Today in 33 A.D., Jesus took His disciples and the religious leaders of the day to school. It’s remarkable how much Jesus taught with so few words. There is much beauty in brevity.
Not only did Jesus’ teaching pack a punch, but it was thought-provoking, straight-forward, and applies to us today!
Rather than quoting portions of the biblical text today, I thought it’d be great to go through a brief summary of the parables Jesus taught on this Tuesday before His death on the cross. Please keep in mind there is so much more Jesus shared on this day (see Matthew 21-25). And what’s below are tee-tiny nutshells. They’re like summarizing the Grand Canyon by saying it’s full of big rocks and a river runs through it! But I hope your hunger for the Word is fed as we engage it with our hearts and minds. Here we go!
1.) Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32): A father asks his two sons to work his vineyard for him. One says ‘no,’ but later works the field. The second says ‘yes,’ but never works. This is symbolic of the religious leaders of that time claiming they obey God, but they do not follow His will.
How does this apply to us? It’s easy to want to appear ‘good’ and obedient to God, when we have no real intention of following His commands. In what areas could we grow in obedience?
2.) Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46): A landowner leases his fields to tenants. After some time, he sends his servants and eventually his son to gather his portion of the harvest from the tenants. The tenants beat, stone and/or murder the servants and son. This parable is chock full of symbolism: God is the landowner; the field is Israel; the tenants are the religious leaders; the son is Jesus, the servants are His faithful prophets; and the other tenants are the Gentiles. The main theme is how God appealed over and over to His people to repent through His prophets, but they would not obey. Eventually He sent His Son, Jesus, who would die for our sins.
How Does This Apply to Us? God sent Jesus to us… how do we respond? Do we revile and reject OR embrace and give our all to Him?
3.) Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14): A king prepares a wedding banquet for his son, but when the time to celebrate arrives, the invited guests fail to attend. Instead, when the king’s servants invite the guests, the guests go about their business, duties and some even kill the servants. The king avenges their deaths, and then sends more servants out to invite other guests. One guest shows up without the proper wedding attire and is thrown out.
Here, the wedding is compared to heaven. The initial guests invited are the Israelites, who reject God’s gift of His Son, Jesus. God then opens heaven up for all people who by faith accept Jesus as Lord. Those who die and stand before God without salvation are like the man who is thrown out (i.e. hell).
How Does This Apply to Us? God gives us opportunities to answer His call of salvation. Have we given Him lordship of our life? Do we put on the garment of righteousness and salvation or arrogantly don our own free will? (See Isaiah 61:10)
4.) Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13): Five wise and five foolish virgins (possibly bridesmaids) are waiting on the bridegroom to come. Historically, on the day of the wedding, the groom went to the bride’s house for the ceremony. After, they joyfully had a processional to the groom’s house for a feast. The virgins become sleepy as they await the groom and the oil in their lamps grows dim. However, the wise virgins brought extra oil with them, so when the groom appears, they refill their lamps and leave with the groom. However, the foolish virgins leave to buy replacement oil. By the time they make their purchase, it is too late to join the wedding feast.
How Does This Apply to Us? No one knows when Jesus will return, so it’s vital Christians are spiritually prepared as we joyfully and eagerly look for His coming. We cannot borrow anyone else’s relationship with Christ, but have to have our own. How? By bowing our will to God’s will, which will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and a deep, abiding love for Jesus. (See Titus 2:11-14 as well).
5.) Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30): A wealthy man entrusts his fortune to three stewards. He gives one man five talents (a form of money); one is given two talents; and the last is given one talent. He expects them to invest his wealth and earn a profit. The first two stewards do just that and make a 100 percent profit; the third man buries his talent and earns nothing. The wealthy man praises the profitable stewards and invites them into his joy. But the third man is punished.
How Does This Apply to Us? God gives each of a variety of resources to steward well, for His glory and honor. How are we spending our time, money, knowledge, and abilities to further His kingdom here on earth?
6.) Parable of Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46): While this is a little different than the other parables, it is really important to take note of. One day we will all stand before Jesus and He will separate us as ‘sheep’ and ‘goats.’ Sheep represent those Christians who earnestly followed the commands of the Lord while on earth. Jesus includes the following in this parable: feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers; clothe those in need; look after the sick and visit those in prison. Goats represent those who claimed to know Christ, but did not obey these commands.
How Does This Apply to Us? Its’ one thing to say, ‘Yeah, I’m a Christian.’ Yet it’s another thing to DO what Christ asks of us and to act like Him. Is this always easy? No. It requires us stewarding our ‘talents’ (see above parable) well and having our ‘lamps wicked’ (see parable of the ten virgins). How do our actions line up with this parable: are we sheep or goats?
Thanks for hanging out today! I hope you’ll join us tomorrow for another exciting day of loving God by learning His Word. Peace.