Plentiful Parables

Potential Prophecy and Proof Provided in Parables?

Matthew 13:36-52 (considering a copious collection of context)

Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” And He answered and said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. “Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

We have seen the first paragraph of this passage before in my missive, Wheat and Weeds, if you have not read it, I suggest doing so because it will help with today’s text. We will briefly cover contextual questions concerning this paragraph and then move on. First, notice to whom Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and tares. “Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ We see in Matthew’s aspiration to his audience that Jesus had left the multitudes and only explained the parable to the disciples, within the confines of the house. Was this possibly Peter’s place? Maybe, but the context does not say. Matthew’s aspiration is for the reader to understand that the disciples needed and where given the explanation to the parable. The disciples, like everyone else, didn’t understand the parable.

Should they have understood the parable, these fishermen and tax collector? Or should the scribes and Pharisees have understood? Jesus quotes the Psalmist, who providentially predicted pastoral parables, but the scribes did not get it. As we progress we will see that the disciples begin to understand, including Matthew, but here, in this particular passage, no one understands. Matthew paints the picture of the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, preaching in parables, that no one is yet understanding. Yet he also is showing Jesus teaching his disciples.

Jesus continues with more parables, notice the context. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” Jesus continually preaches in parables concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. In this particular parable, he compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure hidden in a field. Notice the word, like–it is a simile. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field…” And when a man finds this hidden treasure, he hides it, sells everything and then buys the field. Does this mean that the man is greedy and the kingdom of heaven isn’t to be inclusive or shared? Of course not, a little Vitamin E (Expository Exegesis of Examples), would clarify this. That is to say, the whole rest of the Bible encourages the sharing–“you are a light on a hill.” We must let Scripture interpret Scripture. Jesus is demonstrating the absolutely precious picture of the kingom​. The Kingdom is worth more than anything, one would certainly sell everything to obtain it. Again, one can’t buy it, it’s a parable pointing to the precious.

In the similar way Jesus presents another parable: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” And yet notice something slightly different, or totally different as it were. In the parable of the field, the kingdom is like a treasure hidden in the field. In this parable of the Pearl, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls. Now, I didn’t​ record this parable, Matthew did. And I didn’t preach the parable, Jesus did. All I can do is point out what it says. In the previous parable, the kingdom is like the treasure and in this parable the kingdom is like the merchant seeking the treasure. I could be wrong but my guess is that you never noticed that. We tend to gloss over the context and make assumptions. We see these similar situations presented in parables and in our minds think, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure and a pearl; but that is not what the context says.

Notice: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Is this Jesus predicting his death? I would say yes. Most pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers say that the hidden treasure and the pearl represent Christ. Which is why I say, unless you are learning for yourself, you only know what you have been taught. It is also why I stress use of a hermeneutical tool such as, the CAGED method. Context, Aspirations, Genre, Examples and Divide Rightly. Context being superlative. Context, context, context. It is not what you have been taught nor how you think–the truth is revealed in the context with a healthy consumption of the other vitamins, a, g, e, d. Look at it again with fresh eyes, leaving preconceived notions behind. “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Basic grammar; subject verb agreement; considering the context; we clearly see the simile of the kingdom as the merchant. Of course that begs the question, who is the pearl? I let you decide.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.” This particular parable most pastors and preachers theologians and teachers get right, at least the first part. It seems somewhat strange to me that they see the Kingdom as the dragnet in this parable but not the kingdom as the merchant in the previous parable. Nevertheless, most pastors and preachers theologians and teachers consider the context and get the players​ in this particular parable correct. However, look again at the context.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Notice the Kingdom (dragnet) catches fish of every kind, much like the parable of the wheat and weeds, that grow up together, there are fish, good and bad. But also notice the following: “The angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous.” As in the parable of the wheat and weeds, who is taken out?” It is not the wheat, they go to the barn, nor is it the good fish, they go to containers. It is the bad fish and the wheat which are expelled. Context is King!

I have thoughts of interupting my missives on Matthew to pause, parenthetically placing the book of Acts into my missives on Matthew so that we can see the parables come to life. Parenthetical Placement, Parables as Prophecy? is what I would entitle the missives. We would see how the small mustard seed grows into a safe space for sinners. How the tiny church grows from almost nothing into a force to be reckoned with. However I have decided against it due to the overwhelming information contained therein. We must see the gospel unfold before we jump ahead to the book of Acts. After all, that is how history unfolds and how it was written. I know what you are thinking, this coming from someone who started out in Revelation. It’s true, but when I started this blog, I had no idea where it was going other than to call to consideration the CAGED method.

I will give Jesus the last words for today and we will see that the disciples are beginning to learn and understand. “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

 

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