According to Matthew 6:33, “Seek first kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [material needs] will be added to you.” Simple enough in principle, but just what is this kingdom, and what does it mean to seek it first? Jesus explained the kingdom in a number of parables. Here are three from Matthew 13:24-33.
The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a man
A man sowed good seed in his field. Now, this parable comes right after Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the sower. It seems safe to conclude that the seed in both cases is the word of God.… Read the rest
Isaiah 40 may be one of the best-known passage among all the Old Testament prophets. Anyone who knows Handel’s Messiah will immediately recognize the text for the first tenor recitative and aria, the first chorus, the first alto aria (with chorus), and the second alto aria among the first eleven verses of the chapter: “Comfort ye my people,” “Every valley shall be exalted,” “And the glory of the Lord,” “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,” and “He shall feed his flock.”
We associate these verses with the Christmas story at least because John the Baptist claimed to be the “voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,” words quoted in the tenor recitative.… Read the rest
When Jesus told a parable, the story concerned familiar situations of his time. Sometimes we must translate it from his culture to ours. Other times we can find its familiarity downright embarrassing. Such is the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21).
A farmer has produced such an abundance of crops that his success has outgrown his barns. He decides to tear them down and have bigger ones built in their place. With careful planning and sharp business practices, he should never have to work again, and he intends to relax and enjoy what he has provided for himself.
Superficially, the Parable of the Ten Minas resembles the Parable of the Ten Talents, but the differences are probably more important than the similarities. Jesus told the parable right before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. His followers thought he was going there to claim his kingdom. In fact, he intended to go to his Father to receive it. In the parable, he traveled to a far country.
Mina, like talents, is a unit of money. In this parable, though, the minas represent spiritual gifts. The nobleman gave a mina to each of ten servants. (In the parable of the talents, he gave three men different amounts according to their differing ability.) Then he returned, having received the kingdom, and called the servants to find out how they had done.… Read the rest