free flying soul

"this world has nothing for me and this world has everything...all that I could want and nothing that I need"

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Location: Macclesfield, North Carolina, United States

Born: 1970; Graduated High School: 1988; Married: 1991; Children: 1996, 2000, 2005; Graduated College: 2008; Figured Out This Faith Thing: In Progress

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Matthew 13:44-46

Here are two more:

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

Matthew 13:44-46 (ESV)

I personally believe that these two short parables are not terribly difficult to understand. It would seem that both are comparing the kingdom of heaven with riches that far outweigh our worldly possessions. In both cases we have a man who has discovered something that he values. He values it so much that he is willing to sell everything he owns in order to obtain it.

I have come across at least one commentator who suggested that the parables could possibly be a description of Jesus and the love He has for each one of us. He was willing to give up everything in order to make us His own. I admit that I don't immediately see a problem with that interpretation.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Matthew 13:31-32

He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV)

This is another good one. I think it (like the parable of the leaven) is more self-explanatory than some people want to make it. I have seen some people try to take the birds in verse 32 and make them mean all sorts of things. My favorite explanation is that the birds represent the evil that lurks within the church when it grows too quickly. Seriously? Come on guys.

I think it is much more simple than that. Verse 32 seems to be a reference back to Ezekiel 17:23.

On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest.

In that passage God promises to send someone who will provide shelter for all who come to Him. Jesus echoes that sentiment and reveals that the promised shelter is found in His kingdom. I do not believe that there is a need to interpret the birds as anything other than just that.

I do confess that I am not a scholar (in the true sense of the word) and that I depend upon the scholarship of those much smarter than myself. If there is some nuance that I am missing due to my lack of expertise in the original languages, I will concede to those who are more learned than myself. I do believe that The Holy Spirit does allow us to study (and understand) the Bible when we allow Him to. That is all I am attempting to do here.

If anyone out there reads something here and feels to compelled to share his/her opinion or correct the author when he is wrong, please do so. I welcome it.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Matthew 13:33

33He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33 (ESV)

Our Wednesday night small group has been going through the parables of Jesus. We got to this one this past week. It was interesting to hear how different people read and interpret this one. A couple of the people in our group think that this one was a warning from Jesus about negative influence in the church. I came across at least one commentator (Warren Wiersbe) who took the same view. Given the various other passages in the Bible which use leaven in a similar negative manner, I guess I can understand the reasoning for reading it that way.

However, given the immediate context in which this parable is recorded (the parable of the mustard seed), I would have to agree with most of the commentaries I have read and say that it is describing either the permeating work of the Gospel in the world or the permeating work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. If backed into a corner, I would probably choose the first of those. Even though leaven is often used in a derogatory manner, even in Jesus’ teachings, there seems to be no reason why it must always be used in such a way.

I used to work in a pizza joint. One of my tasks was to come in early in the morning and make dough. I am fully aware of both the positive and negative characteristics of yeast. This passage seems to be describing a woman using yeast in its proper sense. She is making bread and the yeast is a necessity. Without it’s influence, the bread would not rise and would be ruined. It does not take much of it to properly prepare the dough either. The Gospel may seem insignificant to many, but when it is administered, it has the power to transform the world.

That, to me, seems the most obvious message that Jesus was trying to convey.