Matthew’s gospel records six parables in Matthew 13 that start, “the kingdom of heaven is like. . .” Three more gospels of the kingdom appear later in Matthew. In this post, we will look at the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), which starts, “the kingdom of heaven is like a king . . .”
The parable immediately follows Peter’s question about forgiveness. According to typical rabbinic teaching, forgiveness was unnecessary after the third offense. Peter asked if he needed to forgive seven times. In other words, Peter asked if forgiving more than twice as much as other rabbis required is good enough.… Read the rest
The kingdom of heaven is a major theme of Matthew’s gospel, including most of the parables in Matthew 13. The chapter begins with the parable of the sower (or the four soils) and its explanation. All the other parables in the chapter compare the kingdom of heaven to something or someone. Four other chapters include parables that illustrate what the kingdom of heaven is like.
This post will examine the short parables at the end of Matthew 13. He spoke these parables to the disciples alone, not to a crowd.
Christians have been awaiting the return of Jesus Christ since the very beginning of the church. In fact, as early as Amos (almost 800 years before Christ), people were looking forward to the Day of the Lord. And beginning with Amos, the prophets and apostles have warned us it won’t be a pleasant time.
The coming wrath of God is not a pleasant thought. Many Christians recoil because they can’t reconcile it with his love. But we must remember that every syllable of the Bible perfectly describes God’s love. Even the parts we don’t like. With that in mind, let’s take a careful look at 2 Peter 3.… Read the rest
Do you ever feel like you pray and pray and God doesn’t listen? It may or may not be true.
Once when I was feeling really down and rudderless, I opened my Bible at random and found Isaiah 1. It contains this passage:
11The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
In one of his prayers, Jesus told the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Psalm 119:160 adds, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (NKJV).
Everything from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is truth. So shouldn’t we make the effort to understand it and believe it?
Instead, most of us have only a nodding acquaintance with the Bible. According to some polls, even nearly half of ordained clergy never open their Bibles except to prepare a sermon or lesson. Therefore, all they can do is pass on half-baked understanding, or, in other words, ignorance.… Read the rest
At Christmas time, advertisers want us to concentrate on gift giving. But did you ever stop to think that it’s also the season of gift receiving? And that God gives the gifts that give the season its meaning?
People can very carefully choose gifts that reflect their understanding of the people they’re giving to. Or they can put minimal thought and effort into the task.
People can receive gifts with gratitude. Or with indifference, disappointment, or rejection.
If you have carefully chosen a gift and the person you give to doesn’t appreciate it, how do you feel? Have you ever thought about what God feels?… Read the rest
Does it require courage for a man of God to speak to the people of God?
It shouldn’t, but sometimes it does. God’s chosen people have consistently rebelled against God’s chosen leaders and messengers. They started against Moses. The rebellious church today continues in the same vein.
God called Ezekiel as prophet to the sons of Israel and told him not to be afraid of their looks or words.
And that’s after Ezekiel had seen four creatures that had four faces apiece. After it dawned on him that God himself appeared to him with them. People can be scarier than the weirdest supernatural visions. … Read the rest