Chapter thirteen in today’s reading is a collection of parables concerning the kingdom of heaven. Most of the parables indicate that not everyone makes it into the kingdom. The difference seems to be that those who take action on the commands of Christ are saved, but those who do not respond to the promises of God are ultimately rejected (because they have rejected God). What really popped out was the parable of the sower. Different people receive and respond to the gospel in different ways depending on the condition of their heart. This seems to be a reoccurring message in both gospels that we have been doing our reading so far. It should encourage us to share the gospel all the more knowing that there are some who will believe.
Jesus has another run in the with the religious crowd in chapter fifteen, this time over the issue of his disciples not washing their hands. (This has more to do with a ritual purity than germs at this point). Jesus presses the crowd to look past the “going through the motions” aspect of law keeping and look at the real issue. The real issue is not what you do outwardly, but what you are inwardly. (We’ll see this in the sermon today at Little Escambia. The law of God was not intended to compel us to outward compliance alone, but inward obedience as well… hence the 10th commandment)
Be careful here though. Many have taken this to mean that as long as my “intentions” are good, then I’m good. The problem is that Jesus isn’t talking about “intentions,” he is talking about our “motive.” Intentions never seem to get done or fulfilled. You can have the best of “intentions” and be the laziest person on the planet. No, what’s at stake here isn’t what you intend, but what drives what your “do.” The pharisees were driven to “do” the right things with the wrongs “motives.” Jesus is saying, pure motives drive pure living. Corrupt motives can only make you look clean on the outside.
Here is how I am praying through this passage today:
LORD, Thank you for how Jesus transforms our lives. I pray that your gospel would continue to transform my life and I would continue to grow in my faith. I pray for those who will hear your word today in so many different churches. I pray for prepared hearts that will be “good soil” for the word of God. I ask for faithfulness for other pastors and myself as we share your word. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.