Past Issues

Jesus -- the Guru #24

B. Are You Ready for the Rule of God?


In His parables, Jesus calls His disciples to this abundant life. Many people will want the easy life, just as at the prophet Isaiah’s time. Jesus wants disciples who have an open, ready heart. They are ready to have God rule in their lives.


Jesus called this rule of God the “Kingdom of Heaven” (v. 11). “Heaven” is a term Jews used for God. Out of respect they would not say His Name directly. In other gospels, the phrase used is “Kingdom of God.” The meaning is the same: the rule of God on earth.


Jesus expressed it very clearly in the prayer He taught His disciples, called “The Lord’s Prayer” (Mt. 6:9-13): “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus’ parables call His disciples to let God rule in their lives and in their communities: “Thy Kingdom come.”


There are many parables of Jesus recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Below are several parables recorded in our gospel of Matthew. What is Jesus’ teaching about the rule of God in people’s lives in each of these parables?


Matthew 13:44-46 –




44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.


45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.



Matthew 13:47-50 –




47“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.



Matthew 18:12-14 –




12“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.



Matthew 21:28-32 –



28“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’


29“ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.


30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.


31“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.



Matthew 22:1-14 –



1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.


4“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’


5“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.


8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.


11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.


13“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


14“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”



Matthew 25:1-13 –




1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2Five of them were foolish and five were wise.3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.


6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’


7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’


9“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’


10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.


11“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’


12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’


13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.



Matthew 25:14-30 –



14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.


19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’


21“His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’


23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’


26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.


28“ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’



Matthew 25:31-46 –



The Sheep and the Goats


31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.


34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’


37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’


40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’


41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’


44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’


45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’


46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”



Which of these teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven (God) do you find hard to accept? Do you feel like the seed on the path or in the rocky place or among thorns? (13:18-22)


Which teaching is your heart ready to receive? If you accept it, what marvelous results will it bring in your life? (13:23)


Your Master wants your life to make a difference. He wants you to be salt and a light in the world (5:13-16). “He who has ears to hear let him hear.”


Looking forward to your email today,


Yesudas


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