Scales (Matthew 13:47-50)

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Jesus continues teaching in parables. “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is  like a net  that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The parable of the net is very similar to the parable of the weeds. Fish swim together in the same water just as plants grow together in the same field. In the case of the weeds, Jesus said that the land-owner instructed his workers, “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’””  Both illustrations talk about an end-time sortation – a separation between the righteous and the wicked. 

But what is righteousness, and what is wickedness?

God is righteous. We all get that. But not many understand that what makes God righteous is Himself. He is right, and He is the right by which all others might be compared. To that end, what God declares as like Himself is right, and what God declares is not like Him is not right. And because God is righteous, what is not like God is unrighteous. 

When God’s Word says that stealing is wrong (Ex 20:15, “You shall not steal”), it isn’t because God is giving us an arbitrary edict. God is saying that because He does not steal – He does not take that which is not rightly His. Therefore, it is unrighteous to take what does not belong to you, and as God’s people (who bear His image) must reflect Him in character, we should not steal. 

Likewise, when He says that lying is wrong (Ex 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”), it is because God is truth and only speaks truth. There is nothing false in or about God, or in God’s character or in God’s ways. Therefore, it is unrighteous to un untrue. It is unrighteous to misrepresent yourself or to not speak truth when you present something to another. 

This same principle is at work when God says, “You shall not commit adultery,” and when He says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  Adultery and homosexual acts are not practices God participates in and are therefore unrighteous. God knows we are tempted by our fallen nature to participate in these things, so the Word of God includes teaching that we might not do so. 

To be God’s people, we must avoid that which is not like God and practice that which is like God. Why? Because the day comes when God draws our age to a close, and those who practice what is like Him stay with Him, and those who do not are cast out forever.

That is what it means to be holy, and that is what it means to be righteous! 

The call to right and holy living is first of all founded on the fact that God himself is holy.

Daniel C. Arichea and Eugene A. Nida

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Godliness has many benefits, but chief among them is that we might better reflect our Creator, Redeemer and Lord! What can you do to better reflect Him to others in your circle of influence?

Consequences (Matthew 13:47-50)

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The parable of the weeds taught Christ’s disciples that there is a qualitative   difference between the wheat that God plants and the weeds that the evil one plants. As God is the creator of all people, we can understand that we are meant to become wheat. Yet what we become is actually a function of our own decision. It is up to us to choose rightly.

The parable of the dragnet is the same truth, taught to those who fish instead of those who farm, “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  

Jesus teaches from the experience of those He speaks to; “One of the methods used to catch a quantity of fish was to suspend a large, weighted net in the lake and pull it toward the shore (either by boats or hand-drawn ropes). Since the lake contained over twenty kinds of fish, the catch found in the dragnet was usually a mixed lot. A sorting process was necessary to eliminate those varieties that were either inedible or unclean according to Jewish law (cf. Lev. 11:9–12).” 

A dragnet is going to pull up everything in its path, so edible fish and crustacean alike find themselves being sorted. The Jewish fishermen would simply pick up each find and either make an instant decision that it was good to eat. If so, they gathered it. If not, they would throw it back into the water. That is because fish of all kinds grow together in the same body of water just as weeds and wheat grow in the same field. These things take their sustenance from the world that was created for them, just as people do. But unlike weeds and unclean fish, people get to decide what kind (of person) they are going to be. Jesus’ choice of words to describe the fish is not by accident – He called one kind a “good fish” and the other kind “bad fish”. It is our choice to be good just as it is our choice to be bad. We get to decide what we are becoming. 

In his book, We Become What We Worship, Greg Beale said, “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.” “Our worship exposes us and changes us. We either revere the world and are conformed to the sinful patterns of the world, or we revere God and are progressively conformed into his likeness.

This is the luxury afforded unto us at creation. We get to make a choice, just as Adam and Eve got to make a choice. Every day we choose if we will clothe ourselves in righteousness via obedience to God’s Word and leading, or if we will clothe ourselves in something else.  

Choose wisely, because either way, we will ultimately get caught up in God’s plan for the closing of the age. Amen.

Certain things have been decreed by the free determination of God, and one of these is the law of choice and consequences.

A.W. Tozer

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Intentionality mixed with perseverance and faith goes a very long way in the right direction. 

Knowing the Difference (Matthew 13:45-46)

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The prophet Isaiah recorded God’s eternal Word records, “How you have  fallen from  heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.””   Isaiah tells us that when Satan fell from grace, it was because he sought to take God’s place. 

He counterfeited God’s authority, and he still does so today. In fact, almost everything of great value has been counterfeited under his influence.

