John T. Willis

Monday, October 03, 2016

The Biblical Teaching of Disciples--6

It is not absolutely clear WHERE Jesus was in connection with the events described in Matthew 12. He may have been a Capernaum [see Matthew 11:23], but this is uncertain, although at this juncture, Jesus was in someone's house. At any rate, Jesus was surrounded by crowds of people, apparently because of the miracles he had performed and because of his teachings. Matthew 12:46-50 relates this account:
       While he [Jesus] was still speaking to the crowds,
        his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him.
        Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak
                                                   to you."
    But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are by brothers?"
    "Here are my mother and brothers!
     For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
     a. In this context, Jesus' disciples were a large number of people who were following him, not merely The Twelve.
     b. Obviously, Jesus' disciples are MALE and FEMALE, not merely male. Jesus does not hesitate to refer to his "disciples" as sister and mother.
     c. Here the relationships of mother, brother, and sister are not physical relatives, but spiritual relatives, all rooted in whether a person DOES THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER. There is a huge difference between knowing and accepting the will of God and actually DOING the will of God. A true disciple of Jesus is a follower of Jesus who does the will of Jesus' Heavenly Father. Thus, God's commandments are central for Christian living.

Matthew 13 contains a series of Jesus' Parables: The Parable of the Sower; the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat; the Parable of the Mustard Seed; the Parable of a Treasure hidden in a field; the Parable of a pearl of great value; and the Parable of a net thrown into the sea to catch fish. First Jesus gives the Parable of the Sower. Then Matthew 13:10-17 says:
      "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
      He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,
                               but to them it has not been given.
      For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance;
      but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
      The reason is speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive,
                               and hearing they do no listen, nor do they understand.'
      With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
              'You will indeed listen, but never understand,
                     and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
               For this people's heart has grown dull,
                     and their ears are hard of hearing,
                     and they have shut their eyes;
                     so that they might look with their eyes,
               and listen with their ears,
        and understand with their heart and turn--
               and I would heal them.' [Quoting Isaiah 6:9-10].
        But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
     Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it,
     and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
     a. Again, the disciples of Jesus intended here are a large group of followers of Jesus, not merely The Twelve. True disciples of Jesus follow Jesus and pay careful attention to his example and his teachings.
     b. Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables to keep the crowds from understanding the meaning of the parables and to reveal the meaning of his true disciples to understand their meaning. Today, true disciples study Jesus' parables very carefully and do what the heavenly Father tells them to do.
     c. The original context of Isaiah 6:9-10 was obviously not addressed to or intended for the crowds around Jesus in the first century AD [CE], but for the Judeans whom Isaiah addressed in the eighth century BC [BCE]. Matthew uses this passage in Isaiah 6:9-10 typologically, not literally. There is a striking parallel between Isaiah's message to his audience and Jesus' message to his audience.

Share YOUR research and understandings and feelings and thoughts and reserves with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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