Read Matthew 13 -- 14
In Today's Reading:
Jesus' parables; execution of John the Baptist; feeding of 5,000; Jesus walks on the water
Matthew recorded seven prophetic parables of Jesus concerning the mysteries (hidden truths) of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:11). In the first parable, 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 (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, the head reveals 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), who produce fruitful lives.
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 fool the church world, but not Christ. Eventually, the Son of Man shall send forth His angels (messengers), and they shall gather out of His kingdom all . . . which do iniquity (lawlessness). And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (13:41-42).
It is horrifying to think that most people live as if they expected to be here on earth forever. No one ever expects to be hurled into a lake of fire and brimstone, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness forever and forever. But, it may seem startling to read that Jesus said: Narrow (confining) is the way, that leads to 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, bringing their tithes and offerings and worshiping the Lord.
To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and . . . be saved (Acts 16:31), means much more than a mental assent to the fact: The devils (demons) also believe, and tremble (shudder) (James 2:19). For those who are serious with the Lord, God will present you holy and unblamable . . . in His sight: If you continue in the faith grounded (established) and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which you have heard (Colossians 1:22-23).
13:5 forthwith = immediately, without delay; 13:15 is waxed gross = has grown hardened; 13:20 anon = immediately; 13:21 dureth = endures, 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 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.
BP Staff: Wanda Baker · Pray for Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in the U.S. · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Mr. Henry Rogers · Government Officials: Rep. Doug Bereuter (NE), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX), and Rep. John LaFalce (NY) · Country: Togo (5 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and several African languages · Limited religious freedom · 41% belief in false gods and voodoo; 32% Roman Catholic; 19% Muslim; 8% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice and consider yourself blessed when you suffer for the Name of Christ (I Peter 4:14).
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 5:10