The seven parables of the kingdom in this, Jesus’ third discourse in the Gospel of Matthew, have taught us what the inaugurated kingdom of heaven in this present world is like, while at the same time directing us to a future kingdom. In each of these parables Jesus is bringing forth a new and relevant teaching grounded in an old concept. He is illustrating what He taught in precept in the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard it said, but I say unto you.” Jesus is the church’s one curriculum, but He is taught in the shadows of the Old Testament and revealed in the light of the New; however, both are needed to gain a full understanding of His person and work. (See Matthew 13:51-53).
Next Sunday we will study the final three parables of chapter 13, which we will discover are all related. The treasure parables (13:44-46) set our gaze upon Jesus Christ as the “Pearl of Great Price” – the kingdom’s treasure – who motivates us to leave everything of earth behind in order to embrace and follow Him. The net parable (13:47-50) is a sober reminder that not everyone will see the value of the Pearl and preferring the treasure of earth, in the end will receive the judgment that their selfish evil life acquired for them.
All seven parables help us to know specifically what we are to pray for when we pray “Your kingdom come.” The parable of the sower leads us to pray for the Word to be sown in fertile hearts all over the world. The parable of the weeds directs us to pray for the perseverance of God’s people living in an ungodly and evil world. The little seed parables turn us to pray for those small gospel efforts that we know will produce great fruit. The treasure parables directs our gaze upon the unsurpassing value of knowing Christ and how the joy we have in His grace leads us to the abandonment of all else; and finally the net parable focuses us on the seriousness of a future judgment. When the Lord instructed us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come,” He is directing us to pray for all of these kingdom realities to be manifested in the world now, and in the eternal future.