What’s a parable, and why did Jesus use them?
Open Matthew 13.
Like an otter, but with a bill like a duck. If you don’t know what a platypus is, comparisons can help.
Even if you do know what something is, comparisons change how you think of it. “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 18:8 Msg).
Jesus was famous for his parables, similitudes that describe one thing as like another. Sometimes the comparison was a single sentence; other times he spun a yarn with intrigue.
Matthew pulls seven or eight of his parables together in chapter 13. They’re drawn from everyday life: farming, baking, gardening, buying, selling, fishing, entertaining. But they’re all about the same thing. Can you guess? Continue reading “Parables of the king (Matthew 13)”
How central is the kingdom of God to Matthew’s message?
The Good News according to Matthew is that Jesus is restoring heaven’s reign on the earth. His opening sentence is bursting with good news, “Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). He’s arrived: the divinely appointed ruler (Messiah) from Israel’s royal family (son of David) who restores the blessing of divine rule to the nations (the Abrahamic family commission).
What a revolutionary story! By confronting the powers with self-sacrificial love on behalf of earth’s oppressed people, this king brings God’s two realms back together in himself. Via a staggering trajectory, he receives all authority in heaven and on earth, and commissions his agents to bring all nations under his command, promising his regal presence until it’s done (28:18-20).
Every chapter of Matthew’s Good News tells this story. He wants us to recognize Jesus as our divinely appointed king, the one who implements heaven’s reign (the kingdom of heaven) on earth.
Continue reading “KINGDOM SUMMARY: Matthew 1–10”
The core of the OT narrative is the story of God’s reign.
There’s a plotline that integrates all the little narratives of the Bible into a purposeful story. With all the twists and turns of a suspense thriller, the Bible’s narrative has a single focus: the unfolding story of the kingdom of God.
Over the last five months we’ve traced the meta-narrative of the kingdom through the first half of Genesis. In the previous two years, I’ve personally pursued that journey through the rest of Genesis and Exodus. The integrated picture of God’s kingship and kingdom is absolutely stunning. Want a taste? Continue reading “The kingdom in the Old Testament”
Would you like a summary of all we’ve discovered?
Let’s pause our Genesis series here. Before we begin the Abraham story, it would be good to review why we are using a kingdom perspective, and how the story sounds so far. We will then provide a taste of how this perspective reshapes the way we hear familiar texts like John 3:16.
Why are we reading Scripture from a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “The kingdom story in Genesis 1–11”