Read Matthew 13 - 14
In Today's 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 a 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 their young stages, only the expert can tell the difference. But, when these weeds reach maturity, the tares have no head and are of no 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 (Revelation 20:15). Jesus said: Narrow is the way, that leads to life, and few . . . find it (Matthew 7:14). These few have characteristics that are not found in 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 made Him the Lord of their lives. They look forward to attending worship services.
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 you have heard (Colossians 1:22-23).
13:5 forthwith = without delay; 13:15 is waxed gross = has grown hardened; 13:20 anon = immediately; 13:21 dureth = continues; 13:25 tares = darnel; a weed; 13:33 leaven = yeast; meal = ground grain; 14:8 charger = platter, tray.
For Matthew 13:14-15: See Isa. 6:9-10. Matt. 13:32: See Psa. 104:12; Ezek. 17:23; 31:6; Dan. 4:12. Matt. 13:35: See Psa. 78:2. Matt. 13:41: See Zeph. 1:3. Matt. 13:43: See Dan. 12:3.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Doug Bereuter (NE), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX), and Rep. John LaFalce (NY) · Country: St. Vincent and The Grenadines (120,000) in the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 50% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 2% spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Pray in faith that God will bless your family (Genesis 17:18-20).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 1:18