Summary: Jesus uses great story telling to get us to think about how receptive we are to his message of the Kingdom.

A Messiah's Teaching Method: Parables

Text: Matt. 13:1-17


1. Illustration: Robin Meyers, in his book Morning Sun on a White Piano, quotes theologian Ernest Campbell who summarizes the ministry of Jesus with these words: “His ministry was one of constant and unbridled compassion, and his parables made the point again and again: our thoughts are not God s thoughts, even on our best days.”

2. In today's text we see that Jesus is:

a. A masterful storyteller...

b. Telling a masterful story...

c. About a masterful mystery

3. Read Matt. 13:1-17

Proposition: Jesus uses great story telling to get us to think about how receptive we are to his message of the Kingdom.

Transition: It all begins with the fact that Jesus is...

I. A Masterful Storyteller (1-3).

A. He Told Many Stories

1. Church, sometimes the house just isn't big enough, not even for Jesus!

2. Matthew tells us, "Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake."

a. Later that day refers to the day on which Jesus' mother and brothers came looking for Him, probably to persuade Him to stop the preaching and teaching they knew could cost Him His life.

b. Now there are probably several reasons that Jesus' family wanted him to come outside. One was they didn't want to make a scene, and two they couldn't get in the house.

c. You will notice that the word house is followed by the definite article, "the house," this suggests that it was Jesus place of residence in Capernaum.

d. Because of the restrictions of a small house Jesus got our where he could minister to more people (Horton, 259).

e. It is also interesting to note that, during His earlier ministry, Jesus seemed to spend more time inside, in houses and synagogues.

f. As His ministry progressed, however, and He was more and more rejected by the Jews, He spent more time ministering outdoors—on the seashore and mountainside and in the countryside, highways, and streets (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).

3. It didn't take long for "A large crowd [to] soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore."

a. The vividness of the description suggests that Matthew may have been an eyewitness.

b. The immense size of the crowd forced Jesus to enter a small boat to address the people (Horton, 259).

c. Perhaps pushed by the crowd to the water's edge and seeking to put some distance between the people and Himself in order to address the crowd better, Jesus got into a boat and sat down, and the whole multitude was standing on the beach.

d. The fact that He sat down in typical rabbinic fashion was necessary because of the moving of the boat in the water; and because the beach sloped sharply upward from the water, the people were enabled to see and hear Him best while He was seated in the boat (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).

e. Local tradition locates this discourse at a distinctive cove or inlet called the "Cove of the Parables."

f. The land surrounding the cove slopes down like a natural horseshoe-shaped amphitheater, providing environmental acoustics for Jesus’ voice to carry over one hundred meters from the boat to a crowd of hundreds gathered on the shore.

g. Israeli scientists have tested the acoustics in modern times and found them realistic for Jesus’ parables to have been heard(Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 472).

4. Matthew goes on to tell us that Jesus "told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one..."

a. Parabolē (parable) is a compound word made up of a form of the verb ballō (to throw lay, or place) and the prefix para (meaning alongside of).

b. The idea is that of placing, or laying, something alongside of something else for the purpose of comparison.

c. Underlying this term is the Hebrew mašal, which refers to a wide spectrum of ideas based on comparison or analogy (Wilkins, 473).

d. The idea is that of placing, or laying, something alongside of something else for the purpose of comparison.

e. A spiritual or moral truth would often be expressed by laying it alongside, so to speak, a physical example that could he more easily understood.

f. Teaching through parables and other figurative means is effective because it helps make abstract truth more concrete, more interesting, easier to remember, and easier to apply to life.

g. When a truth is externalized in the figures of a parable, the internalizing of moral and spiritual meaning is much easier. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).

h. Some have described the parables of Jesus as earthly stories with heavenly meanings.

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