Jesus’s disciples were confused. “Why do you speak in parables?” (Matt 13:10). They suggest that Jesus might be more successful if he spoke plainly and just laid out his main point. To their surprise, the reason Jesus said he taught with parables was so that people will “see but not see, hear but not hear” (Matt 13:11-7). Why would Jesus do that? Aren’t teachers supposed to be clear?
Jesus’s goal is not to confuse you, but to draw you to the source of life in everyday experiences! So, no, they aren’t nice little bedtime stories. Nor do they provide cool spiritual truths to apply to your life. They illustrate the subversive, revolutionary nature of a kingdom that thrives on sacrificial love, mercy, humility, truth and justice.
Whenever you see, “The kingdom of God is like,” Jesus is inviting you to experience the presence of the Age to Come in this present age. What it’s like to live under the God’s kingdom rule now? How does it operate?
Living in the presence of the future is like “treasure hidden in a field, which a man found” and it’s like “a merchant in search of fine pearls” (Matt 13:44-46). What’s the difference? Sometimes you’ll serendipitously stumble upon God’s activity; while other times you’ll need to deliberately search for God’s movement!
Living in the presence of the Age to Come is like “a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matt 13:31-32). Yep, all those seemingly insignificant things that you do are a big deal!
Parables are a lot like your life. There’s plenty of surprising twists and turns along the way, but in God’s kingdom, love always wins, truth always prevails, and good always overcomes evil because Jesus is King and his kingdom will never end.
PRAY: “Lord, teach me how to seek first your kingdom so that I may see delightful treasures popping up in the small things of my daily activities. I will also trust that the seeds I plant are growing—even if its growth remains hidden to me. For your sake, Jesus, I pray. Amen.”