Parables of the Kingdom 御国のたとえ話

I love stories. As a kid, I loved reading Winnie the Pooh. I loved reading The Wind in the Willows and the Just So stories. As an adult, I love reading Winnie the Pooh and the Wind in the Willows and the Just So stories. I also love reading novels like The Green Mile and Forrest Gump and The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Stories are great. They are great entertainment but stories are more than that. Fictitious stories can actually shed light on reality and the human condition sometimes better than ‘life lesson’ books.

Jesus seemed to think so, too. That’s why he told so many parables. Jesus loved parables.
イエスはたとえ話が好きでした。

Last Sunday I mentioned that Jesus often used parables to illustrate what the Kingdom of God is like. Matthew 13 alone contains 8 of these parables:
The parable of the sower 種を蒔く人のたとえ話
The parable of the weeds 毒麦(どくむぎ)のたとえ話
The parable of the mustard seed からし種のたとえ話
The parable of the yeast パン種のたとえ話
The parable of the hidden treasure 隠された宝のたとえ話
The parable of the pearl 真珠のたとえ話
The parable of the net 網のたとえ話
The parable of the good householder 良い一家の主人のたとえ話

All these parables give us a better idea of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
これらのたとえ話はすべて私たちに天の御国がどんなところか 分かりやすくしてくれます。
All these parables help us bring the Kingdom of heaven to the earth (‘Your Kingdom come’).
これらのたとえ話はすべて天の御国を地にもたらしてくれます。
All these parables help us to reclaim what was lost in the Fall of Man.
これらのたとえ話はすべて人が罪を犯したときに失われたものを取り戻してくれます。

Today, let’s look at three of these parables.

The Parable of the Weeds

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
天国は、良い種を自分の畑にまいておいた人のようなものである。
25 人々が眠っている間に敵がきて、麦の中に毒麦をまいて立ち去った。
26 芽がはえ出て実を結ぶと、同時に毒麦もあらわれてきた。
27 僕たちがきて、家の主人に言った、『ご主人様、畑におまきになったのは、良い種ではありませんでしたか。どうして毒麦がはえてきたのですか』。
28 主人は言った、『それは敵のしわざだ』。すると僕たちが言った『では行って、それを抜き集めましょうか』。
29 彼は言った、『いや、毒麦を集めようとして、麦も一緒に抜くかも知れない。
30 収穫まで、両方とも育つままにしておけ。収穫の時になったら、刈る者に、まず毒麦を集めて束にして焼き、麦の方は集めて倉に入れてくれ、と言いつけよう』」。
This parable is very easy to understand because Jesus Himself explains it.
Man sowing good seed = Jesus 良い種をまいている人=イエス
The field = the world 畑=この世
Good seed = children of the Kingdom 良い種=御国の子どもたち
Weeds = children of the devil 毒麦=悪い者の子どもたち
Enemy = devil 敵=悪魔
Harvest = end of the age 収穫=世の終わり
Harvesters = angels 刈る者=御使い

But true to a good story, there’s more to it than simply knowing who the characters are.

What’s this? [image]
This is not wheat. It’s darnel. It’s a weed that commonly grows amongst wheat. This is the weed that Jesus was probably referring to.
What’s this? [image]
This is wheat. Wheat and darnel (at first anyway) look quite similar, don’t they?

This helps us to understand both the Kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of the world. At first glance, even side by side, they can look very similar. But we know that wheat is a vital staple diet for the world. Jesus referred to it when He said “I am the bread of life”. Wheat sustains. It nourishes.
これを見て天の御国と世の国の両方のことが分かるでしょう。

Look at what Wikipedia says about darnel:

Darnel usually grows in the same production zones as wheat and is considered a weed. The similarity between these two plants is so great that in some regions, darnel is referred to as “false wheat”. It bears a close resemblance to wheat until the ear appears.
Darnel can be infected by a fungus which can be fatal. The French name echoes the scientific name [which means] “drunk.”

Don’t be fooled by any apparent goodness of the world – humanistic philosophies, good natured religions, and even various media which typically present a very positive, fun image and glamorous world. Don’t be deceived. In the early stages, these things can look similar to the teachings of Jesus and can give the appearance of sustaining you. But upon maturity, one is life-giving, the other is lethal. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the world are completely different.
神の御国と世の国は全く別のものです。
If you want to be a part of the Kingdom of God, stay true to Jesus, the only sower of good seed.
One more thing about this parable.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
27 僕たちがきて、家の主人に言った、『ご主人様、畑におまきになったのは、良い種ではありませんでしたか。どうして毒麦がはえてきたのですか』。
28 主人は言った、『それは敵のしわざだ』。すると僕たちが言った『では行って、それを抜き集めましょうか』。
When bad things happen – sickness, violence, broken relationships, destruction etc – people are very quick to ask, ‘How could a loving God allow this? ‘Why did God do this?’ Where did these weeds come from?”
悪いことが起こると、人々はすぐに‘愛にあふれた神がどうしてこんなことが起こることを許すのか’と言います。
Jesus’ answer is clear: it’s not from God! “An enemy did this.” 『それは敵のしわざだ』 It’s another reminder that the world we see and experience is not the world God created. There is the Kingdom of God and there is the Kingdom of satan. The two should never be confused.
イエスの答えは明確です。それは神からきていることではありません。
私たちが見て生きている世は神が創造した世ではありません。
The end of the parable is sobering. At the end of the age, there will be a judgement. Those who are found to be ‘false wheat’ will be thrown away and burned. Those who are found to be true wheat will be taken into God’s Kingdom and rewarded.

