Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do you understand the secret to the kingdom of heaven?

This morning I am continuing my reading through the Gospels. I am reading them as I continue to ponder discipleship and what it means to our churches. This morning a couple of things seem relevant.

In chapter four, we read of the purpose of the parables. Beginning in verse 10, those that were around him asked about the parables. It is interesting to note that there were more than just the twelve apostles. Jesus answered them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.” Later, in verse 34 it says, “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”

Two things come to mind as I reflect on these passages. First, there were more than just the twelve apostles with Jesus at this time. Many followed him, but some may have done so out of curiosity. Jesus says that the secret of the kingdom of heaven has been given to them, but perhaps they did not all accept it. Perhaps, the better way to state it would be that not all of them had the faith to accept it. Jesus goes on to explain the parable of the sower. It would seem many of those that followed him fit into the illustration other than that given in verse 20.

The second thing that comes to mind is from verse 33 and 34. Mark writes that Jesus continued to speak in parables, but then “privately to his own disciples he explained everything.” This shows that even though Jesus called his twelve disciples, and that they were given the secret to the kingdom of heaven, they must continue to be taught to understand the parables.

In our churches today, many Christians have received the gift of salvation; yet, they do not pursue Jesus as a disciple by studying the scriptures. If Jesus had to teach the apostles that he called to understand the secret of the kingdom of heaven, does it not make sense that we need to be diligent to seek the wisdom as taught in scriptures all the more? We should not take for granted our salvation, treating it as nothing more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. Jesus called us to be his disciples; and as such, we should purposely pursue the secrets of the kingdom of heaven through prayer, study, and teaching.

Something to ponder today…