When he was 24yrs old, Joseph Smith published a book. The year was 1830. The book was called “The Book of Mormon” and Smith told everyone that it was a translation of a text written in an ancient language on a set of golden plates that he had dug up from a hill near his property after an angel had shown him where they were. After his death in 1844, Smith’s followers assembled another book in which they placed much of Smith’s additional writings, almost all of which were allegedly written in response to visions. They called that book, “The Pearl of Great Price” after the parable that Jesus told His followers; “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”  

Sadly, Smith’s followers didn’t name the book “The Pearl of Great Price” because Joseph Smith had sought truth in the Scripture or wanted to point people to the kingdom of heaven Jesus had taught about. In fact, history records that Smith was a troubled man with a history of lying, fraud and deception. Smith taught that people could become gods – the same lie that Satan himself believed; “In one of the Mormon scriptures, The Pearl of Great Price, we are told that the world was fashioned “by the Gods.” In his famous King Follett sermon, Joseph Smith stated that God was once as we are and that we may become as He is—a God.”  That is a blasphemous lie. Any who read his writing and know the Scripture know that Smith distorted and added to the Word of God, and it is well established Smith and the leadership of his church consistently published false prophesy, “One well-known example is their prediction that the battle of Armageddon would occur between 1874 and 1914: “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of a.d. 1914.””  

The kingdom of heaven is truly wonderful. But until it is fully established on earth, there will be counterfeits and counterfeiters. We who seek God must be diligent to know the difference, just as a pearl merchant would need to be diligent in their business to know the difference between a coloured marble and the real thing. 

The principal tactic Satan uses to attack God and His program in general is to offer a counterfeit kingdom and program. This was evident when he originally sinned by wanting to be like, not unlike, God.

Charles Caldwell Ryrie

APPLICATION: Intentionality

There is always more of us to lay aside, and always more of Christ to pick up.

More! (Matthew 13:44-46)

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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it   again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Like the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl clearly teaches that if you have found something of immeasurable value you do whatever you need to do to obtain it. Like the man who found the hidden treasure, the merchant in this parable sells all he has to obtain it. The primary difference in the two parables is that the man who found the treasure in the prior parable seems to have stumbled across it, but the merchant in this parable is one who is very deliberately searching for a particular kind of treasure.

Some people find Jesus Christ when they are not even particularly looking for Him. They inadvertently stumble across the threshold of heaven. Many are the stories of those who are low or in difficult straights and who suddenly find Jesus through a bizarre set of coincidences. It might be a well-placed billboard or a timely message on the radio. It might be a track that was left behind in a secular workplace or a divinely appointed but unexpected meeting with a stranger. Whatever it is, something or someone leads them to Jesus even though they were not looking for Him at the start of the day. Finding Christ radically alters their lives, and they reorient their lives to revolve around Him and His Word. Their dramatic testimonies are like stories of finding a limitless vein of gold in a random field. 

Others come into the kingdom of God after a very deliberate search. Like the merchant looking for fine pearls, they are those who have set out to find truth. They collect truth where and when they do find some, storing up it up as a blessing not only to themselves, but to others. To those in their circles they are distributors of truth. But when they find Jesus, they realize that all they’ve ever held precious is but junk compared to Him. Like the merchant in the pearl parable, they divest themselves of all they’ve held so dear so that they might firmly grasp the one thing of true value – a relationship with God Most High through Jesus Christ the Son. 

As a Pharisee, Paul studied the Scriptures and sought to know God. In his zeal to know God better than most, he even persecuted the church of Jesus Christ. But when He found Christ, he realized that all he had known before was less than worthwhile in comparison, writing, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…”

However we found Him, once we know Christ the real hunt is on. For now we have scratched at the value of who He is and what His Kingdom is like. Every other search is forsaken as we wholeheartedly pursue Him and His Kingdom, because nothing can compare to gaining Christ and being found in Him! Amen. 

I don’t want to leave behind a church that is content with merely half an adventure; I want to travel with a church that is daring to go for all the immeasurably more that God has shown and still will show us.

Chris Rogers

APPLICATION: Intentionality

There is always more of us to lay aside, and always more of Christ to pick up. 

