The Parables of Jesus – The Kingdom of Heaven.
(Bible Portion to read Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 13)
In this article, we look at seven small parables which relate to the kingdom of heaven. Through these seven parables, we learn five important lessons to lead a healthy Christian life. The seven small parables are as follows:
- The Hidden Treasure
- The Pearl of Great Price
- The Leaven
- The Mustard Seed
- The Weeds among the Wheat
- The Net
- The Householder
The first two parables that is “The Hidden Treasure” and “The Pearl of Great Price” tell us about the attitude a believer should possess towards the Kingdom of God. Secondly, “The Leaven” shows us the desire of the kingdom of God. Thirdly, “The Mustard Seed” speaks about the power of the church. The next two parables, “The Weeds among the Wheat” and “The Net” assure us and remind us of the separation and the judgement. Finally, “The Householder” tells us our duty as the citizens of the kingdom of God.
THE HIDDEN TREASURE AND THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.
In the first parable, the kingdom of heaven is compared to a hidden treasure. In the second parable, the kingdom of heaven is compared to a pearl of great price. In both these parables, we see a man who finds the treasure and the pearl. We find something only when we search for it. As we read in Matthew 6:33,“Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” The idea is to prioritize the Lord and His kingdom above everything else in our lives.
What did the man do when he found the treasure and the pearl? He sold his everything to obtain it. This may sound contradictory. The Lord Jesus already paid the price on the cross. So what are we supposed to sell? It is true that salvation is free but there is a cost associated with following the Lord Jesus. To be under the headship and lordship of Christ, we need to constantly make sacrifices. Every day we are faced with challenges to obey the Lord Jesus. The Lord may ask you to surrender something to Him that you really want to hold on to. The kingdom of heaven may cost you jobs, relationships, security, and probably even your life. The Lord wants to encourage us that there is definitely nothing that we can give up that is more precious than His kingdom. Every sacrifice that we make which will enable us to be in subjection to the Lord Jesus is worth it. In Mathew 19.29, the Lord Jesus says “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” God is no debtor of persons. Seek His kingdom and He will reward you abundantly.
Have you found this treasure? Are you willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to live for the Lord Jesus?
In this parable, the kingdom of heaven is being compared to leaven. This leaven is not kept by itself but is being added to three measures of meal to make the entire thing leavened.
There are four lessons we learn from the leaven:
- The kingdom of Heaven may begin small, but it will surely increase. The Lord Jesus began with just 12 disciples in the obscure town of Galilee, but his influence has spread throughout the world.
- The kingdom of Heaven influences from within. The Lord first changes a person’s heart, and external changes take place as a result of the inner changes. Similarly, for a culture or a nation that believes in Christ.
- The impact of the kingdom of Heaven is comprehensive. “ The earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”(Habakkuk 2:14)
- The working of God’s kingdom is invisible or secret. Just like the yeast quietly works on the bread, the work of grace in our hearts is in secret but the manifestation is profound.
You need to reach other people and make them the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. How can you make them citizens of this blessed land? Share the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ’s prepared salvation which rescues our soul from the damnation and gives us eternal life. Be that leaven.
Are you the leaven which leavens the entire meal with which it is kept?
THE MUSTARD SEED:
The kingdom of heaven is compared to a mustard seed which when sown, grew into a big tree with many branches giving chance for the fowls of the air to build their nests on it. It is important to understand that a mustard seed is a shrub and never grows into a huge tree. Palestinian mustard seeds grow into huge shrubs as tall as 15 feet and spread over a large area. Bible scholars believe that the Lord Jesus was trying to emphasize the fact that the church will begin as a tiny mustard seed and has grown beyond comprehension into a tree in whose branches the fowls of the air nest. Remember that God’s church is meant to be that powerful being in which the fowls of the air would come to nest. A different school of thought believes that the birds of the air are the false teachers and evil persons in the church who try to grab away the truth of the Gospel. In that context, this parable can be interpreted that the church grows in spite of opposition from the evil one.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9).”
Is the church today a power to reckon with spreading peace and joy and being a positive influence in society?
THE WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT AND THE NET:
These parables, that is, “The Weeds among the Wheat” and “The Net” assure us of our safety in Christ and also tell us about the end. One thing that we observe in the two parables being discussed is that the action is already done and the result is awaited. A man sows the wheat and is surprised to see weed growing along with the wheat which he did not sow. The net was also cast in a sea with an anticipation to draw good fish. The time comes when the crop is ripe and the net is full. Then the crop is harvested and the net is drawn to the shore. At this juncture, the act of separation takes place. The weed is separated from the wheat and the bad from the good. In the church, both tares and wheat grow together. There are false prophets, teachers, evil persons with false doctrines who have entered the church. They grow together but there will come a day when the Lord will tell them “I do not know you.” So do not be grieved because of the tares around you. There will come a day of judgement.
Are you questioning God seeing the wicked flourish? Are you the wheat or the weed?
This is an often neglected parable. We see this parable in “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure [things] new and old”’ (Mat 13:51-52, NJKV). This parable elucidates our duty as citizens of heavenly kingdom. We as the householders, have the authority to exhibit heavenly aspects to the people. What God reveals to us, we ought to reveal it to our fellow brethren to edify them spiritually or in other words, the Householder represents the work of the true minister and teacher who feeds the household of faith from a rich storehouse of essential spiritual treasures.
Are you being an agent of spiritual edification to your fellow believers?
Seek the kingdom of heaven which is very precious, the value of which is equal to the value of your life. It is not enough if you become a citizen of the kingdom of God you should make others as citizens too. You are God’s representative in this world. The church must be a powerful influence. Never get overwhelmed when you see the wicked flourishing. They get accepted even when they are wrong. However, do not worry, on the day of judgement God will surely reward us according to our deeds both good and bad. Know your calling and work for the kingdom of heaven as a citizen.