James and the Sermon on the Mount

A wonderful comparison of the book of James and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew & Luke. Read the verses and be amazed once again with the continuity of the Scriptures.

TLP

The connection between James and the Sermon on the Mount is striking in that there are so many that James could almost be a commentary. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that another curious feature of this connection is that while there are more direct correlations between James and Matthew than there are with Luke, James’ language is actually quite similar to Luke in its phrasing.

While it seems unlikely that he had those Gospels at his fingertips, it is highly likely that the teachings of Jesus on that occasion were treasured and protected by the early church, and James would surely have been at the forefront of such an effort. In a letter that serves the purpose as the primary New Testament document of moral instruction, what better source to draw from than the Sermon on the Mount, the highest and most exacting moral teaching of all history?…

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Mark 4:14-20 – The Meaning of the First Parable

After explaining WHY He is now speaking to the people ONLY in parables*, Jesus explains the meaning of the Parable of the Sower (actually the Soils).  It is important that Jesus tells them because by understanding this first parable, the disciples will be able to understand ALL the parables. (Mark 4:13)

The SOWER is Jesus here, but also the Old Testament prophets, the disciples, the apostles, preachers, teachers, and all true believers.

The SEED is “the Word” (the Word of God, the truth of God, the Gospel of salvation, the Grace of God in truth, the Word of Christ, the Truth, the Good News, the imperishable Seed, the living and abiding Word of God, Truthful speech, and the “washing” detergent which the Holy Spirit uses when He regenerates believers.**) that the sowers scatter into the world (as per the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, and Mark 16:15-16).

The SOILS are the hearts of the hearers of the Word.  All of them listen, but their responses differ.  Only a few will truly HEAR the message, receive it, accept it, believe it, obey it…. and ultimately become fruitful.

#1 Soil = No interest.

#2 Soil = Superficial commitment.

#3 Soil = Love of the world is too strong.

#4 Soil = Understanding, believing, are regenerated, and bear fruit.

Long afterwards, Jesus’ brother James, one of those true believers, writes a warning and a call to commitment for us in his book, “Be DOERS of the Word, and not HEARERS ONLY, deceiving yourselves.” James 1;22

 

Jesus gave the crowds ample opportunity to hear his direct teaching (see the previous post), and believe in Him. For those who did, He gives further understanding, to those who rejected Him, he now speaks in mysteries and secrets.  Those who are willing to HEAR, receive more. Those who REFUSE, lose what bit of understanding they had.

** See Romans 10:17, Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5, I Thessalonians 2:13, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:22-25, 

Mark 4, Matthew 12 – The Disciples ask “Why?”

READ Mark 4:10-12 (with Matthew 12:10-17)

Yesterday was a look at the first parable of Jesus about the soils (the sower). I imagined how those listeners would have responded to this as they walked home. (See yesterday’s “long” post.)

When the crowd had gone, the disciples came to Him with a question. Mark 4:10.

By looking at Matthew’s fuller account of the disciples coming to Jesus afterwards, we see what they asked Him.

“Why do you speak in parables?” Good Question.

Jesus’s answer, “To YOU has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for THOSE OUTSIDE…everything is in parables.”

Huh? Doesn’t Jesus want everybody to know about the Kingdom of God, and how to get into it????

(Your assignment: Check out the following passages in Matthew and I’ll answer that question – if you still need it – afterwards.

1. Matthew 4:23 – What does this say about what Jesus was doing after He chose his disciples?

2. Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 – (with particular attention to 5:2 and 7:28/29) Okay, What do all these verses show in detail that Jesus was DOING all this time?

3. In the next chapters of Matthew, we see Jesus continuing to heal the sick and deliver the demon possessed (such compassion!) and to teach His OWN DISCIPLES some strong things about persecution and the end times, etc. WHY is He now mostly just teaching THEM??

The end of Matthew 11 shows the Jewish officials accusing him of having an unclean spirit, and his family wanting Him to come away and get some food and rest. (Wednesday’s post)

And THEN…………… he gets into a boat and teaches the crowd on the shore….. in a PARABLE. (Yesterday’s post)

Do you see why?

The crowds have been divided into 1) those who believe and follow Jesus, and 2) those only seeking healing or to hassle Him.

Jesus answers their WHY question here,

“To the one who HAS (belief in Him and understanding of who He is) more will be given and he will have an abundance. BUT from the one who HAS NOT (those who reject Him and his teaching), even what they have (clear teaching to this point) will be taken away.”

“THIS is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do NOT see (me as Savior) and hearing, they do NOT hear (my teaching) nor do they understand.”

Got it?

Then Jesus give a blessing to those who DO believe and follow Him,

“Blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears for they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.

Then (Mark 4:14-20) Jesus goes on to tell them the meaning of the Parable of the (Sower and the) Soils, which – if they understand – will help to understand the rest of Jesus’ “kingdom” parables.