Real Wealth (Matthew 13:44)

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The earlier parables (sower, weeds, mustard seed and leaven) focused on  the growth of  the kingdom of heaven. They explained how and where it was planted (sower), the challenges it faced (weeds), the tremendous fruitfulness it brings (mustard seed) and the thorough change in character it causes (leaven). As Jesus continues teaching in parables, He begins to focus on its value. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

The character in this parable finds a treasure that is of such value and such depth and vastness that they cannot simply dig up a part of it to cash in, just as no one who finds a massive gold vein just under the surface of the ground rushes to cash in the first nugget they extract. No, they first go and secure the entire field and then they begin extracting the treasure. So it is with the kingdom of heaven. To first meet Christ is to find the first nugget. But the kingdom of heaven is so much more than simple salvation. That is but the first step in an eternal walk. To miss going deeper is to miss all that God would have for us. It is like reading the Scripture for literary value and missing the revelation of God Most High. 

The great commentator Matthew Henry once wrote, “the richest mines are often in grounds that appear most barren; and therefore they will not so much as bid for the field, much less come up to the price. What is thy beloved more than another beloved? What is the Bible more than other good books? The gospel of Christ more than Plato’s philosophy, or Confucius’s morals: but those who have searched the scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life (Jn. 5:39), have discovered such a treasure in this field as makes it infinitely more valuable. […] Those who discern this treasure in the field, and value it aright, will never be easy till they have made it their own upon any terms.” 

To have the Scriptures and to know Christ is to own the field. But what real value is it if you own the field and do not dig up the treasures it contains? Our joy is not in having the field – our joy is in finding priceless truth after priceless truth – and applying them to our lives to live out the surety of God’s written Word. That is the real value. God is very real, so the truth of all He has said must be lived. Not merely read. Not merely studied. But lived out. Felt and tasted, picked up and held. This is how we acquire wealth that lasts – for wealth that is lived out is wealth realized every single day. 

Truthfully, nothing else can be held in comparison. Even physical wealth – which can afford so very much – is not worthy to be held up against it. For nothing else affords the peace and the power and the presence of the Spirit of God, who speaks all things into existence and heals every malady of the spirit, soul, mind and body. Such is our treasure. Such is afforded to us by God Himself, praise God! 

Here is the right sort of covetousness (Phil. 3:8), “That I may win Christ.” Let all our power of coveting go out after him.

Henry D.M.S. Jones

APPLICATION: Intentionality

As Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (from Matthew 6:33)

Restored (Matthew 13:43)

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Satan’s kingdom of darkness is often thought of as equal to God’s kingdom  of light. But it  is not equal in any respect. It is only a cancer that has appeared in God’s kingdom. Like a tumor in an otherwise healthy body, it must be fully removed – and like a skillful surgeon, God will do exactly that. The tumor – and all the ruinous disorder it seeks to spread – will be cast out. When that happens, the kingdom of heaven will be fully realized just as full health returns to the person who has had their tumor completely removed. For when God does the surgery, there is no trace of the disease left behind. When God brings healing, it is complete healing. It is healing unto eternal life, no matter how bleak the prognosis or dreadful the disease!

This is an oft-overlooked fact. We live in a fallen world, in fallen flesh and often with fallen thinking. But the cancer that is Satan’s dominion does not mean that the world around us is wrong in every respect. What we see may be dis-ordered and distorted, but the creation as a whole – the earth, sky, sea – and all they contain – plant, animals, fish, birds, insects and humans – are still the creation of God and meant to be a blessing. They are purposed to bring glory to God, who said, “I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

The pragmatic reality of knowing that is assurance that healing and restoration will come to the people of God, as surely as God’s Word created the earth and as surely as God’s Word declares time’s end. Not only healing and restoration for what was/is slightly wrong, but for all – even unto the resurrection of the dead and the complete removal of death, pain and sin. So it will come to pass just as Christ said, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

This is the hope of the Christian. Not just that we are forgiven – though that is wonderful – and not just that we will live forever – though that is wonderful too. But that we will be like Jesus in character. Holy, sinless and perfectly in alignment with the Father’s purpose and plan. We will be able to hear God’s voice without obstruction, know the fullness of the Spirit of God without quenching and walk in the purposes of God without stumbling. The result of that will be a life of unspeakable joy, perfect peace and overwhelming fruitfulness. Best of all, we will regularly gaze on the face of God. Just as Moses’ face shone for a season after meeting God in the tabernacle, so our whole bodies will shine. 

Our whole bodies will shine, and that with near blinding brilliance, always. 

This is the future for us. This is why we persevere through our struggles every day, and every day ask God in prayer to wash us from our sin, and daily crucify our sinful nature. This is our hope, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” 

Our ultimate destiny is not a disembodied heaven, just as the ultimate destiny of this created world is not to be thrown away, abandoned as secondary or shabby. It’s the tyrants who want to blow the world to bits. God wants to re-create it.

NT Wright


Glory to God, the day draws ever nearer when we will be fully restored! 

