The Messiah’s Kingdom Secrets
Read Matthew 13-14 out loud.
In chapter 13 we are introduced to the iconic teaching style of Jesus: parables. Parables are stories that both reveal and conceal key truths about the Kingdom of God. The first parable is shared and explained in Matt. 16:1-23. In this section we learn that different people respond differently to the message of the kingdom. While some hear, understand, and bear gospel fruit, others either receive the message for only a short time or don’t receive it at all. And it’s this truth about the soils of mens’ hearts that serves as the reason behind Jesus’ use of parables in the first place (Matt. 13:10-17). Chapter 13 goes on to record additional parables which highlight the hiddenness, future glory, and value of the kingdom. The chapter concludes with an ironic, real life illustration of the parable of the sower where Jesus’ own home town rejects him.
Chapter 14 opens with another rejection of the kingdom, but this one is perpetrated by Herod against John the Baptist. At the request of Herodias, Herod beheads John which prompts Jesus to withdraw to a desolate place. From here Jesus continues to minister and miraculously feeds over five thousand people. Afterward, Jesus walks out onto the water towards his disciples who were on the Sea of Galilee during a storm. Though frightened, Peter responds to Jesus’ invitation to step out onto the water where he is saved by Jesus. Jesus and Peter enter the boat and the storm subsides. Both this story and the feeding of the five thousand serve to display the most significant kingdom secret – that Jesus is the true Son of God.
- According to Matt. 13:13-15, why did Jesus teach in parables? What kind of heart posture should we have in order to fully receive Jesus’ message of the Kingdom?
- Why did Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth reject him? How does the town’s response to Jesus serve as a lesson for us today?
- What are all the ways Jesus provides for the people around him in chapter 14? What do his actions say about who he is? How does this encourage you today?
- Why did Peter doubt? How did Jesus respond? Share a time when God delivered you in the midst of doubt.
Ask God to give you increasing spiritual sight to respond rightly to the message and identity of Jesus Christ.