The Kingdom of heaven is like a parable

 

sJesus has already explained once why He is using parables to teach in Mathew chapter 13.  After telling His first parable, His disciples ask him why He’s using them and He answers, as we’ve seen.  After He explains His use of parables, He explains the first parable then tells three more.  This cycle is repeated twice in Matthew 13; the second explanation of the use of parables is unprompted, much shorter and offered by the “narrator” (Matthew) rather than Jesus, as if just as a reminder.

In this second explanation, the Old-Testament prophet Isaiah is quoted again (the phrase “I will open my mouth in a parable” also appears in Psalm 78:2):  Jesus’ actions are fulfilling the prophet’s words that “[He] will open [his] mouth in a parable; [he] will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35).  In his parable telling, Jesus is revealing what has been hidden since the beginning of our world.  The Book of Genesis opens with these words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emphasis mine).  “Heavens and earth” simply means “seen and unseen;” the seen being all that we can experience and verify with our five senses about the world, and the unseen, in my contention, is the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is the place where God’s will is done, where God is.  God is invisible (1 John 4:12),  so might God’s kingdom be as well, at least in this age?  As we’ve seen, it can be hard to discern wheat from weed.  Similarly, yeast is indistinguishable from dough once it’s mixed in.  Likewise, a mustard seed is hardly visible itself; the tree within it will not be fully unveiled for quite some time.  The kingdom of God evidently is not easy to see, at least not right now – it is the heavens, the unseen, created in the beginning.  While it is a popular belief that God created “out of nothing,” I believe rather that God created out of God’s self and this was why God was able to “see that [all] was good.”  The kingdom of heaven, then, is wrought from God’s own words and God’s own self as the world we can see, hear, touch, taste and feel is.

So when Matthew says that Jesus’ parable teachings fulfill the prophet’s words, “I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world,” I think this means that Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom of heaven (which, we remember, is Himself).  It seems that the parable is the perfect way to proclaim the kingdom of heaven as it itself seems to be a bit of a parable as well.  Both parable and kingdom of heaven are not immediately obvious, both have depth beyond surface appearances and both are catalysts for enormous growth that will likely be totally invisible for an achingly long time.

Comments

November 24, 2014 at 12:42 am

The words “achingly long time” ring sad and true.



November 24, 2014 at 12:42 am

The words “achingly long time” ring sad and true.



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