After His public rejection as King of the soon coming Kingdom of God, Jesus taught in parables. At the rejection of the King who came to serve than to be served, the Kingdom of God as mentioned by the OT prophets is postponed. Jesus was crucified, buried, raised to life, lifted up to heaven and was seated at the right hand of God. At His second coming, He will bring His recompense, reign on earth for a thousand years, and hold judgment before the new heavens and new earth begins.
In between Jesus’ 1st and 2nd comings, He calls men and women to be His disciples. All who do the will of His Father in heaven are His spiritual relatives (Matt 12:50). His disciples spent time with Jesus to hear private explanations of the truths in the parables. Will you set aside time?
The word “parable” comes from the Greek “para” means “beside, and “ballo” means “to cast.” So a parable is an illustrative story by which a familiar idea is cast beside an unfamiliar idea so that by comparison, people can better understand and grasp an unfamiliar idea.”
There are as many as 40 parables of Jesus, depending on how parables are defined. The key words are “like” or “compare.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like … (Mat 13:31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52, 20:1).
“What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? (Luk 13:18; 19, 21)
Welcome to the world of the parables of Jesus. “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’ (Luke 8:10).
The physical kingdom of God will come when Christ returns to the earth. It is fully described in the Old Testament. The spiritual realities (secrets/mysteries) of the Kingdom of God are revealed in the parables of Jesus, and through Paul the Apostle. These are for Christ’s disciples living in between His ascension and return. None of these mysteries were known to the OT prophets (Matt 13:17; 1Cor 2:7-8).
We need to pay careful attention to the secrets or mysteries of the Kingdom in the absence of the King on earth. In the absence of the King Jesus, He has given us the Holy Spirit to indwell and teach us. He has also given us the church with spiritual gifts to help all of us grow in faith and maturity in Christ.
During the absence of King Jesus, study all the parables of Jesus. As His disciples, we are urged to be:
1) faithful servants, not to be slothful
2) trustworthy stewards, not to be dishonest
3) prayerful and watchful householders, not to be discouraged and spiritually dull
4) diligent farmers, ploughing the ground and sowing the Gospel seeds, not forgetting that Christ’s enemy, Satan, also sows weeds, fake news and discords in families and churches through his minions
5) giving our priorities to eternal matters of the Kingdom of God.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo