There are all kinds of tensions in the Christian life. Tensions as in truths that seem to clash. In this message, the idea of being ‘free’ in Christ is contrasted with the need to ‘submit’ to Christ as Lord. How do freedom and submission fit together? Maybe Matthew 11:28-30 has the answer!
In this fifth and last of the parable recorded in Matthew 13, this one in Matthew 13:47-50, Jesus spoke of things that would have been familiar to those who lived on the shores of the Sea of Galilee – the everyday, ordinary practice of the people who made a living from fishing, and the associated sorting process that would follow… the not up-to-scratch fish thrown away and the best ones either sold or eaten. On this, Jesus taught that this was just a pointer toward the end of time, when people are sorted out into categories – some rejected, some not – and the only safe place to be to avoid such judgement.
In this fourth, and one of the smallest, parables found in Matthew 13:44-46, again we find that Jesus spoke to those who were around him about everyday common items. This time, the fairly well-known practise of finding buried wealth in a plot of land (which means it was yours if you bought the land!) and the search for a priceless, most valuable pearl. In the first case, the man who found the treasure gave all he could to gain something of greater value. In the second, the one who came across the pearl also gave up everything in order that he might have it. The Kingdom of God is like that. Worth more than anything else.
In this third parable of Matthew 13, Jesus speaks in Matthew 13:31-35 of two very common items from his day. The tiny mustrad seed which, which when grown, became a medium to large sized bush that would be the home for many birds, and an amount of yeast, which would turn a small amlount of leaven into a larger amount of bread. By these, Jesus again taught that the kingdom of God does not come by worldly means, but God brings it about silently and almost behind-the-scenes, leading us to always have hope that His Kingdom ‘will come’.
In this second parable that Matthew records Jesus teaching in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, the everyday item that Jesus used was wheat and weeds. To us, these might sound like two completely different items, but in his day the ‘weed’ was a ‘counterfeit wheat’ that was very hard to distinguish from the real. As Jesus explained the parable, it becomes clear that the point he was making is still so important for His people today, as we grow in the world along with the ‘counterfeit wheat’ – leading us to see the world around us through His eyes.
Of the 5 parables that make up Matthew 13, the first in one Matthew 13:1-23 is by far the longest. All of them have to do with the Kingdom of God, how and when it comes and how it grows, and what will be the consequences of not being part of it. In this parable, Jesus takes familiar agricultural themes and makes a point about listening, hearing and fruitfulness.
In this message on Matthew 5:13-16, Hugh Price examines the two metaphors that Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount to describe his followers. Salt in the ancient days was used mainly as a preserving agent, and light, (in the sense of the opposite of darkness) has one major purpose in all of our lives ever since God made the world. The challenge is of course, not just understanding these metaphors, but living them out in the world.
As part of Christian Union Sunday in April 2017, Steve Blyth from CU preached from Matthew 11:1-15. In this passage, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the world but is a confused messenger. He asks to check if Jesus is the one we’ve been waiting for and what he has come to do. Jesus reassures him from the Old Testament prophecies concerning himself and commends John’s message as he prepared the way. Yet we now have a greater perspective than even John as we live on the other side of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. We have the privilege of introducing Jesus to others as we share the hope that we have in him.
When the women first went to the tomb where Jesus has been buried on that first Easter Sunday morning, they never expected to find Him alive. But when Matthew records in Matthew 28:1-20 that Jesus was alive, this changed everything. While they worshipped Him by falling down at His feet, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb (and saw what happened) and the Jewish authorities were meeting together to spread misinformation about the truth. But no lie can stop the truth, and the whole universe is now under the Lordship on Jesus!