Reading through the Bible together
Once again we are in the midst of Jesus’ ministry and He is teaching the crowds about the Kingdom of Heaven. When I read this chapter I see two specific principles: the first is that everything begins with a relationship with the Savior. The second is that we must be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
We begin with Jesus speaking to the people and using parables. These stories hold great meaning and insight to those who are open to the teachings of the Messiah. The story that Jesus is telling in the beginning of Matthew 13 is about a farmer sowing seeds in a field. The disciples are confused and Jesus is encouraging them to allow the Spirit of God to sharpen their ears. He tells them to open their hearts to the deeper meaning in the stories. How do we become prepared to receive the seed? It’s by listening to Jesus and opening our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit. Next, how do we become the rich soil? It’s by cultivating my relationship with Jesus and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. The healthy soil will produce a healthiest harvest. If we have a wrong view of God’s love we will produce a bad harvest or no harvest at all. The people that we come in contact with will gain a false understanding of who God is when we ourselves are closed to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There is a song by Kathleen Harris that explains this very well: “If not you, I wonder where will they ever find the One who really cares? If not you, how will they find the One who heals the broken heart, gives sight to the blind? If not you, I wonder who, will show them love, and love alone can make things new. If not you, how will they learn there’s one who’ll trade their hopelessness for joy in return? Because you’re the only Jesus some will ever see, you’re the only words of life, some will ever read. So let them see in you the One in whom is all they’ll ever need. You’re the only Jesus, some will ever see.”
Further into Matthew’s passage we read other parables that give us a glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven. God will bless those that are true to Him and listen to the Holy Spirit. God wants to be in every part of our lives. Complete trust in Him is essential to the Christian walk. God wants to be first in our lives. There shouldn’t be anything or anyone greater than God. The beauty of trusting and giving it all to Him is found in these promises: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” Psalm 37:4 (KJV); and “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).
Joey Norwood Tolbert
M.A. in Religious Studies