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Jesus - A blending of the New Testament - Ch. 11 - Parables on the Kingdom
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A series of parables on the kingdom  -  Jesus explains his use of parables  -  the parables of the buried treasure, the superlative pearl and the fishermen and their catch  -  Jesus calms the sea  -  a madman is healed in Gerasa - Jairus' daughter is healed - a woman is healed of a hemorrhage  -  two blind men are healed.


He left the house and went to the seashore. The crowd that followed was so large that, in order to teach, he was forced once again to climb aboard a boat and sit in it just offshore. From there, he told a series of parables.

"Here is a man out sowing seed. Some of the seed falls on the road. Passers-by trample some of it into the dust and the birds eat the rest. Some of the seed falls on a gravel patch. It sprouts quickly but when the hot sun comes it withers and dies just as quickly because it wasn't deeply rooted. Some of the seed falls among weeds. It grows, but the weeds grow more quickly and choke it out. Some of the seed falls on fertile soil and brings a great yield, anywhere from thirty to one hundred times the amount sown."

Then he added, "If you have ears, hear."

Later, when they were alone, the disciples asked him why he taught through parables.

"I'll tell you why," he said. "You've been permitted to understand something of the mysteries of the kingdom of God but others haven't. In the same way, the man who has something is given more, much more, while the man who has nothing has even that nothing taken away. I use parables so that my enemies will think they're getting the point when they really aren't. You see, they are the embodiment of the people Isaiah wrote about:

Hear they may, but understand, never.
See they may, but never perceive.
For their hearts have grown fat
And their hearing has grown dull
And their eyes have grown heavy
Lest, perchance, they should perceive,
And hear, and understand,
And return to me and be healed.

"You're fortunate," he said, "because you are able to perceive and to understand. Believe me, many of the prophets and many godly men longed to see and hear what you've seen and heard, but never had the chance.

"Now, as to the parable: If you didn't grasp its meaning how are you ever going to understand those to come? The seed itself is God's word. The seed that fell on the road may be compared to those people who hear the word but have is snatched from them by the devil before they can accept it and be saved. The seed that fell on the gravel patch is like those people who hear the word and immediately and happily accept it. But, because they're shallow, they can’t endure temptation or trouble or persecution and they fade away. The seed that fell among the weeds is like those people who hear the word, but the problems of daily life, the illusory promises of wealth, or the desire for material things crowd in and slowly choke out their life. The seed sown on fertile soil, however, is like those people who hear the word and understand it and work patiently to produce a bountiful harvest - anywhere from thirty to a hundred times what was sown."

He went on. "No one turns on a lamp only to cover it or put it under a bed: you put it on a table so that it may light the room. Nor am I hiding anything that won't someday be uncovered or keeping any secrets that won't be told. If you have ears, hear.

"See to it that you pay careful attention, because the care with which you listen will determine what you'll be told, and even more. The man with something will be given more, while the man with nothing is going to lose even that nothing."

He continued to teach through a series of parables.

"The kingdom of heaven could be compared to a man who plants some seed. It grows, developing from the first tiny sprout to the full-grown plant. He may not understand how it all happens but that doesn't stop him from harvesting the crop when it's ripe.

"Or, you might think of the kingdom of heaven in this way: A man plants a field of wheat. Under cover of darkness an enemy scatters weed-seeds in the same soil. The grain sprouts but so do the weeds. His hired hands ask him, 'Wasn't that good seed you planted?' 'Yes, it was,' he says. 'Then why the weeds?' 'An enemy of mine sowed them.' 'Do you want us to pull the weeds?' 'No, you might uproot the wheat while you're at it. We'll wait. At harvest time we'll pull the weeds, tie them in bundles and burn them. Then we'll harvest the wheat and store it in the barn.'

"Or, you may compare the kingdom of heaven to a single mustard seed. The mustard plant has one of the smallest of all seeds but when the plant is fully grown it is larger than even the herbs; large enough for birds to perch on or to sit in its shade.

"Or, you might compare the kingdom of heaven to making bread. A woman takes a bit of yeast and puts it in three measures of flour, and after a while the yeast has permeated all of it."

He told the crowd many more parables-indeed he said nothing that wasn't in the form of a parable, thus fulfilling the prediction :

I will speak in parables.
I will reveal mysteries
Hidden from the dawn of time.

"This is what the kingdom of heaven is like." he continued. "It's like a-man who stumbles on a buried treasure in a field. What does he do? He buries it again and goes and sells everything he owns and buys the field.

"Or the kingdom of heaven is like a man who has spent his life buying and selling pearls. One day he comes on the perfect pearl. What does he do? He sells everything he owns and buys it.

"Or the kingdom of heaven is like this: A fisherman casts a dragnet in the sea. When is like hauled up on the shore it contains a variety of fish. The fishermen sit down and separate the edible fish into containers and throw the other away. That's what will be like at the end of time: the angels will separate the evil from the good and throw them into the blazing furnace. And oh, the anguish of that day!" Later, in the house, the disciples asked him to explain the story of the wheat field and the weeds.

"I'm the one who plants the wheat," he told them. "The wheat symbolizes the children of the kingdom. The weeds correspond to the children of the devil, and the enemy who came in the night is the devil himself. The harvest is the end of time. The hired hands are angels. I spoke of the weeds being gathered and burned; that's the way it's going to be at the end of time. I'll send out the angels and they'll gather up everything that works against the well-being of the kingdom - as well as every wrongdoer - and throw it all in the blazing furnace. Oh the anguish of that time! And, at that same time, the good will shine as the sun in their Father's kingdom.

