Saturday, April 01, 2017

Fresh Studies in Matthew, Matthew 13:34

At this point Jesus is using parables and Matthew says it is to fulfill a prophecy in the Psalms. While God reveals truth, he doesn’t reveal it on our terms. That is a core theological truth, I am afraid. The Great Commission does not seek to please or make acceptance easy for the audience a al times. “I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”  We moderns may think we are smart enough to figure these out, but just because Jesus utters them (in parables or directly) doesn’t mean they are automatically understood. He does explain two of them to the disciples in private, and thus for us; the multitude would thus hear it later, after the cross.  

I am absorbed in the method as well as the message.  We are told to use stories to communicate like Jesus did, but his stories or object lessons were not always crystal clear.  Other times they were.  The ones about the birds in the trees and the leaven perplex me.  I was taught they mean evil will come into the kingdom, as does the parable of the tares and wheat, but the tares and wheat are about how the kingdom exists in this world and that they will be separated in the end.  The kingdom is not evil or does not contain evil, but is planted in a world where evil exists.  In the case of the birds, perhaps it’s about the size of the kingdom being so large.  As to the leaven, I don’t know.  Instead of the evil of leaven being found in the kingdom, perhaps it means that the leaven of the kingdom will permeate the world.  Leaven is not always bad.  They ate leaven at times, so it couldn’t be bad all the time, as we are often taught. 

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