THIS WEEK IN TABLE TALK
Point: Throughout the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit’s power used to empower individuals for specific tasks. The followers of Jesus are empowered in the same way to spread God’s goodness throughout the world.
- Did the Spirit ask you to do anything new to spread God’s goodness?
What is a parable? How would you define it?
Recap: When Jesus came to earth, the Jewish nation, God’s chosen, where in a sort of spiritual exile. Their land was dominated by foreigners and they were awaiting a Messiah to rule and bring them back to prominence. Jesus arrived using parables to show that He was the answer to the Messianic prophecies and the very arrival of God’s kingdom on earth. But it wasn’t what the people expected. In fact, it was totally upside-down.
Jesus used parables to reveal what Has was and what He was up to. Jesus said the parables were designed to both reveal and conceal his message about the arrival of God’s Kingdom; for personal application of the listener and to buy Himself some time. ess throughout the world.
- How are parables useful for personal application – can you give an example? (Ex: The Prodigal Son parable: Could you see yourself as one of the sons or even the father?)
- In what ways were Jesus’ arrival and His teachings “upside-down” from what the people expected? (They expected a conquering king, Jesus was a servant-witness)
- Why did Jesus need to “buy Himself some time?” (He needed to develop a team that would take His message to the world.)
Point: Parables are an excellent way to share the purposes of Jesus. By identifying with the various characters, we test our discipleship.
Read: The Parable of the Sower Explained (Matthew 13:18-23)
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
- What is the main difference between the first and fourth soils? Read again the first half of verse 19 and the first half of verse 23. (The first did not “understand the Gospel,” the fourth did.)
- Discuss: do you think the 2nd or 3rd soils understood? Why
- Review the soils:
- The Path: Don’t really understand the Gospel.
- Rocky Ground: Fearful of Gospel persecution.
- Among the Thorns: Too worried about making it in the world to share the Gospel and bear fruit.
- Good Soil: Understanding the Gospel and bearing fruit – making disciples.
- Which soil are you? Which soil do you want to be?