"Have you understood me?" he asked the disciples.

"Yes, we have."

"Then you have some idea of what it's like for the man who had an understanding of the Law before becoming a disciple; he's like a fellow who not only has valuable antiques in his home but new things as well.

"If you have ears, hear."

That evening the crowds pressed on him again. He instructed the disciples to arrange for a boat. "We're going to cross to the other side of the lake." he told them.

They went aboard and set sail. Other boats followed. Jesus was in the stern on a cushion. After a while he fell asleep. A storm came up and the waves began to break over the gunwales and fill the boat and they were in danger of foundering. The disciples came and shook Jesus into wakefulness.

"Master," they shouted, "we're going to drown! Don't you care? Save us!"

He looked at them. "Why are you afraid?" he said. "Haven't you learned to trust yet?"

He stood up in the boat and said to the wind, "Peace," and to the water, "Be still!" And there was a great calm.

The disciples were trembling with fear and astonishment.

"Who is this?" they said to each other. "He even controls the elements."

As they approached the coastline of Gerasa they were watched by a man,5 naked and filthy and covered with scabs. The man was demon-possessed and filled with a fierce madness. Often, the people of the nearby village had tried to hold him captive, hobbling and handcuffing him with cords and chains, but each time he broke free. No one in the town had the strength to cope with him. He lived on the outskirts in the area of the tombs, terrorizing passersby. Night and day his screams could be heard and often in his madness he wounded himself with sharp stones.

As Jesus stepped ashore, the man ran to him and fell to the ground at his feet.

"Come out of that man, you filthy devil!" Jesus cried.

"What have I to do with you, Jesus, son of the Most High?" the devil screamed. "In the name of God don't torture me before my time!"

"What's your name?"

"My name is Legion - there are so many of us." He pleaded with Jesus not to consign them to the bottomless pit.

On the hillside, nearby, there was a large herd of pigs, rooting. "If you're going to drive us out," the devils begged, "let us go into them."

"Then, go!"

The devils left the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd stampeded down a steep slope into the lake and were drowned. The herdsmen ran to the town and told everyone what had happened. The townspeople hurried out to see Jesus. There, seated on the ground at his feet was the wild man, clothed and sane. The townspeople were frightened and begged Jesus to leave.

He turned and went abroad the boat. As he did, the man who had been healed asked if he might go along. "No," Jesus said, "I want you to go home to your family and your friends and tell them the great thing God has done for you."

The man returned to his former home in Decapolis, and the people to whom he told the story were astounded.

When Jesus and the disciples returned to the other side of the lake, the crowd was still there waiting. While he was on the beach teaching, a man by the name of Jairus, one of the presidents of the synagogue, came and knelt down in front of him.

"My little girl, my only daughter is dying," he said, his voice filled with pleading. "Please come with me and lay your hands on her. Don't let her die. She's only twelve."

Jesus and the disciples went with him and the crowd followed along, jostling and shoving. In the crowd there was a woman who for twelve years had been suffering from a constant hemorrhage. She had been to every doctor she could find and had spent every cent she owned but her condition was, if anything, worse. She had heard about Jesus and had come to believe that if she could merely touch his robe she would be healed. She worked her way through the crowd until she was behind him. Then she reached out and touched him. Immediately, the hemorrhage stopped and she knew she was healed.

Jesus halted and turned around. "Who touched me?" he said.

Denials from all around: "Not me." "I didn't

Peter said to him. "But, Teacher, why do you ask such a question? The crowd is all around, bumping into you, crushing you."

"But someone touched me," he said. "I felt power go from me."

The woman, realizing that there was no way she could escape, came forward trembling and collapsed at his feet. She poured out her story and told him that she had been immediately healed.

"Cheer up, daughter," Jesus said to her. "Your faith has done it. Peace."

As he was speaking, messengers came from Jairus' home. "Your daughter is dead," they told him. "There's no need to trouble the teacher any further."

Jesus disregarded their words. "Don't worry," he said to Jairus. "Just trust. She'll be fine."

When they arrived at Jairus' home, they found chaos. Outside of the house and within, people were wailing, fluteplayers were piping dirges, and the air was filled with sound.

"Why all this racket and this wailing? Jesus said. "Let me through. The child isn't dead; she's just asleep."

They laughed at him scornfully. They knew she was dead.

He went into the house, taking Peter, John, and James with him, and put everyone out except for Jairus and his wife. He led them into the room where the girl lay and took her by the hand.

"Get up, little girl," he said.

Life flowed back into her body, and she got up and walked about the room. Her parents were ecstatic. Jesus spoken to them quite sternly, telling them to recount to no one what had happened. Then, as he turned to go, he said, "Give her something to eat."

As Jesus left the house two blind men fell in behind him, shouting, "Mercy, son of David! Have mercy on us!" They followed him all the way home, even into the house.

"Do you believe I can do what you ask?" he said to them.

"Yes, sir."

He touched their eyes." Receive then as you believe," he said, and their sight was restored. He spoke to them sternly, warning them to tell nobody what had happened, but they were no sooner out of the house than they told everyone they met.

(5)   In the gospel according to Matthew, two men are healed.
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