To Be Like Yeshua Means – To Understand the Parables of the Kingdom
In my last post, we completed Yeshua’s teaching in parables. In this post, we look at His concern about if His talmidim understood them. of the Kingdom. Understanding also involves responsibility.
“’Have you understood all these things?’ ‘Yes,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘So then, every Torah-teacher who has been made into a talmid for the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a home who brings out of his storage room both new things and old.’” ~ Matthew 13:51-52
After Yeshua had given the parable of the weeds in the field, the talmidim came asking Yeshua to explain what He had told them (Matthew 13:36). They did not understand. After giving an explanation, Yeshua asked if they understood. They answered “Yes.”
Understanding is the core of discipleship, for only Yeshua’s true followers are given the ability to understand, as Yeshua had explained earlier (Matthew 13:13-15, 19, 23). Because the talmidim understood, so then, Yeshua said, they were the Torah-teachers in His Kingdom. In other words, the current teachers of religious law did not understand, so their teaching was invalid. The talmidim had been made into a talmid for the Kingdom of Heaven. They understood God’s real purpose in the law as revealed in the Tanakh; therefore, they had a real treasure.
The talmidim would bring this treasure out of his storage room in that their responsibility would be to share what they had learned with others. The talmidim had gained this treasure through Yeshua’s instruction, so they were able to understand and use the best of older wisdom as well as the new insights that Yeshua brought to them. True teachers see the value of both old and new. The Tanakh points the way to Yeshua, the Messiah. Yeshua always upheld the authority and relevance of the Scriptures. Those who understand Yeshua’s teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven receive a double benefit. This was a new treasure that Yeshua was revealing. Both the old and new teachings give practical guidelines for faith and for living in the world. The religious leaders, however, were trapped in the old and blind to the new. They were looking for a future kingdom preceded by judgment. Yeshua, however, taught that the Kingdom was now and the judgment was future. The religious leaders were looking for a physical and temporal kingdom (brought on by military strength and physical rule), but they were blind to the spiritual significance of the kingdom that Yeshua had brought.
Yeshua wants us to understand God’s truth, and that is not easily or quickly done. Learning about God’s truth in all its richness and diversity is a lifelong process.
The Lord Added These Final Two Verses to Remind Us of Our Responsibilities
Some of us must be scribes who discover the truth. The scribes began as a noble group under the leadership of Ezra. Their purpose was to preserve the Law, study it, and apply its truths to daily life. Over the years, their noble cause degenerated into a routine task of preserving traditions and man-made interpretations, and adding burdens to the lives of the people (Luke 11:46-52). They were so wrapped up in the past that they ignored the present! Instead of sharing living truth from God’s Word, they merchandised dead doctrines and embalmed traditions that could not help the people.
As Believers, we do not search after truth, because we have truth in God’s Son (John 14:6) and God’s Word (John 17:17). We are taught by the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13) who is truth (1 John 5:6). We search into truth that we might discover more truth. We are scribes – students – who sit at the feet of Yeshua and listen to His words. One joy of the Believer’s life is the privilege of learning God’s truth from God’s Word. But we must not stop there.
We must be talmidim who do the truth. The scribe emphasizes learning, but the talmid emphasizes living. Talmidim are doers of the Word (James 1:22ff), and they learn by doing. It is difficult to keep our lives balanced. We often emphasize learning at the expense of living. Or, we may get so busy serving God that we do not take time to listen to His Word. Every scribe must be a talmid, and every talmid must be a scribe.
We must also be stewards who dispense the truth. The scribes preserved the Law but did not invest it in the lives of the people. The treasure of the Law was encrusted by man’s traditions. The seed was not planted so it could bear fruit. The spiritual gold and silver was not put to work so it could produce dividends. As Believers we should be conservative but not preservative. The steward guards the treasure, but he also dispenses it as it is needed. He dispenses both the old and the new. New principles and insights are based on old truths. The new cannot contradict the old because the old comes out of the new (Leviticus 26:10). The new without the old is mere novelty and will not last. But the old does no good unless it is given new applications in life today.
Did you ever imagine that learning is also a way to serve God? Let your life be full of inquiry, and let each step you take be a means of deepening your faith and love for God.
In my next post, we will begin to look at some instructions on being a Messianic community that Yeshua gave to His talmidim in chapter 18 of Matthew.