Friday, August 9, 2013

August 9 - Matthew 13

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 13. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Jesus tells several parables (like metaphors) about the "kingdom of heaven" (made up of the people who decide to give God reign in their lives) and about the various ways people hear about and respond to the message of God's kingdom of heaven. Jesus says that part of the reason he speaks in parables is because then people won't understand, unless they actively seek to. Here's a quick review of the "nugget" of each parable:
  • The Sower - A farmer spreads seeds in different places and they grow according to the soil in which they’re planted.
  • The Weeds - God is waiting for the final judgement, when he will decide who is "wheat" and who is "weeds."
  • The Mustard Seed and Yeast - God’s kingdom is not like a heavy-handed political movement. Rather, it works in subtle ways through the undercurrents of societies, producing good things wherever it spreads.
  • The Hidden Treasure and Pearl - When someone discovers the gospel - the good news that despite us, God still loves us and wants a relationship with us, and sent Jesus to die for us so we could have that relationship and live in His Kingdom - they should be so overjoyed that they're willing to give up anything and everything to get it. (And, when you think about it, God gave up everything to get us.)
  • The Net - This parable is akin to the one about weeds.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Again (as in Matthew 11) we see one of the major themes in this chapter is how we respond to Jesus and his message of God's offer of love and to take leadership in our lives. Some people simply say no. Others say yes, even sometimes with a burst of excitement and growth, but soon they get distracted, or life gets hard and they turn away from God. But there are others who are overwhelmed with joy at the unbelievable value of what they have discovered, and they give up whatever they have to to get it, and their lives end up producing an incredible "crop."

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • When you hear the good news that a perfect God loves very imperfect you with perfect love, died for you, wants a relationship with you, wants to lead you through life and eventually bring you to perfect Heaven to be with Him forever - how do you respond? Are you too cynical to believe it? Does it sound good, or does it set your heart on fire? Do you kind of want that, or are you willing to give up anything to have it? And if you haven't responded in an appropriately overwhelming way, what could you do to soften up your soil so the seed of God's message can really sink in? Have you asked God to help you with that?