Friday, January 17, 2020

Matthew 13

Key Verse: Matthew 13:30

Big Idea: Different people will grow at their own pace and in their own way, but the spark of life that Jesus puts in us will grow and change us from the inside out.

It is the time of year when many people begin making preparations for a vegetable garden. Unfortunately for the impatient among us, there is a long time between golden seed and bright red tomato. The beginning and the end product seem very different, and yet there is a continuity: the life of the seed will develop into the life of the plant, and then the life of the fruit. Tomatoes will grow in their time and with their own level of production, peppers in a different way and okra in still another, but if the plant’s roots took hold and it is given the proper nourishment, it will grow.

Some of the best known parables of Jesus come from agriculture, and probably none is better known than the parable of the sower. The message of the parable is simple: the life that God gives will grow slowly and steadily, if it has taken root, and although some people will bear more fruit than others, God’s power will shine through.  

Another parable at the end of the chapter gives an important warning: like wheat and tares are hard to distinguish until they have fully grown, sometimes the true and the false cannot be distinguished until the harvest. We cannot judge another person’s relationship with God from outward appearances, because sometimes those that seem to be the strongest at the beginning have no roots, and those that seem to be delayed will eventually bring a great harvest. The only thing we can do is look in our own hearts for signs of life, and nurture that life so it can carry out its natural function: more life!

Discussion idea: A seed can only become a new plant by dying. How does our bearing fruit for Jesus’ Kingdom require us to “die”? Different plants bear different amounts and kinds of fruit, how does that parallel the differences in our Christian lives?
Prayer focus: Pray that we will see people with the kind of patient love that God does, while still remaining faithful to the fact that only the seed og the gospel can give life.  

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