Mixed (Matthew 13:41-43)

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Just as Jesus had a traitor in His band of twelve, so virtually every minister  of the  Gospel has found some in their church who seem to work at cross-purposes to all they are doing. This is how it has always been. The most challenging opposition comes from within the church, not from without. That is because Satan has been in opposition to the people of God from the beginning. For at the fall of man, God cursed Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.”  Ever since then, those the devil owns (his seed) work counter to the purposes and people of God, who have been rescued from Satan’s dominion. 

To that point Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Wherever Christ “plants” true believers to bear fruit for His glory, Satan plants false Christians who oppose the work and hinder the harvest. Christians are seeds, and the kingdom of heaven is a mixture of the true seed (Christians) and the counterfeit (children of the devil).”  Warren’s point is proven in the example of the first family, where Adam and Eve’s eldest son murdered his younger brother. So the Scriptures warn us, “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.”  Cain ‘belonged to the evil one’ because he listened to the evil one and so came to belong to Satan through unrighteous thought and action. Abel and Cain and Seth were all sons of Adam, born after the fall. As such, they had a sinful bent, but also had the opportunity to repent and turn toward God. Abel did so, and Seth did so. But although God spoke to Cain and warned him about giving in to his unrighteous anger, the Word records, “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”  So it came to pass that brother killed brother. 

This same principle is still at work today. The seeds of the evil one are the lies that he plants in your mind. Those who choose to believe those lies come to own the action that belief bears, just as those who choose to believe God come to own the action that their belief bears. Each bears its own fruit, and they grow together. But they will not grow together forever. As Jesus said in explaining the parable of the weeds, “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” 

The growing season may seem long, but the harvest is quick and permanent. The day will come when the full harvest is ready, and on that day those who have chosen to belong to the evil one will be rooted out and destroyed. 

From that point on, those who belong to the evil one will never again bother the people of God or hinder the purposes of God. Their destiny is one of pain and limitation. Ours, the complete opposite! 

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

John the Baptist (from Matthew 3:10)

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Every natural forest has within it trees that are good for all manner of quality craftsmanship, and also trees that are just using up the soil. Both enjoy the rain and sun God sends – until the harvester appears!

Firewood (Matthew 13:37-43)

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The disciples want to know what Jesus meant by the parable of the weeds. Wisely, they   flat out ask Him. Jesus’ response tells us this parable is much deeper than we might have thought. He begins by giving us the keys to its interpretation; “He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.”” 

The keys tell us how the parable works as metaphor. But they do not tell us what it means as a whole. Yet even the very difficult parts of Scripture are meant to be understood. The Scripture is not given to us that we might be confused or distressed or merely speculate on its full meaning. The Scripture is given to humankind so that we might apply it. God means for us to understand Him, and when we ask about His Word, He makes understanding possible. 

In this case, the enigma of the parable requires divine interpretation. To the disciples’ blessing (and to ours), Jesus continues with His explanation; “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

From His opening message about repentance, Jesus has had the coming kingdom of heaven and the end of the ages in mind (Matt 4:17, 5:3-12). He has spoken openly about the kingdom of heaven and how it is dawning on creation (Matt 5:19-20). He has told people to anticipate it (Matt 6:19-20). He has warned people to get ready for it (Matt 7:13-14). He has told them how to get ready for it (Matt 7:24-27). He has trained them to participate in it (Matt 10:7-42). He pronounced woes on cities that did not repent (Matt 11:21-24) so that they might be ready for it. He has appealed to people’s common sense about it (Matt 11:28-30). He has spoken openly about the demonic kingdom currently in place (Matt 12:26-32) and prophesied about the consequences of the heavenly kingdom’s appearing (Matt 12:41-42).

It is no surprise then, that when Jesus begins teaching in parables He continues to speak about the coming kingdom. To those who’d rather just get on with their lives and not be bothered with such, He speaks only riddles. But to those who truly want to know God and prepare for the coming kingdom, He gives understanding. 

That is because God is continuing to bring history to a conclusion. Every single day we draw another 24hours closer to that inevitable conclusion. For the willfully ignorant, that conclusion will be a terrifying and horrific beginning to untold suffering. For the obedient, that conclusion will be a wonderful and glorious beginning to untold blessing. 

Which it is for us is entirely our own choice.

We, as humanity, chose our fate when we went against God’s will that first time and every time since.

John D. Barry and Rebecca Van Noord

APPLICATION: Intentionality

To be Christlike is to likewise pursue the repentance of all around us.

