ANGLIA GOOD NEWS!

‘A picture is worth a thousand words...’

Jesus was a marvellous artist, not with watercolours, pastels or acrylics, but with words.   He told ‘parables’, using everyday scenes and familiar situations to paint pictures in the minds of his listeners, pictures which even today have a powerful impact

First and foremost Jesus used parables to spread the Good News, or Gospel, of the Kingdom of God, and the need for repentance:

“...Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, ’The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand.   Repent and believe in the Gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)

In this issue of our newsletter we will look at some of the parables Jesus told about the Kingdom.

Hidden treasure and a pearl of great price

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Jesus said: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like...’ a man discovering  ‘treasure trove.’   In a country ravaged by war this could well have been valuables hidden away at a time of conflict, in the hope of being able to recover them when war was done.   The discoverer was so delighted that he went and sold everything in order to buy the field and thus claim the treasure.  (Matthew 14:44)

Again, Jesus said: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like...’ a merchant seeking beautiful pearls.   No doubt this man was an expert and would be quick to recognise the difference between cheap paste and the real thing.   On this occasion he found a pearl of such great value that he was prepared to sell everything in order to buy it. (Matthew 13:45-46)

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These two parables teach us about the great value of the coming Kingdom of God.   The Kingdom is more valuable than anything else in our lives, and worth giving up everything we have to be sure of a place when Jesus returns to establish it.

A great wedding feast

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In New Testament times weddings were times of great rejoicing and celebration, extending over several days.   In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), five were wise and took oil for their lamps and five took no oil as they went out to meet the bridegroom.   When the bridegroom was delayed they all slumbered, until at midnight came the cry, but sadly only those with oil in their lamps were admitted to the wedding feast.   Jesus thus teaches the importance of watching and being ready for him:

“Watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour in the which the Son of man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13)

The parable of the pounds

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The disciples hoped the Kingdom would be established there and then, with Jesus overthrowing the hated rule of the Romans in the land of promise.   But a recurring theme in Jesus’s teaching was that the Kingdom was not to be established in that age.   He told the parable of the pounds with this specifically in mind:

“...because he was near Jerusalem and because they thought the Kingdom of God would appear immediately.” (Luke 19:11)

In this parable a nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.   He called ten of his servants and gave each of them a pound with the instruction to put the money to good use until his return.   When the nobleman returned he called his servants to account and rewarded them according to how they had looked after his interests (Luke 19:11-27).   So we learn from this that we have to be faithful stewards, and to wait patiently for his return.

The earth shall be full of the glory of the Lord!

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The second coming of Jesus cannot be in doubt.   In his absence we must be faithful disciples, watching and waiting for his return.   The great treasure in store when he comes is the reward of a place in His glorious Kingdom.

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

 

 

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