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Why Do You Talk Like That?

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Matt 13:10-17

SBS: Don’t forget about the change at the end of the month.  The choir is excited.  They put in a lot of time here on Sundays.  They have to get here early, they have to stay here late, they have to listen to the sermon twice and try not to fall asleep.

Prayer

WHY DO YOU TALK LIKE THAT?

There are books called “Difficult Sayings of Jesus” or Difficult sayings in the Gospels; today’s passage is in almost every one of these books.  At first glance you might not see why it is so difficult, but if you look at it carefully you will see why this is so tough.

Jesus almost seems to say here that he says some things in parables because he does not want some people to understand them, he does not want some people to penetrate the mystery of the gospel.

Can this be true?  Can it be that Jesus didn’t want some people to understand the gospel?  Why is it that Jesus would say such a thing?  Why would he talk like that?  Don’t we want to make the gospel as clear as we possibly can?  Why then would Jesus give us an example in which he seems to make it purposely obscure?

EVERY PERSON HERE TODAY SHOULD KNOW WHY JESUS USES PARABLES WHEN HE SPEAKS?

  1. JESUS USES PARABLES TO FULLFILL SCRIPTURE (ISA. 6)
    1. Isaiah was called by God to go and speak to the children of Israel.
    2. He was called at a bad time-death of a king
    3. He was called to a bad job-no one is going to listen, it is because of Isaiah’s preaching that the hearts would harden.  Yet Isaiah went on and preached because that was his call. NEVER JUDGE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR MINISTRY BY THE NUMBERS, JUDGE IT BY THE FAITHFULNESS TO GOD’S CALL.  TOM CARSON
  2. JESUS USES PARABLES TO OBSCURE THE MYSTERY FROM THOSE WHO ARE NOT A PART OF GOD’S KINGDOM.  New Testament Scholars become mass murderers when it comes to the kingdom.
    1. This seems almost unbelievable to us.-What is the Kingdom? Here, but not fully or no root canal.
    2. I can tell you that there are some people that I would like to do this to.  Those people who show up on Easter with the boat hooked up to the back of the car and the deck shoes on and say “can you make that little talk of yours quick this morning, the tide is coming in early.”  I want to say YOU DON’T DESERVE TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.  But only God deserves to make that decision.  I try to make it as clear as I can.
    3. What is the mystery in the Bible? Only used here by Jesus.  I had a whole Ph.D. Seminar on it in Chicago.
  3. JESUS USES PARABLES TO MAKE THE KINGDOM CLEAR TO THOSE WHO ARE ITS MEMBERS.
    1. We are the ones who come to realize that the mystery is that God becomes man and pays the price for our sin.  We come to realize that our lives are getting better and better, even though it may not seem like it.
    2. This is something that we could never figure out on our own.  It is the greatest news ever offered.

One of the great heartbreaks of the 1988 winter Olympics was the story of speed skater Dan Jansen.  Just hours before his race he received notice that his sister, who had been battling leukemia for more than a year, had just died.  Bearing the weight of this sorrow, Dan laced on his skates to race for his sister.  When the gun sounded, he sprinted from the starting line, only to slip and fall in the first turn.  Four days later in the 1,000 meter race he fell again.  The whole USA mourned with him. 

Many Americans sent Dan letters of consolation.  According to Sport’s illustrated, not long after returning home, Jansen received a wrinkled up envelope with his name scrawled on it and the address barely legible. Inside was a letter from Mark Arrowood, a mentally challenged thirty year old from Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  Mark wrote this:

Dear Dan, I watched you on TV.  I’m sorry that you fell 2 times.  I am in Special Olympics.  I won a gold medal at Pa. State Summer Olympics right after my dad died seven years ago . . . Before we start the games we have a saying that goes like this: “Let me win, but if I can’t win let me be brave in the attempt.” . . . I want to share one of my gold medals with you because I don’t like to see you not get one.  Try again in four more years.

Inside the envelope, Dan Jansen found a gold medal that Mark had won in a track and field event.

Jesus tells us these stories so that we will know, that despite the fact that we have fallen down we can have his medal, his merit, his righteousness.  That’s the good news, the mystery that seems too good to be true, the story upon which all happy endings are based.

When Picasso was a young artist and painting realism he once was asked to paint a portrait of Gertrude Stein.  He painted her as an old lady.  She saw that and said “that is not how I look!  Picasso answered and said, “No, but one day you will.”  That is the news of the kingdom, that wrapped up in the wrinkled envelpopes sitting around us,  the God of the universe gives us his gold medal.

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