“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 13:47-50 (ESV) Continue reading

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matthew 13:10-11 (ESV)

The disciples asked a question that perhaps many people have asked down through the years. Or perhaps many have read this passage numerous times and have not stopped to consider why some people understood what Jesus preached and others did not. It is obvious from Jesus’ response, “. . . to them it has not be given,” that the ability to understand the secrets of the kingdom came from a source outside of the individual. Continue reading

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:33 (ESV)

Jesus follows the parable of the mustard seed with a parable that has a similar meaning; the parable of the leaven. As with the parable of the mustard seed, many interpret the parable of the leaven as referring to an evil influence which invades the kingdom of God until it totally corrupts the kingdom. Continue reading

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV)

There are varying opinions on the interpretation of this parable. One interpretation is based on observations from previous parables. Jesus is the man who sows the seed; which is the kingdom (Matthew 13:37), the field is the world (Matthew 13:38). Some commentators propose that mustard does not grow to be a tree but only a shrub. So, the growth of the mustard seed into a tree must signify something unnatural. Thus the kingdom of God started with meager beginnings (smallest of all seeds) and as it grew in became something “unnatural” or perverted through false doctrine, sinful practices and hypocrisy. The birds of the air are considered to be satanic spirits which have found a home in which to roost (Matthew 13:4; Mark 4:15). Continue reading

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” Matthew 13:24-25 (ESV)

My dad did not outwardly appear to be a very spiritual man. However, on one occasion he conveyed to me a very powerful spiritual reality. As the day drew near for me to be baptized and officially join the church, he stopped me one day in our dining room and asked if I understood what I was doing. I assured him that I did. At this he responded, “There are a lot of people who have their name on the church role who will die and go to hell.” Continue reading

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

It was customary in Jesus’ day for a man to hide his wealth in some part of his house or in a field so that no one could find it. Often times a man would go on a journey or to war and die with no one knowing where he had hidden his treasure. Thus it was not uncommon in that day for someone to be digging in a field where he thought a treasure might be hidden. Should a treasure be found, the person would keep the discovery to himself and purchase the land making it and the treasure his own possession. Jesus alludes to this custom in his description of the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God). Continue reading