Matthewby Mike Raiter
The popular Australian singer and songwriter, Paul Kelly, has a song that goes, ″From little things big things grow″. That is a good summary of the main point of the next few parables (vv. 24-30, 31-32, 33-34). Jesus the King has come, and while crowds are attracted to Him, relatively few obey His word to leave everything and follow Him. Today in much of the world, Christians are a tiny, often voiceless minority. Indeed, in some places the church appears to be in retreat. Why is God's kingdom apparently so small? Why doesn't God do something? These parables are Jesus' answer.
The parable of the wheat and the weeds (vv. 24-30, 37-43) again addresses a question which may have been troubling the disciples: Why are so many rejecting Jesus? The apostle Paul says that Satan ″has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ″ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus identifies the devil as the one who has turned people away from God. Indeed, unbelievers are ″the people of the evil one″ (v. 38). For the present, believer and unbeliever live side-by-side in this world. A day of final judgment is approaching though, when God will act against evil and finally separate the wheat from the weeds.
The parables of the mustard seed (vv. 31-32) and the yeast (vv. 33-35) address the question of why God's kingdom-that is, Jesus' rule over the hearts of people-seems so small. Jesus' answer is that appearances are deceiving. Certainly the beginnings of the kingdom were modest, but it will grow and grow until it is ″a great multitude that no one could count″ (Revelation 7:9). Its growth will often be quiet and indiscernible, yet just like yeast silently makes its way through the whole loaf, the gospel ″is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world″ (Colossians 1:6).
Do not be discouraged; God is in control. His kingdom is growing, even in your part of the world. Do not lose heart; the day is coming when all evil will finally be banished, and ″the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father″ (v. 43).
Do you sometimes become discouraged by the ″smallness″ of the kingdom? What kinds of things discourage you? How can Jesus' words here help when we feel this way?
Why do you think we hear so little in many churches about the final judgment, when Jesus spoke about it so often? What comfort can teaching about the final judgment bring to Christians?
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