October 12: A Sermon on the Sea (Matt 13:1-23)
Matthew 13:1-23 (We will be covering vv. 1-23 although only the first 9 verses are given here)
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” (ESV)
Our passage records Jesus' second sermon. His first is recorded in Matthew 5-7, called the Sermon on the Mount. His second can be called “the sermon on the sea,” because Jesus gets in a boat to teach the crowds but he only speaks in parables. In fact, over the course of this chapter, he will use numerous parables to instruct the people on the unique and glorious nature of the kingdom, beginning with how the kingdom is received, and proceeding with the threats that confront it, its global spread, and its final victory. While not all listeners will understand, those with ears to hear will receive the kingdom with a deep and precious joy. But to receive the kingdom by faith, we must see the unexpected nature of its coming, that the kingdom brings both salvation and judgment, and only then can we receive and enjoy the glory of this kingdom.
Review and Apply
- How can unexpected things challenge our faith? Give an example.
- What does the word parable mean? Why did Jesus speak in parables?
- How do you express your joy being given the secrets of the kingdom?
- What do the various soils represent?
- What most closely resembles the state of your heart right now? What evidence gives you this answer?
- Can you speak to some fruit borne in your life from the gospel?
- What things of God have you become hardened to?
- How would you assess the relative depth of shallowness of your commitment toward God?
- What are the greatest distractions in your life with God?
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