Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

This passage occurs in the Revised Common Lectionary, year A, most recently July 2017

Rather than offer a summary of these parables, I will offer a word or two comment on each parable.  Hopefully this can offer a connection to a parable for you

Parable of the mustard seed
παραθηκεν ("put before", 13:31)  Jesus does not tell them parables, he puts them before his disciples.  A reminder that we are invited to consider their meaning.

βασιλεια των ουρανων ("kingdom of heaven", 31)  A reminder that Matthew Gospel does not discuss the Kingdom of God, but rather the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is in contrast to the other writers of the new Testament.  Perhaps Matthew's Jewish roots made him uncomfortable using the word God?

λαχανων (-ον, "shrub/herb", 32) The word for tree/plant here signifies an edible plant.  A reminder that the mustard seed is intended for consumption by another, just like our lives.  While I am on the mustard seed...interesting the mustard seed was used to make chemical weapons in world war I.  Also used to make the first chemotherapy drugs.  A reminder that all things can be used for God's purposes.  Or not.

κατασκηνουν (-οω, "live in tent", 32)  John's Gospel tells us that Jesus "dwelt"/"tented" among us (same word.)  Is Jesus like one of the birds that dwells in the tree?  I don't think so, but hey, its a parable and always fun to ask the question:  Where is Jesus in this parable?

Parable of the kneading woman
ενεκρυψεν (literally and in meaning "encrypted", 33)  The kingdom is somehow hidden -- literally encrypted -- into this world.  I appreciate that this is a feminine protagonist!


Parable of the field and treasure
αγοραζει ("agorize" meaning "to buy or sell", 13:44;46)  Interesting economic metaphor.  If Christ is the one who finds us, the pearl, then Christ is the one who sells all that he has to buy us.  This is pretty way (the only way??) to use the buy/sell metaphor common in Christian soteriology.

μαργαριτας ("margarita" meaning "pearl", 45)  Just wanted to everyone to know the word for pearl is margarita.  The Kingdom of God is like a margarita :-)

ευρων (from ευρισκω meaning "find", 44; 46)  A reminder that there a many lost and found parables in the Bible!

Parable of the net
γενους (literally genous, meaning "type" or "species"; 47)  This word can even mean peoples or races.  The net is intended for all people!!  (Not just fish!)

συναγαγουση (from συναγω meaning "gather", 47)  The purpose of the net is to gather all people together.  The word literally means synagogue.  The net is to bring us all into the same synagogue...

συντελεια (meaning "completion", 48)  I have no idea why Christians don't call it the fullness of all time instead of the end of time.  The word is completion and fullness, not termination!

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