The Key to it all
In our study of the culture and values of the kingdom of heaven, wouldn’t it be nice if there was one key that unlocked the door of understanding for all Jesus said about it? Good news; there is.
In Mark 4:1-20 Jesus taught and explained the parable of the sower, and in verse 13 He said: “Do you not understand this parable? How then can you understand all the parables?” In other words, understanding this parable is THE key to unlocking the deeper meanings of what the Lord taught about the kingdom. If you don’t understand and use the key He gives, you will misunderstand His parables.
This parable outlines the only 5 things Satan uses against us, revealing the ways he does so and his goals, the conditions of the human heart and how the Word grows within, and more – which I’ll outline next week.
But more importantly, Jesus defines for us what each symbol stands for that He uses throughout the gospels, which unlock key values and characteristics of the kingdom of heaven.
In Mark 4:14 Jesus says ”The sower sows the Word.” HE is the ‘sower’. The seed is the Word of God. The earth/dirt/soil, is the human heart in it’s various degrees of openness for receiving the Word of God.
Identifying these 3 elements are the key that unlock all the ‘kingdom’ parables: Jesus will always be the person, the ‘seed’ is always the Word, and the human heart will always be where He finds it.
Have the hang of it?
Now here comes the game changer, staying with these same keys, Jesus immediately launches into a series of kingdom parables using this key understanding in different ways, from Mt 13:44-46:
“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which when a man finds it, he hides, and for joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
This isn’t a parable of you finding the treasure that is Jesus, it’s about Jesus finding you!
Your heart is that field – Jesus gave us that key. Jesus is the man who found treasure (Word) in your heart. FOR JOY He sold all He had to buy the field – the human heart. WOW!
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the glory may be of God, not of us.”
“You are bought with a price, so glorify God…”
“…he emptied himself, making himself of no reputation and took on him the form of a servant, being made in likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death…”
II Cor 4:7, I Cor 6:20,Phil 2:6-8
Ready for another?
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man (Jesus), looking for fine pearls (human hearts – remember pearls grow by a ‘seed’ grain of sand placed in the oyster) and finds one pearl of great price, and sells all he had, and bought it.” Mt 13:44-46
Jesus was that merchant man on a business trip, looking for fine hearts…He found one very expensive pearl – your heart, the individual heart that He sees as having great value – and He sold all He had to buy you! In this parable He reveals his mission to earth is personal, individual. You are that expensive pearl, and He sold it all up to buy you. Wow
Jesus says the same thing in a different way but still using the keys in 13:33:
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast (seed) when a woman took (he is the baker), and hid in three measures of flour (human heart/spirit, soul, body) until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
Understanding the keys unlocks the meaning - you must knead dough, allow time for it to affect the whole loaf – which is our whole heart, our 3-part being – so it takes time to leaven our whole life, etc.
Why share this?
The reason for sharing the parable of the sower and the symbols Jesus said are required to understand all his parables, is that there is so much hype out there about ‘the kingdom’. I wanted to get to the core of love, of sacrifice, of the value our Lord places on the human heart, your human heart, straight from His lips.
Cut through the marketing hype in our day about ‘kingdom’ living, cut through the debates over what the kingdom of God/heaven means, and you get to what He revealed the kingdom of heaven’s values to be.
He is the farmer planting the seed of the Word in our hearts. Some ground is rocky, some has thorns, some is good soil. But He casts the seed nonetheless for the love of that human heart. He taught the same basic parable using the same key in different ways to try to tell us of His great love, the great value He places on each of us, and the great price He had to pay to redeem us.
You may not feel you are the pearl of great price He sold everything He had to buy. You may not feel like your heart is a field that contains a treasure so important and valuable He sold all to buy. You may not feel like your life is a lump of dough worthy of letting the Word leaven it to full extent. But you are.
Foundational to walking in the things of God is our acceptance of our value to Him, for how can we love our neighbor as ourselves if we don’t in fact love ourselves? Receiving His love and accepting that you ARE the pearl, YOU are that field with buried treasure, you DO have the growing seed of the Word in you - is a must.
Grace doesn’t have anything to do with the receiver of the grace, indeed it cannot by its nature. It is all in the heart of the giver of the grace. The receiver can only receive and has no power to affect the grace in the heart of the giver of grace.
I told you last week I would share more about ‘walking it out’. How is this about walking it out? If this understanding and these values become part of you, you will be a loving, forgiving, outward looking disciple of the Lord Jesus, not satisfied with anything less than knowing others on this same ‘spiritual page’, and from thence outward.
This is key to understanding the culture and values of the kingdom. This is foundational key to walking it out. Next week, how the kingdom grows within.
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