Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012 … Jesus’ Words Lead To His Way

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 287

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Matthew, Chapter 13 To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Luke, Chapter 2 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Matthew 13: 10-14; 33-35; 53-58: : [NLT] … {In this chapter Matthew related a number of the parables Jesus used in His teachings about the Kingdom. These stories were used to reveal His truth to those who were open, by faith, to hear and understand His teachings; but they revealed nothing to those who were closed by doubt to His words – like the Pharisees.} 10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?” 11Then he explained to them, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. 12 To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don’t really see. They hear what I say, but they don’t really hear, and they don’t understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: { Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6: 9-10 - see below.} ” …  
{Jesus’ primary teaching technique was the relation of parables which He used to reveal truths about the Kingdom of God and what it would take for the people of His day to live, in their day, by Kingdom standards and to live, one day, with Him in heaven. His teachings were an enigma to those with no faith but they revealed Himself and His kingdom to those who believed.} 33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast used by a woman making bread. Even though she used a large amount£ of flour, the yeast permeated every part of the dough.” 34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. 35 This fulfilled the prophecy that said, “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain mysteries hidden since the creation of the world.” {This was quoted by Matthew from Psalm 78: 2.} 
{ When Jesus returned to teach in Nazareth, His birthplace, the people rejected Him as a Prophet or as their Messiah, because they had known him as a boy and as a carpenter’s apprentice and this closeness did not allow them to see Him in the role for which God sent Him into this world. This shows how we can miss out on truth when we have preconceived notions or ideals. We see what we want to see and faith means everything when it comes to allowing us to be open to the truth.}53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left that part of the country. 54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was astonished and said, “Where does he get his wisdom and his miracles? 55 He’s just a carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. What makes him so great?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief. 
Highlight Passage: Luke 8: 4-10; 19-21; : [NLT] … {In these passages, Jesus uses another parable to relate God’s truth about His Kingdom to the people; and He explains why He used parables to teach the people.} 4 One day Jesus told this story to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds came and ate it. 6 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. This seed began to grow, but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted.” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” 9 His disciples asked him what the story meant. 10 He replied,You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: {And Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6: 9.} ‘They see what I do, but they don’t really see; they hear what I say, but they don’t understand.’  
{Note that Jesus was clear that all who hear His word and live in faith and obedience to His will/way are His family.}19 Once when Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, they couldn’t get to him because of the crowds. 20 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.” … 21 Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear the message of God and obey it.”

Cross Reference Passage: Isaiah 6: 9-10 : [NLT] …{God was speaking to Isaiah who had been charged by God to go and share the Lord’s word and His truth to God’s people, just as a model of One Who would come in the person of the The Messiah to do the same thing.} 9 And He [i.e., the Lord] said, “Yes, go. But tell my people this: ‘You will hear my words, but you will not understand. You will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning.’ 10 Harden the hearts of these people. Close their ears, and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn to me for healing.” 

My Journal for Today: Well, reading my assigned chronological Bible assignment, I was taken, in Matthew 13 and Luke 8, to read of these authors describing Jesus’ itinerant ministry as he wandered the towns and byways in Galilee. healing people and teaching them about the Kingdom of God. And in doing the latter, Jesus’ primary teaching technique was to use parables to describe Whom He really was and to explain why the people needed to come to Him in faith so that they could live their lives following God’s Kingdom ways rather than falling prey to Satan, the world, or their own wicked hearts.

 But many heard these parables and didn’t understand. The teachings of Jesus in these parables were an enigma to some and a revelation to others. And it even seemed that those who had known Jesus the closest, as a boy in His hometown, found it more difficult than others to understand His stories or to believe He was The Messiah when they saw Him performing those healing miracles back then.

Why is it that some people read the Bible – which is God’s revealed truth – and they just don’t get it; and others read God’s word and Jesus comes alive for them? For years I was one who heard about Jesus. I even took a New Testament religion course in college, reading and studying through the entire New Testament as literature in the context of history; and I was clueless as to God’s truth. I didn’t see Jesus for Whom He really was back in those days because I didn’t want to see Him as my Messiah. Then, 17 years later, when I bottomed out in my life and surrendered, in faith, to Christ’s Lordship, I began reading The Bible; and it came alive for me.

So, what was the difference?

The difference was faith; and that’s what becomes clear from the red-letter words of Jesus above, … that it takes God-given faith for people to break through a selfish, preconceived mindset and to be able to understand God’s word. And those who believed in Jesus as Messiah in His day, heard His parables and His teachings; and they followed Him in faith as disciples; and their lives changed. But those who heard the same stories and could not believe Him as THE LORD, were blind/deaf to the truths He taught.

Dear fellow seeker, I pray that when you read, study, and meditate on God’s word, it comes alive for you and it is being used by God’s Spirit to transform you into the image of Christ, which is the intent of Scripture. But if you’re reading the Bible and it’s meaningless to you, it is very likely that your doubts or preconceived and selfish ideals are getting in the way of your understanding of God’s word. Because, as Jesus is teaching in these chapters from Matthew and Luke, if you have faith in God, through Christ as Your Messiah, God’s word will be a light for your life and a guide when life gets too foggy to walk without stumbling [see Psalm 119: 105 and Proverbs 3: 5-6].

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I thank You for shining Your light of truth on my path through Your word. Amen

No comments: