Understanding Parables According to the Gospel of Mark: Chapters 1 to 8

Mark 5:21-43 Jesus Heals an Issue of Blood and Raises a Girl From Death

Mark 5:21-43 NLTse Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. (22) Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, (23) pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” (24) Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. (25) A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. (26) She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. (27) She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. (28) For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” (29) Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. (30) Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” (31) His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?'” (32) But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. (33) Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done. (34) And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (35) While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” (36) But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” (37) Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). (38) When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. (39) He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” (40) The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. (41) Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” (42) And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. (43) Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

This seems like a long day for Jesus, but He is doing what He loves, teaching and healing. The day before Jesus began His journeys and lessons on the shores of the lake. Crowds became so thick, He launched out a short distance in a boat. This also helped call attention to what Jesus was teaching, a parable about a farmer scattering his seed. Some landed on the road. Other seed landed on stony ground and among thorns, and of course the farmer made sure plenty of seed landed on good soil.

Later, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the meaning of the parable. Jesus told them what the symbols were and what they represented. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:15-19 NLTse). Of course Jesus also explained, seed represented God’s Word. He also explained how the good soil produced more seed.

Jesus also explained how important understanding God’s Word was to produce more seed. Jesus told a parable about lighting a lamp. When used properly, light makes everything visible. Light represents understanding God’s Word.

Once His disciples understood they had to understand God’s Word before they could see His Word increase, Jesus told them another parable explaining the process to follow. The disciples did not know it at the time, but the first lesson would be taught while crossing the lake.

In the middle of their trip they were caught up in a vicious storm, so fierce the four fisherman Jesus called cried for help. They found Jesus asleep in the front of the boat. They woke Him, asking if He cared anything about them. The disciples weren’t sure why they woke Jesus with such doubt in their hearts. Did they really believe Jesus was going to save them? Did their faith lead them to Jesus, or their fear? Jesus calmed the wind with His Word, which was part of the lesson. Wind represented ideas, concepts and words people would use against them once they began preaching God’s Word. Jesus showed them how to over come the wind. He also showed them how to handle the wind when it comes. He would illustrate this lesson again in the hours to come.

Looking back at the sequence of this texts and forward to what the disciples wrote in the New Testament, a question comes to mind. The seed of course produces more seed. The seed represents God’s Word in the parable of the sower. In essence the parable shows God’s Word produces more of God’s Word, just as the seed produced more seed. New Testament writers referred to and expounded on Jesus’ parables. The seed Jesus planted produced more seed, just like the parable pointed out.

Once they reached the other side of the lake, a man possessed by hundreds of demons threatened them. As the disciples hid behind Jesus, He stepped forward to confront the evil spirits. Although out numbered, Jesus sent the demons into a herd of swine. The scene seemed quite strange in both instances, those with the greater numbers feared the one they out numbered.

Once the demons left the man, the pigs ran off a cliff into the lake Satan tried to control just a few hours before. Once freed, the man, wanted to follow Jesus, who instructed him to return home to his family to explain what happened to him. He became one of the most successful evangelists in the Bible. Jesus links the next lesson to the previous by once again entering a boat. They cross the lake again. This time Jesus meet a rich young ruler.

Jesus could see the man coming from quite a distance. Jairus was dressed in rich robes showing his high status in the synagogue. The disciples looked at him, thinking it was strange for a young man to reach such a high status. They thought to themselves, it was all who you know, not what you know. The little bit of knowledge the disciple were learning was not yet complete. One of the most important lessons was still in the future, which is, when the Spirit provides a message, He also tells who to deliver the message to, when and how to declare the message.

Jairus ran out of options. A few days ago his wife sent a servant to the synagogue with the news his young daughter was seriously ill. He dropped everything and hurried home. Rushing into her room he found his wife kneeling at the bed, tears in her eyes. The physicians paced about with bewildered looks on their faces. The next two days were torture. Jairus could not think of a thing he would not give up as he walked the halls and courtyard of his home looking for peace while praying for an answer. After weighing all the options one of his servants decided to tell him about Jesus. She knew it may cost her a job and living. She knew if she were fired for telling a religious leader about Jesus, no one would considering hiring her. Watching the child suffer was more than she could bear. She decided to take the risk and talk with Jairus.

At first he was shocked to find one of Jesus’ followers working for him. But something touched him. He could see her sacrifice, the risk she took. Maybe there was something to this Jesus he heard so much about. Jairus took her by the hand. They walked to his daughter’s room. Standing at the doorway, he turned, asking his servant where Jesus was right now. She told Jairus, “I heard He was at the lake a few days ago, near the fishing village. Jairus went to the bed, held his daughter’s hand, kissed his wife and quickly left.

He ran as fast and far as he could, walked for a while, ran again past the point of exhaustion. His legs ached and lungs burned. It felt like his head was going to burst. Finally the lake came into view. From the top of the hill he saw a crowd gathered on the shore. “Thank you Lord,” Jairus cried out. He walked to the shore as fast as he could, thinking every moment counted.

Jesus could see the tormented look on Jairus’ face. The disciples also noticed the anguished look that reminded them of the demon possessed man. Jesus went straight toward him. Jairus didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know if it was a combination of exhaustion and the thought of his little girl in bed, or a hope, some sort of faith in Jesus that forced him to his knees. He pleaded with Jesus, “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”

Knowing the situation was urgent, Jesus immediately went with Jairus with a number of people following them. Making their way through the crowd a woman began to weep. She suffered with constant bleeding for twelve years. Most everyone knew about her problem because she went to priest after priest, and a number of physicians and other healers. Not one could do a thing for her. Word got around and she was treated much like a leper. All the offerings and payments to physicians left her nearly penniless. Hearing about Jesus gave her a glimmer of hope. Something she lost a long time ago. Now she saw her last hope leaving.

She tried to push her way through the crowd, but it seemed the more she pushed, the further away the crowd pushed her. Her eyes filled with tears to the point she could not see. She wiped her eyes. Her view cleared just long enough to see Jairus pass by. She held out her hand touching a robe for only a moment. Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

At the same moment He was touched, Jesus stopped. Jairus also stopped, turned and looked at Jesus. He wanted to ask Him to hurry, but before he could speak, Jesus asked, “who touched me?” Jesus looked from side to side. Jairus was trying to find a way of politely asking Him to hurry. The disciples wondered what kind of an answer Jesus was looking for. Finally the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

For a moment a peace, a bit of security came over Jairus. It only lasted a minute. His servants appeared from the crowd to tell him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” Jesus heard the news and saw the expression on Jairus’ face instantly change. Filled with compassion Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

Jairus wondered where faith fit into the scene. His daughter was dead. At least that was what he was told. His servant would never lie to him. Not about something so severe. Jairus felt like a knife was plunged into his heart. His legs still ached from the run, his head still pounded. He thought his heart was still pumping faster than normal, but now he wished it would stop. Why did God take his daughter? Why didn’t God take him?

Jairus headed home, with his head hung low, his servants arm around him. He didn’t think he could make it on his own. Once his home came into sight Jairus remember his wife. He had to appear strong for her. He knew his pain would be nothing compared to hers. Suddenly Jairus noticed Jesus and a huge crowd was still behind him. The last thing he needed was company. All he wanted to do was be alone with his wife for a time before sorting out the details. Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John. They could hear the screams and cries from the mourners. It seemed word had gotten out and Jairus’ moment of silence would be impossible. As soon as Jairus stopped and turned to disperse the crowd, Jesus walked right past him, went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” Of course everyone in the house laughed at Him. Almost everyone. Jairus’ wife and the servant comforting her held onto a spark of faith, which was dwindling fast. With the help of Peter, James, and John, Jesus cleared the house.

Once the house was cleared and silent, Jesus took Jairus and his wife by the hand, leading them into their daughter’s room. The three disciples followed close behind. Taking the young Girl’s hand, Jesus said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” She immediately stood up and walked around! Nothing could match or describe the joy in Jairus’ joy in him and his wife.

Going from the lowest of lows to a high beyond description is experienced by few. It is nothing short of a life changing experience, not only for Jairus and his wife, but the disciples, and all the people who saw the little girl lying dead.

Why did Jesus raise Jairus’ daughter from death? Did Jairus’ status in the synagogue have anything to do with it? What did the disciples learn from this? Was Jesus only displaying His power, or was there a deeper meaning involved?

When we look at all the of events as Jesus crisscrossed the lake, we not only begin to see a small portion of what Jesus was teaching, but the sequence Jesus used to teach. It began on the first journey across the lake. Satan used the wind to threaten the disciples much like he used wind to test Job. Mark clearly notes Jesus slept in the boat while it was tossed by wind and flooded by waves. When we see what wind represents, we understand why Jesus slept.

Ephesians 4:14 KJV That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

When we look at another storm Jesus faced we understand why Jesus slept. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (John 8:4-6 NLTse). When the Pharisees confronted Jesus with doctrine, He refused to debate with them. He refused to fall into the trap they set for him. Jesus knew the Pharisees had their own preconceived idea on every detail of the law and would rather die than concede one point. Changing their mind on any point would be like moving a mountain. Its not much different today. Religions hook members on doctrines, addicting them to the point they feel their salvation relies on not only knowing, but forcing their beliefs on others. They forgot the simple message Jesus gave to His disciples, to teach the prophecies He fulfilled.

When they reached the other side of the lake, they were faced by a man possessed by a legion of demons. This was the last person on earth anyone would have expected to see teaching about and leading people to Jesus. This man lead countless people to Christ.

Jesus and the disciples got back into the boat to cross the lake one more time. This time they met a leader of the synagogue, dressed in his spectacular clothing. At first it appeared to be quite a contrast to the man on the other side of the lake, but each had their problems. Jairus’ daughter was in bed dying. He would have changed places with anyone at that point. The fact Jairus was a leader in the synagogue taught the disciples another lesson. Jesus came to reach out to everyone.

A woman with an issue of blood was also involved in this story. Jesus met her on the way to Jairus’ house. She may have delayed Jesus while Jairus’ daughter died. The woman tried everything to end the dreaded disease before she heard of Jesus. He was her last hope. She touched Him in faith and was instantly healed.

Understanding Parables According to the Gospel of Mark: Chapters 1 to 8
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All of these teach one lesson after another. Jesus did not stop teaching when he finished His parables. The Holy Spirit established a sequence of events, one after another to fill in some of the details missing from the parables. Jesus taught this application in His parables. First He introduced the parable of the sower. At the end Jesus explained the seed in good ground produces new seed. Later Jesus told His disciples a parable about another farmer sowing seed. This time Jesus added details about the life cycle of the seed, to a plant which produces more seed. “The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.” (Mark 4:28-29 NLTse). Jesus then began to fill in other missing details from the parable of the sower when He began showing them how far Satan will go to distract people from God’s Word, the seeds planted in their hearts.

Satan tried to destroy Jesus and His disciples with wind. Jesus rebuked the wind with His word. Peter proved he learned the lesson when he wrote: “These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:17-19 NLTse). By sleeping in the boat, Jesus taught them to ignore people who seek salvation through their doctrines. By rebuking the wind, He taught them to rely on His word.

The man possessed by demons was chained by men, but escaped. No matter how hard the demons tried to hold him, he made his way to Jesus. People have their own way of dealing with demons. In this story they tried to chain him. If they had succeeded, they would have kept him from Jesus. Did the man hold a grudge? No! He went back to show them what Jesus can do. In this lesson the disciples learned not to judge anyone by their appearance. A few words from Jesus changed this man as quickly as the wind changed.

The disciples learned another lesson about judging people. This time it was a leader in the synagogue. The man came to Jesus in faith. He was able to put away his doctrine to come to Jesus. He came to Jesus to heal his daughter, but Jesus provided much more. Jesus provided life.

The woman with an issue of blood faced some of the same problems as Jairus, the young leader. She tried everything to rid herself of the disease, but nothing worked. Man made cures made matters worse. She went to priests, doctors, and who knows what else. She put her trust in everything she knew, spending all of her money until it was all gone. She went to Jesus as her last hope. A quality she shared with Jairus. It didn’t matter to Jesus, as long as they came to Him. Jesus was happy to heal the woman and raise the young girl back to life. Jesus didn’t ask Jairus what be believed. He never questions about the doctrine Jairus believed and taught. Neither did Jesus ask the woman why she put her trust in priests and doctors instead of God. Jesus accepted them where they were when they came to Him.

We can see James understood these lessons when he wrote his letter to the Jewish believers. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:2-6 NLTse).

Understanding Parables According to the Gospel of Mark: Chapters 1 to 8
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Introductions and Summaries Psalms 49:1-4 Listen to a Parable

Psalms 49:1-4 NLTse Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! (2) High and low, rich and poor–listen! (3) For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. (4) I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.

The obvious key word in this prophecy is listen followed by the related words, people, everyone, and world. Key words also tell us what to listen to, proverbs and riddles. Some translations use the word parables for proverbs. This prophecy is simple. It is asking everyone in the world to listen to many proverbs. It’s also another prophecy about Jesus that is easy to locate because it’s quoted by inspiration in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:1-3 NLTse Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. (2) A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. (3) He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.

As we’ve seen in previous studies of God’s Word, when Old Testament scripture is quoted, we need to look at surrounding texts and the entire chapter to get the whole message. We also learned an important rule of Bible Study concerning the introduction to chapters. Since the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 49 is found in the introduction of Matthew 13, we need to look at the first few words. Look at how the words, “later that same day,” point us back to the previous chapter. Once again there’s a reason Matthew points us back to the previous chapter that we’ll look at later. At this point we’ll compare key words between the prophecy and fulfillment. Psalm 49 has the key word, listen. Matthew 13 repeated the similar words, told and taught. The key word people is also found in both chapters as well as sharing the related words, proverbs, riddles, stories, and parables. The connection between these two chapters is established by the simple Bible Study rule of repetition.

Prophecies Revealing the Messiah
Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Psalms Chapters 31 Through 89 Download the eBook directly from the author.

It’s unusual for both the prophecy and fulfillment to be introductions. This points us to the importance of the lesson since the introduction of chapters establishes the theme. Since the introductions share the same key words and theme, it’s obvious the chapters dwell on the same spiritual lesson which will be revealed as we study and compare more of these chapters.

We need to note, Psalm chapter 78 is a second version of the prophecy fulfilled by Jesus that will be studies at a later time. O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past- (Psalms 78:1-2 NLTse).

We also need to look at the previous study showing how people throughout history will betray Jesus. Once we’re shown how we’ve physically turned away from Jesus and spiritually betrayed Him, we have to learn how to serve Him and prepare to work in the harvest. We see this in the sequence Jesus placed in His word. All the details point to the significance to this subject. Not only is this prophecy found in the introduction to Psalm 40 and Matthew 13, it’s repeated in the introduction of Psalm 78. The fulfillment is also repeated in Mark 4 and Luke chapter 8. When God repeats Himself we need to pay attention!

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parables Jesus told because it is one of the few parables where Jesus explained the spiritual interpretation. In His explanation Jesus tells his disciples; “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’” (Mark 4:11-12 NLTse). We see two concepts in Jesus’ explanation. “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God,” and by turning to Jesus to understand those parables, you will be forgiven. This requires much more than some of the conventional teaching that offers forgiveness by merely knowing Jesus’ name which is sometimes termed the once forgiven, always forgiven theory. To learn and understand the lessons taught between these two chapters we need to compare the summations.

Psalms 49:16-20 NLTse So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. (17) For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. (18) In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. (19) But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. (20) People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.


 

Matthew 13:53-58 NLTse When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. (54) He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” (55) Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers–James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. (56) All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” (57) And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” (58) And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

David tells us how useless worldly riches are. Matthew shows us a spiritual contrast when he describes how people in Jesus’ hometown rejected Him. They had the riches of the universe in front of them, but the pull of the world blinded them as they looked at the physical aspects and ignored the spiritual. Looking deeper into the story we see how people Jesus grew up with picked and chose what to see and what not to see. They didn’t see the good Jesus did. They didn’t see the example He set as He grew up in front of them. They also closed their eyes to miracles Jesus performed after He began His ministry. It’s not by accident they asked, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Their faith was anchored in the established religious order who they trusted and believed had the truth. But as history has shown, was far from the truth. All of this ties into the parable Jesus explained and David’s warning about worthless riches. The religious leaders built a fortune on their rules, regulations, doctrines, traditions, and of course their version of the sacrificial system. Every facet of their form of worship was designed to produce income, place excess burdens on people, and draw them away form the real vision of God as well as a personal relationship with Him and His Son. It’s hard to believe people growing up with Jesus missed so much. But how much do people miss today? Do they know how to understand parables like Jesus explained? Don’t forget the opening line to David’s prophecy. “Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world!” Following basic Bible Study rules we see the same method in Matthew. Now it’s time to look back at the previous chapter.

Matthew 12:46-50 NLTse As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. (47) Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” (48) Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (49) Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. (50) Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

To help us understand, Jesus placed a more personal emphasis on David’s plea for everyone to listen. “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” David shows us the world is supposed to listen. Jesus explains His family will be the ones who actually follow Him. David adds more details to his prophecy to show how important it is to learn the mysteries of proverbs and parallels, in other words, how to understand God’s Word.

