As Jesus extended His universal invitation to all who "labour and are
heavy laden," saying, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls," Matthew 11:28-29. Then He ended one phase of His ministry and began a much
broader, more personal, evangelical ministry.
Matthew 12 describes the
outrage of the religious leaders that developed in response to their
Messiah, accusing Him of using satanic power to cast out demons. Matthew 12:24 concludes, "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This
fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the
devils." Then the Lord Jesus cautioned them of the sin against the Holy
That very day Jesus' ministry changed: He no longer proclaimed to Israel
(who looked for an earthly kingdom) that the kingdom of heaven was at
hand. He began to call individuals to surrender by faith to His yoke,
or His Lordship, in His spiritual kingdom, but the Jews were so set on
an earthly kingdom that they could not accept Christ's teaching. Matthew 12:50 says, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in
heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." He turned His
ministry to individuals and no longer directed it to nations or groups.
On the very day that Jesus changed His ministry focus, He began to speak
in parables. Jesus opened the understanding of His disciples to the
mysteries of His spiritual kingdom, but those very parables obscured the
truth from those who had rejected Him and who had blasphemed against the
Holy Spirit. He used parables to bring the teaching of the kingdom of
heaven down to their level of thinking so they could comprehend.
13:10-11 says, "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest
thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it
is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to
them it is not given."
What a mystery it is to the carnal mind to try to understand the
spirituality of the kingdom of Christ. In the days of Christ, the
multitude was looking for an earthly kingdom. The Jews were looking for
the entire world to come under the kingship of Christ and the rule of
their own nation. The Lord Jesus began teaching His believers in
parables so they would understand the spiritual nature of His kingdom.
It was not a kingdom of this world, but was to be set up in the hearts
of the children of men.
The genuine believers who hungered for wisdom to understand the truth
found Jesus ready and willing to explain every detail. Each time the
Lord Jesus used a parable, His disciples, His true followers, found that
He was more than willing to give them a full explanation. We see in Mark
4:34, "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were
alone, he expounded all things to his disciples." His disciples were
not left in the dark. Those parables were not used to obscure the
truth, but to teach His true followers even today. His parables
beautifully illustrate at our level of thinking the meaning of the
spiritual kingdom of heaven.
Jesus showed wherein this great mystery lay by opening prophesies to
them. In Matthew 13:14-15 He said, "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy
of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not
understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this
people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and
their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their
eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart,
and should be converted, and I should heal them."
They had a heart problem and they were deliberately closing their hearts
to the truth. They had figured out how they wanted the prophecies
fulfilled, and they would not accept anything else. The Jews saw no
mystery at all in the kingdom of a Messiah who would bring the whole
world under His reign and rule, but they missed the true meaning of the
spiritual kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus was revealing by parables
the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.
The parables beginning in Matthew 13 reveal the mystery of the spiritual
kingdom as service from the heart to Christ as King. The Lord Jesus is
teaching in these parables that the kingdom of heaven is within you; it
is established on the throne of your heart.
Mark 4:11 tells us, "And he
said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom
of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in
The Lord was saying that their minds were not opened to
understand. They did not want to know; therefore, the Lord closed their
minds so they would not understand. He completely changed His style of
preaching to speak in parables so that the carnal mind could not
comprehend. The mysteries of His kingdom are to be known only by those
whom the Lord has opened the understanding of the mind and heart.
Jesus narrowed His teaching down to a personal, spiritual service to God
from the heart. The verses preceding our text say, "For this people's
heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing… But blessed are
your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear." Then He told
His disciples personally in the words of our text, "Hear ye therefore
the parable of the sower" with a spiritual ear and spiritual
Bible has four gospels. Why?
the report of four men on the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a
much richer view because they each saw a different central theme of
the ministry of Christ.
The Lesson of Surrender, Devotion and Love from Jesus Christ's Life
I would like to share with you here some of my humble thoughts concerning these important parts of Jesus' life, birth, death and resurrection, which we celebrate yearly.