Pastor's Blog: Jesus' Parables and the Mystery of the Kingdom

 |  Pastor's Blog

As the Gospels tell us, “Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). He did so primarily in parables – short, pithy stories that help us to understand better the truths of God’s reign and how we might align our lives with it. 

Unfortunately, most folk think of the parables as sweet stories designed to warm the heart. Anytime I hear someone refer to the parables that way I know they haven’t read them seriously. The truth of the matter is that the parables are provocative, designed to awaken us out of our spiritual stupor so that we can live into God’s Kingdom purposes in a way that brings His will to pass here on earth “as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

In the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, as Jesus is in the midst of a series of such stories, his disciples approach Jesus to ask why he speaks to the people in parables. Jesus’ response is vague though not entirely evasive. “The knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew 13:11). It seems that Jesus wasn’t impressed with the numbers of the people who came to hear him teach as much as he was with the openness of those who wrestle with the deep truths of the Kingdom, even to the point of allowing those deep truths to transform them into ones who lived by heaven’s standards and not the world’s. 

For a good part of the summer, we will ponder the parables and open ourselves to their mysteries. We will allow ourselves to be challenged and humbled and, most importantly, changed. I understand that many of you will be in and out of town over the next months; that’s totally understandable given how we’ve had to stay close to home over the last fifteen or more months. But I trust this topic will persuade you to be with us when you’re in town, and when you’re not, I hope it will move you to watch the service on livestream, either in real time or when you have the chance. If Jesus speaks of these parables as the keys to unlocking Kingdom mysteries, then I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to do so; and not just for our own good, but for the good of the gospel as well, and the joy of seeing how in our response the Kingdom of heaven draws nearer to earth.

June 6
“The Prodigals Among Us”
Luke 15:11-32
Big Idea: God’s lavish love is what every soul needs most. 

June 13
“A Debt We Could Never Repay”
Matthew 18:23-25
Big Idea: God’s forgiveness is beyond our ability to repay, though our forgiveness of others is a good first step. 

June 20
“The Last Person You’d Expect to See”
Luke 10:25-37 
Big Idea: It’s as much of a challenge to receive mercy from suspect people as it is to show it.

June 27
“Whose Side Are You On?”
Matthew 25:31-46
Big Idea: Those who side with God show tangible compassion to the last and the least. 

July 4, Independence Sunday
“No Fooling”
Luke 12:13-21
Big Idea: The wisest and freest life comes through storing up that which makes us rich in soul. 

July 11
“What Makes Your Garden Grow?”
Mark 4:30-32
Big Idea: The Kingdom only grows where believers are faithful to plant it.  

July 18
“Don’t Let the Weeds Get the Best of You”
Matthew 13:24-30
Big Idea: Weeds in life are to be expected. But they will never take over God’s agenda. 

July 25
“Casting Seed and Trusting God”
Mark 4:3-9
Big Idea: Our calling is to cast the good news and trust God for the harvest, which God will surely bring to pass.