This passage introduces us to one of Jesus’ favorite ways of teaching: parables. (Matthew 13:34-35)
Parables are stories about everyday life that have a greater spiritual meaning. Because Jesus chose to teach in this way, his parables have a timeless quality that helps his word come alive.
Before we get to the parables, let’s tackle the “If anyone” standard that these parables illuminate. You might need to reread verses 25-27 or maybe you already reread those verses because at first glance it sounds like Jesus is telling us to hate our families!
What’s going on here? Jesus was perfect, so he didn’t accidentally use the word hate. He’s using hyperbole (grand exaggeration to make a shocking point). He’s saying that if anyone wants to follow him (universal standard!) that person needs to love Jesus WAY MORE than anyone or anything, including themselves.
The result is actually that we end up loving all of the people in our lives and ourselves even more. Whenever we put other passions close to our love for Christ (who loved us enough to die for us) our love gets warped and we end up loving less or not at all.
To cap off this If Anyone statement, Jesus repeats that we must carry our crosses and follow him. That must be really important!
Now on to the parables: Use your Field Notes to answer these questions and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to unlock the meaning behind these stories.
If we were talking about worldly kings, unconditional surrender is a very scary prospect. But we’re talking about King Jesus so surrendering to him is the greatest position we could ever find ourselves in.
This might all seem like a lot, but let’s look at one more passage that will simplify discipleship and encourage our souls!