Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mt 13:24-46 for Jan 20

The New Testament passage of the One Year Bible for today has five parables, one explained, and an explanation of the scope of the use of parables to "the crowds" (13:34).

In the previous day's parable, the lesson described the receiving of seed by an individual; here, there is first of all a wide-angle view of a whole field (13:24). What is the field (13:38), what has its owner done (13:24)? What else was done in the field, by whom and to what effect (13:25)? The first parable was a close-up on soils, four different kinds; the second parable is about seeds, two different kinds: "sons of the kingdom" and "sons of the evil one" (13:38). The first parable invites the listener to compare soils, and the second invites the listener to understand what has already been sown in the world, and refrain from a full weed-out (13:28), because going through everything is risky to the good plants (13:29); plus, reaping is for reapers, and for later (13:30).

Soils and seeds; mustard seed and leaven; treasure and pearl. Three groups of two related parables. Just as the first (from yesterday) was a close-up on soils, the second (from today) is a panorama on the whole field; the third is a panorama (13:32) of a spacious tree, and the fourth a close-up on what is hidden (13:44). This chiasm makes things easy to remember. In the last two parables, the alternation continues, from what is hidden (13:44) to what is purchased openly (13:46).

All the parables mark the importance of the passage of time. Enough time, and we see what different soils produce, what different sons produce, what the small beginning of the kingdom produces, and what properly fills the time after the kingdom has been found.

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