Wednesday 12 October 2016

Bible Book:

“He put before them another parable ...” (v. 31)

Matthew 13:31-35 Wednesday 12 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 26


Today's passage is in three sections. The first continues theagrarian theme from the previous parable with the image of amustard seed representing the kingdom of heaven (verses 31-32).Whilst mustard might not be literally the smallest of seeds or thelargest of plants, the contrast between the tiny seed and the shrubwith the height of a couple of metres which grows from it is stillapparent. The message is clear: from a tiny beginning somethinghuge can and will develop.

A similar point is made by the next parable (verse 33). Again,Jesus draws on everyday experience though the details aresurprising. The baker is producing a massive quantity of bread;only a small amount of yeast makes the difference. What is more,the yeast is concealed by the baker. Almost imperceptibly, theparable suggests, the kingdom of heaven works a difference in theworld.

Matthew's Gospel then takes us back to the question that we sawexplored in the parable of the sower: why did Jesus teach inparables (verses 34-35)? One of the key features of this Gospel isthe use of texts from the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate that Jesuscame to fulfil the Scriptures. In verse 35, although introduced asa quotation from "the prophet", the words appear to be from theopening lines of Psalm 78. Psalm 78 is recitation of the historyof Israel. Though many of Matthew's citations of Scripture are maderegardless of their original context, perhaps here it is worthnoting that what the psalm celebrates is that God is and always hasbeen active among God's people even when the people do notrecognise God's presence.

To Ponder

  • The image of a mustard seed is often used for small things thathave momentous results. What, if anything, can you think of likethat in your experience?
  • The difference that something small can make is the theme ofboth parables. Many churches today feel that their resources aresmall. To what extent do we underestimate our potential to make adifference?
  • Matthew quotes the psalmist speaking about 'things unseen'. Asyou look back over your life, can you recall an episode when Godwas at work but you did not recognise God's presence at the time?If so, give thanks to God who works unseen. 
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