Matthew 15:16 – Are you also still without understanding?

In the reading of these parables I began to feel a bit overwhelmed, we should read these parables not only with a mindset of ‘Jesus spoke them to the men of two millennia ago’ but read them as if Jesus is talking to us now. These parables are warning us of things that are very applicable today and it tells us “Have Ears to Hear, Eyes to See, Seek Understanding from the Heart!” – It began to sink in how many will read these parables, and just breeze over them thinking they understand but do not…. I don’t want us to be those whose seed fell by the wayside or landed in thorns becoming choked. Or have us plant seeds that are misguided causing harm and corruption.

Matthew 13 The Parable of the Sower

Jesus said “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Jesus said “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

We will get back to these two parables a bit later. But I want you to ask yourselves “Do I (as in you) really understand?”

Jesus said to His disciples in another parable in Chapter 15 “Are you also still without understanding?“ Imagine! they had Jesus in the flesh as their teacher, but they did not understand. So how much more should we meditate and pray to gain understanding of these things? Jesus considered these parables important enough to elaborate on and even had them put within His Bible; for us! I think we all should Imagine that Jesus was stood here now speaking to us, asking “Do you understand?” How much more would we listen? How much more would we listen? But Jesus is speaking directly to us from the pages of the Bible. Whenever two or three are gathered in His name we have His Spirit with us. He is present with us.

I am not presenting any in depth study on these parables, I just want us to all think deeper when reading, when listening, and consider what our God has to say. He is reaching out to us in the pages of the Bible. We need to ask Him for understanding just as Peter did in Chapter 15. “Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

I want to mention two short Parables that are often misunderstood – Many of you will believe the following two short parables are only a reference to how miraculously the Kingdom of God will grow, and draw in people and be a shelter. Yes they describe the Kingdom growing but it actually has a warning contained – and it is a follow on from the warning in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares regarding the enemy infiltrating and corrupting the Church. Parables as follows:

Matthew 13:31-32 The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” – The Tree clearly represents the Kingdom but the birds of the air do not, they are people, the enemy that enter in feeding on the Church, corrupting its purposes, no doubt the birds wait for seeds to emerge and feed on them pecking and corrupting them before leaving. God clearly speaks of the Kingdom of God growing as the result of planting seeds – in all the parables we have read prior to this. Compare The Parable of the Sower saying, “some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.”

In Luke 17:5-6 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our Faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have Faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Our Faith might be small but the Faith the size of a mustard seed is enough, to even walk on water. Peter did until he panicked and only then did he stumble. But we should learn something from Peters response as it was perfect. He called out to the Lord “Lord, save me” and Jesus responded by reaching out His hand and catching Peter. Jesus said “O you of little Faith, why did you doubt?” This initially sounds like criticism from Jesus, but it is confirmation that Peter has Faith and even if it is little in size ‘like a mustard seed’, it is mighty in power and can grow – into something very big.

Matthew 13:33 The Parable of the Leaven

Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” – And Jesus warns us about Leaven in Matthew 16:5 “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” I believe the leaven in this parable is another warning from Jesus regarding how the Church will be corrupted by the enemy and the corruption of the Church will spread just as leaven does throughout the bread – but many will view this Parable as a positive message, seeing it in a positive sense, not seeing the Truth clearly. Jesus clearly refers to sowing of seed as the method of expanding the Kingdom. Christians plant seeds, but the leaven is used by the enemy and goes unnoticed, and then propagates. The woman took some leaven and secretly added to it. This can be viewed the same as taking Holy Scripture and adding to it, it is forbidden it is corruption and it spreads.

And then we have the Parable of the Treasure Hidden in the field:

Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like Treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Proverb 23:23 provides insight on this, “Buy the Truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom, instruction and understanding.”

The man in the parable discovered the Truth, he forsakes everything he has because He can see nothing is more valuable than the Truth, he would not keep back even one thing, nothing is going to prevent him having the Truth. The Truth is now his only Treasure! He Rejoices over it, just because we should, we all have the Truth don’t we? I hope!. This guy will not allow the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches of this world choke and overcome him.