2. The parable of the mustard seed
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
また、ほかの・を彼らに示して言われた、「天国は、一粒のからし種のようなものである。ある人がそれをとって畑にまくと、
32 それはどんな種よりも小さいが、成長すると、野菜の中でいちばん大きくなり、空の鳥がきて、その枝に宿るほどの木になる」。
Let’s look at a mustard seed. [image]
Now look at a mustard tree. [image]
You have to marvel. How can such a large tree come from such a tiny seed? How does that happen? That’s a miracle right there.
こんな大きな木がどうやってこんな小さな種から生まれるのか?

And Jesus uses this as a very accurate illustration of His Kingdom. Even if we start with a faith that is so small and seemingly insignificant, in God’s garden it can grow into something that is big, strong and able to comfort and support others.
私たちの信仰が始めは小さく、一見ちっぽけであったとしても、神の庭では大きくて強く育つことができ、人を慰め支えることもできるのです。

Now, a simple question. Was Jesus able to heal the sick? イエスは病んでいる人を癒すことができたでしょうか?
Was he able to drive out demons? イエスは悪霊を追い出すことができたでしょうか?
Was he able to raise the dead? イエスは死人をよみがえらせることができたでしょうか?

No. [You’re all wrong!] Jesus could do none of these things. Do you think I’m being heretical saying this? What did Jesus Himself say?
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself. John 5:19
「よくよくあなたがたに言っておく。子は父のなさることを見てする以外に、自分からは何事もすることができない。
While Jesus was 100% God (“The Word was God” John 1:1), He chose to live with the same limitations that man has. (“He gave up his divine privileges” Phil 2:7)
イエスは100%神でしたが、人間と同じ限界のうちに生きることを選びました。

Jesus performed miracles, wonders and signs as a man in a right relationship with God the Father… but not as God. If He performed the miracles because He was God, then we cannot relate to that and his works don’t apply to us. But if He performed His miracles as a man, then we are responsible for pursuing His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything, and makes possible the teaching where Jesus said that His followers would be able to do the same things He did, and even greater things than He did. (John 14:12)

There were two distinct things about Jesus humanity:
イエスの人間性には2つのはっきりと異なったことがありました。
i. He was sinless
 イエスには罪がありませんでした。
ii. He was completely dependent on God the Father
 イエスは父なる神に完全にゆだねていました。

There are two distinct things about our humanity:
私たちの人間性には2つのはっきりと異なることがあります。
i. We are sinners who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and been declared righteous. There is now nothing to separate us from the Father… (but)
私たちはイエスの血によってきよめられ、義とされた罪人です。
父なる神から私たちを引き離すものは何もありません、、、が
ii. How dependent on God the Father, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, are we?
That’s the critical factor.
聖霊のはたらきを通して私たちはどれだけ父なる神にゆだねているでしょうか?
それが重要な要因(よういん)です。

Too often, I believe, our eyes are on ourselves and our own limitations, rather than on God and His limitlessness. As Johnson put it, “We are often more convinced of our unworthiness than we are of His worth. Our inability takes on greater focus than His ability.” This approach is inconsistent with Kingdom living.
神の価値よりも自分たちの価値のなさを確信してしまいます。私たちのできないことのほうが神のできることよりも焦点が当てられています。

The encouragement we get from Jesus in the parable of the mustard seed is that it only requires tiny faith in God to achieve great things.
からし種のたとえ話では、大きなことを成し遂げる(なしとげる)には小さな信仰が必要なだけです。

3. The parable of the good householder

Do you understand these two parables – the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the weed?
There is a special reason why I’m asking if you understand them, and that reason is found in another parable in this chapter of Matthew. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the gospels but I don’t ever remember reading this gospel! It’s very short and very simple and I wonder how many of you, too, have let this very important parable go under the radar?

Before I read the parable, you need to know that Jesus asked his disciples the same question that I just asked you: “Do you understand these parables?” They replied that they did. So Jesus then told them this parable (and I’ll conclude with this):

52 “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:52
「それだから、天国のことを学んだ学者は、新しいものと古いものとを、その倉から取り出す一家の主人のようなものである」。

Here we have the parable of the good householder, which is intended to bind together all the other parables.

Jesus encourages his disciples to understand and to learn so that they might then teach.
イエスは弟子たちが後に教えられるように彼らが理解し学ぶことを促がしています。

He compares them to a good householder, who brings out of his storeroom both new and old treasures; fruits of both last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, truths both from the Old Testament and the New Testament; learnings from both old experiences, and new experiences, past blessings and new mercies, previous anointings and new fillings. We must not be content to live out our faith on old mercies. We must be adding new. We must be continually seeking the Kingdom of God.
イエスは良い一家の主人と比べています。この主人は倉(くら)から新しい物と古い物の両方、つまり去年の作物と今年集めた物両方を取り出します。旧約聖書と新約聖書の両方、古い経験から学んだことと新しい経験の両方、過去の祝福と新しい憐れみ、以前の贖いと新しい満たし。古い憐れみに信仰をおいて生きることに満足してしまってはいけません。新しいことを加えていかなければなりません。神の御国を求め続けていかなければいけません。

But there’s more to the Kingdom of God than just a new knowledge and a fresh filling of the Spirit. Many are full, but they have no vent (Job 32:19); have talent and gifts, but they bury them. Jesus calls these disciples ‘unprofitable servants’.
しかし神の御国には新しい知識と聖霊の新しい満たしだけではありません。多くの人は満たされていますが、抜け口(ぬけぐち)がありません(ヨブ記32:19)才能や賜物を持っていますが、隠しています。イエスはこのような弟子たちを‘役に立たぬしもべ’と呼んでいます。

But Jesus Himself received so that he might give. And the command is the same for us: Freely you have received so freely give. (Matthew 10:8) ただで受けたのだから、ただで与えるがよい。
しかしイエスご自身は与えるために受けました。そしてそれは私たちにも当てはまることなのです。

Pray.