His Word. The true disciple of Christ is represented by the good ground that received seed, which in turn brings forth fruit even to an hundredfold (Matthew 13:8-23). His second parable was of tares (weeds) that grew in the same field with wheat but produced no fruit (13:24-30). The tares look identical to wheat as they grow. In its young stages, only the expert can tell the difference. But, when these weeds reach maturity there is no head, exposing its lack of value. In this parable, the Master said: Let both grow together until the harvest (13:30). Jesus explained that the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom (13:38).
The tares represent those who outwardly appear to be converts to Christ, but who have never truly received Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. They may join the church, give their tithes, and deceive members of the church, but not Christ. It may seem startling to read that the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all . . . which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (13:41-42).
No one expects to be hurled into a lake of fire, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth forever. Jesus said: Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few . . . find it (7:14). These few have characteristics that are not true of the majority of people. They recognized that they were sinners and needed a Savior, and they asked the Lord to forgive them of their sins, and to make Him the Lord of their lives. They look forward to attending worship services on Sunday.
To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and . . . be saved (Acts 16:31), means much more than a mental assent to the fact — it's a way of living. Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard (Colossians 1:23).
13:5 forthwith =b> quickly; 13:15 is waxed gross =b> has grown hardened; 13:20 anon =b> immediately; 13:21 dureth for a while =b> continues only a short time; 13:25 tares =b> weeds — symbolic of satanic activities; 13:33 leaven =b> yeast — symbolic of sin; meal =b> ground grain; 14:8 charger =b> large platter.
For Matthew 13:14-15: See Isaiah 6:9-10. Matthew 13:32: See Psalm 104:12; Ezekiel 17:23; 31:6; Daniel 4:12. Matthew 13:35: See Psalm 78:2. Matthew 13:41: See Zephaniah 1:3. Matthew 13:43: See Daniel 12:3.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Government Officials: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX) and Rep. Brian Higgins (NY) • Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa • Major languages: Arabic and Italian • No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted • 98% Muslim; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray to the Lord with sincere lips (Psalm 17:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Malachi 3:10