The Proverbs say – “Do NOT sell it” he will never sell away the Truth for something else, but he will keep it forever. Is the Truth number one in our lives? If you are keeping back even one thing that is proving to be of more value and importance in your life then you have not the Truth. Would you deny the Truth if threatened? The Truth should set us free, Truth is more important than life in this flesh, we live through Him. Jesus! We should be sharing the Truth for free. My issue with this parable is in hiding of the Treasure when we are supposed to be a light to the world, we are to be fruitful in growing the Kingdom and be those who stand up for the Truth. Jesus knew there will be those who discover the Truth, but hide their Faith keeping it secret, instead of being a Lamp lighting the way they do absolutely nothing.

However, Proverbs 23:23 mentions “wisdom and instruction and understanding” Unless we get “Understanding” from God we live according to the wisdom of this world and will give poor instruction to others. We become nothing more than fools. Proverbs 18:2 says “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.” We need to pray for “Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding” and we shall know the Truth, and lead others by how we simply live.

Sometimes when we pray into a situation, God might withhold from us His understanding , and in that case we must remember “God’s ways are higher than our ways” and we must Trust in God and BELIEVE in Him, but we MUST keep praying for His understanding and believing in Him, because one day all things will be revealed.

Abraham believed yet Abraham did not always understand, but Belief was accounted to Him for Righteousness. That is powerful, God doesn’t ask for much, just that we believe in His promises, believe in Him, Trust in Him? Have Faith, and In return for those things I mentioned, God bestows upon us His own Righteousness – that is undeserved Grace.

In fact let us simplify things, because actually we don’t have to do anything! Because those things I mentioned, well, if you know something is True you should automatically believe in it – wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you believe in the Truth? We don’t expect a reward for believing in something that is True, but Jesus is the Truth and for simply believing the Truth, amazingly it is accounted to us as Righteousness by God – and it is His own Righteousness that saves us! God will look upon us as if He is looking upon His own Son who died for us, having paid for our sins by taking our sins upon Himself and He bled… for us on the Cross. We need to reflect on this deeply – His precious blood is our Treasure – but we are for Him, His Treasure. This is undeserved Mercy, and amazing Grace.

But, “do we believe? Or do we believe that we believe” instead of simply just “Believing.” There are those, and I hope it is not any of us – who think they believe. I ask myself and all of you to consider this – what do you believe in?

Many will be shocked – one day soon. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because one day many will find out that much or even all of their understanding was wrong, and they find out they are one of the Tares in these parables and will pay for it. They will wish they studied and meditated and prayed for understanding from God instead of just breezing over the passages in the Bible without any thought. Or because they listened only to that Preacher without checking up on what he or …. even SHE said. They will find out they were part of the Leaven that corrupted the Kingdom, or they were amongst the birds pecking at the seeds, and they participated in believing and propagating lies.

They think they knew Jesus but Jesus will respond as in Luke 13:27 “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity” and they will be gathered up to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Many professing Christians are Pharisees, Tares and the Leaven and Jesus warned us about them. Beware! Jesus said Regarding the Pharisees. Jesus said in Matthew 15:8-9 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” – and this is true of many Christians today who will end up with the Tares in the Lake of Fire.

And Jesus also compared the Pharisees to weeds (same as Tares) in Matthew 15:13 “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” – The Lake of Fire again comes to mind.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

The Parable of the Tares Explained

Jesus disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” “He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” – The righteous will shine because the righteousness is bestowed upon us by our Lord Jesus Christ. The rest?  cast into the Lake of Fire.

Finally – this passage came to me as I wanted to finish this and it turned out absolutely appropriate. Paul the Apostle.

Ephesians 6:10-20 The Whole Armor of God – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with Truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of Faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

 This is God’s word for us. May God grant us all understanding.

AMEN

17th September 2021 – Leon Davey