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Summary: Over and over and over Jesus says: The kingdom of heaven is like… Then he goes on to explain it. Before we wrap up this series we need to take a look at one more parable and it’s found in Matthew 13:47-53. This parable amplifies what has already been s

Over the past four weeks we have been looking at word pictures that Jesus painted for us. Do you see the pictures? The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who went out in his field to scatter his seed. Some fell on the path, some fell among the rocks, some grew up with the weeds, and some were planted in the good soil. The seed that was planted in the good seed grew up and produced more seed. Get the picture?

The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field but sometime in the night his enemy came and planted weed seeds. When the farmers servants recognized that there were weeds growing with the wheat they asked the farmer what to do. The farmer said that let them both grow together and when it comes time to harvest, then the weeds will be separated from the wheat. The wheat will be used and the weeds will be burned. Get the picture?

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Although the seed is small, it will eventually grow into a very large tree. And the kingdom of God is like yeast. A baker mixed in just a little bit with the flour and the yeast worked its way through the whole batch. Get the picture?

The kingdom of heaven is like a buried treasure. The person who finds it will sell everything they have to buy the field that contains the treasure. Get the picture?

Over and over and over Jesus says: The kingdom of heaven is like… Then he goes on to explain it. Before we wrap up this series we need to take a look at one more parable and it’s found in Matthew 13:47-53. This parable amplifies what has already been said and magnifies it so that everyone who hears it gets the big picture because this parable is powerful. It deals with our eternal destination and Jesus only gives two options.

On Wednesday I conducted the funeral of my great aunt. She died at the age of 97 after a good long life. After the service we went to the graveside and conducted a brief committal service since it was a balmy 1 degree. She was buried next to her husband, son, and extended family, most of who had passed long before I was born. While I was there I had the opportunity to see where my great grandparents were buried and many of the rest of the extended family.

I like to read the tombstones to find out when people lived and died. Occasionally someone writes a scripture verse on their tombstone but most of them just give a name and the dates they lived between.

I didn’t find any interesting tombstone comments in Alden MN where My great Aunt Frieda was buried, but did some research and came up with some interesting ones across the country.

• Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York: Born 1903-Died 1942 Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.

• In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery: Here lies an Atheist All dressed up And no place to go.

• In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery: Anna Wallace: The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.

• In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery: Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas Instead of the brake.

• In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England: On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle Went out of tune.

• In a cemetery in England: Remember man, as you walk by, As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be. Remember this and follow me.

• To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: To follow you I’ll not consent until I know which way you went. Submitted by Dolly, Myersville, Md. (http://www.emmitsburg.net/humor/archives/interesting_facts/interesting_facts_8.htm)

Funerals are never fun but they do force us to stare at our own mortality and prompt us to wonder what, if anything lies beyond the grave. In this last parable Jesus uses a fishing example to illustrate his spiritual point. After all, he was standing in a boat that was pushed out from shore teaching a few thousand people who were seated on the hill facing him. There very well may have been fisherman in the background tending to their nets so the people could actually see what he was talking about. But most of them already understood how fishermen cast their nets because that was part of their culture.

This is what Jesus says:

"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When 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. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied. He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." Matthew 13:47-52 NIV

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