Matthew 13:24-58 – Something Is Not Right
February 3, 2019
SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT
Have you ever wondered why the world is still so bad? Even worse, have you wondered why the church falls short so often? You are not the first to be troubled with these thoughts. Even people who were witnesses of the earthly ministry of Jesus questioned His methods. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was Lord and Savior, but months later as he faced execution he questioned whether Jesus really was the one he had been waiting for (John 1:29; Matthew 11:3). Everyone expected the world to be changed when the Messiah arrived. For John the Baptist, things weren’t better. They were worse. It is for this reason that Jesus explained the Kingdom of heaven in parables. The will of God covers a large span of time and saves multitudes of people. The work of Jesus saves us from our sin, but we still live in this world stained with sin. God allows both the wheat and the tares to grow together until His work is finished. This is why evil still exists. This is why we still suffer under the weight of the brokenness of this earth. We should not be troubled by this reality. Our hope is in the future completion of the work of God. There is a harvest. The unrighteous will be separated from those saved through Jesus Christ. Our worldly sorrows are but momentary afflictions that will culminate in the salvation of the entire people of God (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
GLORIOUS ENDEAVORS BEGIN SMALL
The disciples of Jesus have great zeal. At one point James and John want to call down fire from heaven on those who reject their Christ (Luke 9:54). Like us, they always wanted the work of Jesus to be finished according to their timeline. Those of us who understand the power and purpose of God always want Him to complete His work quickly (Revelation 22:20). However, God is loving and patient. He will not complete His work until every last one of His children receives His gospel (2 Peter 3:9). The kingdom of heaven is like a small seed that is planted and grows over time. Though small at first, its growth produces many branches that provide needed shelter. As believers today, we have the wonderful perspective of seeing how a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth changed the world. What started so small with a handful of fishermen and tax collectors is now the largest faith system in the world. There are people who love and worship Jesus on every habitable continent. We should remember this truth as we live our lives for Christ. God is always working. Perhaps His work is not at the speed we would like, but His work is loving, sure, and eternal. Trust Him and despise not the days of small beginnings.
THE GOSPEL IS WORTH EVERYTHING
Have you ever been at a yard sale or a flea market scavenging around through boxes of junk? More often than not our searching produces nothing of value. However, there are those few and far between moments when we find that gold watch or sterling silver utensil. Our hearts leap for the joy at finding something precious that does not cost us its true worth! This is a reflection of someone finding the gospel. A gift so rare and out of our reach until there it is laying free for our taking. This is what some people never experience. They think religion is about being good and keeping rules. Their teachers always breaking their backs as they push for more giving and more morality. They dutifully mark off their checklists with feelings of their own self-worth and smug resentment for having to do anything in the first place. This is not so for those who find the great pearl. They gladly give the little they have to possess such a treasure. There is no duty or resentment. Only joy! Those who look into the face of Jesus gladly follow Him through deserts and valleys, pains and sufferings, or wherever else He leads. Just to be able to look upon Him and know that they belong to Him is the only motivation they need. Yes this world is still evil. Yes the work of the Gospel is still unfinished and may even appear to be losing the battle in certain places. My question for you in spite of these realities… Have you found the treasure above all others?
- Many say that God cannot exist because there is evil in this world. Why is this such a short-sighted and mistaken observation?
- We all want God to snap His fingers and fix everything. What can we learn from these parables that helps us understand the working of God’s will in the world?
- Some people want to go to heaven and ask, “what must I do” (Matthew 19:16). Others find Jesus and want nothing other than Him the rest of their lives. Discuss the differences between these two types of people regarding the “cost of discipleship” (Luke 14:25-33; Philippians 3:8-10).