Mysteries (Matthew 13:36)

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Earlier, Jesus went out of the house He was staying at and sat by the lake.  There, Jesus  told the crowd a series of parables describing the kingdom of heaven: A parable about a sower, a parable about weeds, a parable about a mustard seed and a parable about leaven. “Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”” 

Parables have many forms. In the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven, Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to two common things that everyone knew about. Plants and leaven do what they do largely unnoticed, growing silently and steadily. As a straightforward metaphor, these parables can be understood by simply musing on the characteristics and action of the subject. There is a lot in that to learn, because these are not mere parables, but divine parables. They come from God Himself. So they can teach us much, even if they are relatively simple.

Other parables – like the parable of the sower and the parable of the weeds – are much more than straightforward metaphor. They involve a person, and a person is much more than a sum of characteristics or bundled capacity for action. A person always has intention, and motive is something you cannot impute. 

There are only two ways to truly know the intention of a person. They can tell you, or God can tell you. To do anything else is to assume their intention, which will likely result in some degree of misstep, if not full out error. Additionally, both the parable of the sower and the parable of the weeds involve much more than a single item. To that point the disciples must be given credit, because they ask Christ to explain the parables in both accounts. 

Jesus had explained the parable of the sower to the disciples during a natural pause in His teaching earlier. The disciples now ask to understand the parable of the weeds. That parable had a sower (or owner of the field), a field, good seed, weeds, an enemy, a harvest and harvesters. 

It is tempting to conclude that the one sowing the seed is a human missionary or evangelist. After all, that is how the parable of the sower was interpreted. Or to consider that weeds in the parable stand for the difficulties and cares of life – as in the previous parable. Or to think that the harvest is an individual salvation, or that the harvesters are pastors or others who lead people to Christ. But all these things are human conclusions – they are our own interpretation of the Word of God based on what we’ve read to date. To jump to our own conclusions is to defer to our frame of reference (past history), which colors how we see and understand all we take in.

But the best interpretation of Scripture does not come from our own frame of reference. It was God’s Word, not ours. So without exception, the best thing to do is ask God about it. 

The true wisdom for which we have to ask God does not consist in manifold and great knowledge, but in that which enables us to discern between good and bad, right and wrong, sin and duty, truth and falsehood, so as not to be misled in judging either of other’s actions or of our own

George Barlow

APPLICATION: Intentionality

It is common human behaviour to jump to conclusions. It is holy behaviour to pause and seek God’s input first. 

You Are Here (Matthew 13:35)

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Throughout his Gospel, Matthew has explained how Jesus was fulfilling prophesy. In 1:22
Matthew wrote, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet,” and then referenced Isaiah 7:14. In 2:15 Matthew referenced Hosea. In 2:17 he referenced Jeremiah. In 2:23, unnamed prophets. In 4:14, 8:17, 12:17 and 13:14 he again references Jesus fulfilling things Isaiah had said. Now in chapter 13 verse 35, Matthew once again notes how Jesus is fulfilling prophesy, “So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”” This is a direct reference to Psalm 78:2, where David wrote, “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old.”

Sometimes we forget that prophesy eventually comes to pass. It is true of course that all prophesy may see echoes of fulfillment. They can appear from the moment it is spoken, and they can reappear as waves of fulfillment over time. So when we read of Daniel writing about “a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then,” we can remember how the Jews were subsequently greatly distressed during the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. We can remember how the whole world was greatly distressed in both WWI and WWII. But such times are not the final fulfillment of Daniel’s prophesy. They are only echoes. The final and full fulfillment of that Word is yet to pass. We can know that because when God’s Word is fulfilled, God’s Himself notes that it is so.

We see this over and over in Scripture. When Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel,” he himself would’ve thought it was referring to his own son, who clearly fulfilled in part what Isaiah was writing about at the time (see Isaiah 7:14-16, 8:3-4). But it was not totally fulfilled till Matthew writes, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”” Likewise, Hosea wrote, “out of Egypt I called my son,” primarily (at the time) meaning the Jewish nation. But Matthew subsequently writes of Christ, “so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.””

The final and full fulfillment of prophesy is always both exacting to the literal meaning of the written words, and recorded as fulfilled by God Himself. That record might not be written immediately, just as Matthew’s Gospel was not written the moment Christ was born. But it will be recorded all the same, for God declares both the end and the beginning. As Isaiah 46 records, “I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning.”

So let it be. Amen.

It is not our responsibility to control our circumstances; it’s God’s.

Micca Campbell


At a certain point the decision to act for God’s glory must be taken. The thinking about it, the praying about it and the planning in our minds must bear the fruit of action, or we willing waste all of it.