Summary: This is my fourth sermon in the series and looks at how we are to be productive as we act as God's kingdom here.
It seems strange to mix the sacred with the everyday, to describe the eternal with the ordinary, the infinite with the finite. And yet that is exactly what Jesus did when looking for a way to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven, a treasure in a field, a merchant looking for a pearl the tiniest of seeds growing exponentially larger. And now he looked across the beach as the fisherman who called Galilee their home cast their nets artfully across the water.
“Look” he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like fisherman.” Not! This is the first time that I’ve preached on this passage but I have read it time and time again. And I could have sworn that the Kingdom of Heaven was like a fisherman. Funny that, probably because I had been a fisherman it made perfect sense to me. But Jesus didn’t say “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fisherman” instead what he said was Matthew 13:47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that is thrown into the water and gathers fish of every kind.”
This is week five of our summer series The Kingdom of Heaven is Like. . . And we are looking at the 8 times that Jesus begins a parable with the words the Kingdom of Heaven is like
A parable of course is a brief, succinct story that delivers a moral lesson. You might be thinking that sounds like a fable, true but if you pause and think about fables for a second you will realize the main difference between a parable and fable is that a parable usually uses people as an illustration whereas a fable often uses talking animals as the illustrative point, crows, foxes, hares and tortoises.
In their broadest form a parables have been called extended metaphors, which is completely different than a mixed metaphor where you start with one premise and end with a unrelated premise. For example those of you who are old enough might remember Zapp Brannigan from Futurama who once said “If we can hit that bull’s-eye then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate.”
And if we combined the different instances where Christ began a statement with the words the Kingdom of Heaven is like . . . and tried to make sense of; a treasure being like a mustard seed or a pearl being like a fishing net we might think Christ is mixing his metaphors but instead he is drawing a much larger picture using parables that are not only metaphors but also similes. You remember what a simile is right? A comparison using “like” or “as”.
You have probably noticed the inuksuit around the property as well as on the banner over the worship centre door, on your bulletin and this wonderful creation on the platform. That is the very type of thing that Jesus would have tied in to his discussion of the Kingdom if he had been teaching in Nunavut instead of Palestine. In June we started our series with the statement, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like an Inukshuk.” And we looked at how the Inukshuk illustrates how we were to function as God’s Kingdom on earth, first it was used by the Inuit as a landmark in the Northern terrain that was devoid of landmarks.