Matthew 13:51-53

“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.

I love the confidence of the disciples!

When I read these parables, I’m usually left scratching my head, wondering if I’m even close to understanding Jesus. But when he asks them if they understand, they answer “Yes,” in what I imagine is a something of a “you betcha” kind of way. 🙂

Then again, they’ve asked Jesus twice for explanations and perhaps are reasonably confident they actually do understand what he’s been saying. Or perhaps they don’t understand but don’t want to look dumb, especially after he’s twice explained things in detail. Who knows?

I do know, however, that Jesus’ next words are intriguing. Again, I’m not sure I’d answer “yes” if Jesus asked me if I fully understand what him, but I do get a sense that part of what Jesus is saying is that entrance into God’s kingdom demands that you bring out and reconsider everything, old and new. Everything – relationships, assumptions about power, expectations for what constitutes the “good life” – all of this and more look different within the “kingdom logic” Jesus proclaims.

Keep in mind that this is the guy who started his public ministry by pointing out all kinds of folks the world considers unworthy of attention or esteem – those caught up in mourning, those who are spiritually poor, those who have no power, etc. – and calling them blessed of God. So also, his parables again and again seek to turn our expectations upside down and invite us to look at what we thought we knew differently in light of God’s surprising love, mercy and grace.

I think that’s a pretty apt shorthand description of the Christian life – to be one of those who looks at all the various elements of our “ordinary” lives, including the people all around us, in light of God’s extraordinary love. That, it seems to me, is something worth trying.

Prayer: Dear God, grant us glimpses of your kingdom through the parables Jesus preaches and the parables we meet in everyday life that we might continually be renewed in our faith and courage as we seek to love others as you have loved us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.