Psalms 49:5-15 NLTse Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? (6) They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. (7) Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. (8) Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough (9) to live forever and never see the grave. (10) Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. (11) The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, (12) but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. (13) This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. (14) Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. (15) But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.

The contrast continues to unfold as we see David explain how riches and wealth will never redeem a single person. God doesn’t want our wealth, He wants us to listen to His Son. But even as he spoke, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5 NLTse). The way David explains how useless riches are reminds me of one verse. So I advise you to buy gold from me–gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. (Revelation 3:18 NLTse).

There’s a difference between worldly riches and spiritual just like there’s a difference between a message from the world and one from Heaven. Jesus explained how to find the message from Heaven when He taught His disciples how to understand the parable about the sower. Where do you think Jesus got His interpretations for the key words from? Do you think He guessed at them or made up the spiritual meanings like other people do? No! Every interpretation Jesus provided came from scripture. Every interpretation can be proved with scripture. When we look at Matthew 13 we see Jesus point us back to scripture a number of times.

Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. (Matthew 13:5 NLTse).

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLTse)

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. (Matthew 13:11-14 NLTse)

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” (Isaiah 6:8-10 NLTse)

But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (Matthew 13:21 NLTse)

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. (Proverbs 12:1-3 NLTse)

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (Matthew 13:22 NLTse)

This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. (Jeremiah 4:3 NLTse)

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23 NLTse)

For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. (Ezekiel 36:24-30 NLTse)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalms 1:1-3 NLTse)

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:34-35 NLTse)

O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors– stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. (Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse)

The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse)

Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’–‘God plants!’ At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!'” (Hosea 2:22-23 NLTse)

The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. (Matthew 13:39 NLTse)

Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.” Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. (Joel 3:13-14 NLTse)

And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:42 NLTse)

You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. (Psalms 21:9-11 NLTse)

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! (Matthew 13:43 NLTse)

Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:2-4 NLTse)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44 NLTse)

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5 NLTse)

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:45-46 NLTse)

In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. (Isaiah 33:6 NLTse)

There’s an obvious connection between riches and Heaven, but who in their right mind confuses worldly riches from this world with eternal riches from Heaven? Look at what people consider riches in this world and how they effect lives. Today it costs thousands of dollars a month to maintain a comfortable living. Tens of thousands of dollars a year. This world is filled with people after those riches. Mortgage, taxes, food, clothing, cars, vacations, electronics, the latest phone, service plans, insurance, transportation, gasoline, heat, electricity, the list goes on. It never ends in this world. Compare that to Heaven where everything is given by a loving God who died so we can have salvation, eternal life, and Heaven with a home and no bills! One of the things Jesus offers us is the ability to understand His Word. In this example we see unmistakable evidence. Jesus’ quoted a number of texts in His lesson. A large percentage of that lesson is made up of scripture. If we ignore that fact and don’t look at and compare that Old Testament texts to the parable, we’ll never see or understand the message.

Looking at this world it’s not difficult to see where the warnings come from that need to be heeded. Look at the grand churches with sprawling parking lots, manicured lawns and landscaping designed to attract financially stable members. Inside the church people spend hours, days and weeks choosing carpeting, colors, padded pews, choir robs, and decorations exceeding the extravagance of former idols worshiped generations ago. Some people waste hours every week spending a fortune planning back grounds and flower arrangements to please the eye. More time, money, and effort is placed on planning decorations inside the church than on the sermon. Before the sermon becomes a thought details on lighting, camera, big screens, and sound systems rob time that could have been spent sharing the simple message Jesus gave His disciples to share. Jesus never taught in an atmosphere churches spend millions of dollars and endless hours to create. But that’s the world today. That’s the way of the world. Create a church to compete for members and donations. Popular churches have become so elaborate, they push away the poor, depressed, needy, sick, bewildered, all the people Jesus ministered to. Today’s churches who consider themselves successful reject the same people the religious leaders who opposed Jesus turned away. No wonder we find Jesus preaching this vital message in a simple boat with nothing but blue sky highlighting an endless view of water on the lake. Neither one of the gospel writers recorded any details about forming a committee or collecting funds to paint the boat, or long meetings to agree on a new sail to add atmosphere to the scene. As a matter of fact a sail would have upset the entire service. Jesus was smarter than most people give Him credit for when He followed God’s Spirit to set the location, theme, and words for His message.