Summary: The second in a series on the Parables from Matthew
Trained for the Kingdom (Parables from Matthew Pt. 2)
Text: Matthew 13: 51 – 52
Well if you remember from last time, we looked at those two verses and we talked about being trained for the Kingdom, and the importance of getting understanding… and if you remember I said that the Biblical idea of understanding isn’t just having a head full of knowledge or facts, but that’s it’s the right and proper application of those facts. You might have read all there is to read about doing heart surgery and watched a youtube video or two about it… you might have even stayed at a Holiday Inn last night… but surgeons… before they ever get to do surgery on their own, they have to first go through years of schooling, then they have to actually watch a professional do the surgery, then they assist the professional do surgery, then they are observed by the professional while they perform the surgery, and then finally they are allowed to do it on their own. If you haven’t ever had the proper training you probably shouldn’t be doing the actual surgery on anyone. That’s also why, when a person joins the military and they go to Basic Training, not only does the Drill Sergeant tell you what to do, you actually get hands on, task oriented, experiential training. And again the whole purpose for that is to get this Biblical idea of “understanding.”
That’s why Jesus asks His disciples, “Do you understand?”
And then He goes on… in verse 52 and says, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
So in other words; to be trained for the kingdom and to have a proper understanding of Jesus Words and teachings is to be like a scribe. Now that’s pretty wild if you think about who Jesus is talking to here. These guys… the disciples; for the most part, were what we would call uneducated; blue collar workers. Several of them were fishermen. Then there was Simon the Zealot – he was basically kind of a Tea Party militia member. Matthew probably had an education of sorts because he was a tax collector – he worked for the IRS… can you imagine the tension between Simon the Zealot and Matthew? But over-all; these guys weren’t Theologians. They weren’t PhD’s from Harvard. In-fact we don’t really see what we would call a formerly educated disciple until the Apostle Paul comes on the scene. So basically, all of these guys were normal, everyday people, like you or me.
But here Jesus is saying to them that if they get understanding; then they’re going to be the scribes. Now – there was a group of people that the Bible calls scribes. According to the Ben Sira: (which is an ancient book dealing with Jewish life, and practice, and religion) Scribes were “wise men” who not only worked for the local government (in other words; for Herod or Pontius Pilate), but there were also some who served as temple scribes who recorded Scripture, made copies of Scripture, recorded history, and ruled on points of the Law. Some of them even sat on the Sanhedrin – which was kind of like the Supreme Court system of Israel at the time. But here… Jesus is calling these disciples, scribes trained for the kingdom of heaven. To put that in Oklahoma laymen’s terms – Jesus is saying, “If you understand My Words, and My teachings, then you’re way ahead of those so called scribes sitting in the palaces and in the temple.”
Now that word “TRAINED” simply means “DISCIPLE.”
Jesus is making these men into disciples of the kingdom.
And really; we have all kinds of ideas about what makes disciples don’t we? And some of them are pretty good ideas…
You read one book and it might emphasize fellowship, and fellowship is important. Some say you need a mentor, or accountability – and all of those things are important, but don’t miss the foundation. Because that’s really what Jesus is teaching here… He’s saying that the foundation for a growing disciple is to hear His Words and to understand them (or to live them out) in faith. In other words; if we truly want to be disciples we need to get into the Word, be exposed to it more and more, study it, know it, and live it out as we come to understand it. That is the foundational key to being trained effectively for kingdom living.
And that’s what these men did… they listened to Jesus, and gradually they grew in their understanding of His teachings, and that’s what Mary was doing in Luke 10… remember that story? Jesus comes to the home of Mary and Martha, and Martha busies herself with all sorts of things, but Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. And understand… she wasn’t just sitting there all doe eyed. She was listening intently. She was wrestling with Jesus’ words, trying to understand and bring her life into alignment with what Jesus was saying.