Google+ 10/29/12 Tell a Story!

Matthew 13: 10-15

 

His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given,

And they will have an abundance of knowledge.

But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 

That is why I use these parables, for they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say you will not understand. When you see what I do you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened and their ears cannot hear,

And they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see,
And their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand,
And they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’

 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it.

And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. 

 

This is a longer scripture reference than I normally use, but I wanted to include Jesus' quoting of Isaiah because it is the central most important part of this scripture.  Jesus is speaking to the disciples in response to their question about why He teaches with parables.  Basically, the disciples wanted to know why Jesus told stories all the time that seemed to have nothing to do with their present circumstances.  So that I don't make Jesus' answer more complicated than He did as I translate His response, I will simply say that he responded by telling them that they got the keys to the Kingdom everyday directly from Him, but others did not.  He goes on to say for those that are listening, He wants to make it easy so they can gain the ultimate understanding, but for those that are not listening, any knowledge they think they have will be taken away.  When Jesus quotes Isaiah, He lets the disciples know that people who do not hear, don't want to hear.  They don't see because they have closed their eyes.  Both of these actions are "I will not".  He then shares a very comforting thought to all of us who what to see and hear Jesus.  He tells us our eyes and ears are blessed because we want to see and hear.  He tells us that many prophets and righteous people will discover they want to see and hear what we as genuine Christians hear through Jesus Christ the story teller, but they will not hear or see.  How important are stories to Jesus?  The Bible records 39 parables of Jesus.  Did you know that the Bible only records 37 miracles?  Wow, stories must be important!  Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in the New Testament 44 times, many of which came about with Jesus quoting Old Testament scripture to remind people what had come before Him from God.  To those of you that are ministers of the Gospel (which should be all of us), let's follow Jesus.  If you are not a storyteller for Jesus, become one quickly.  If you are telling "worldly stories", make them "Kingdom stories".  Stories that have no reference to scripture or Kingdom building are simply useless.  Put stories in the same priority that Jesus and the Bible do.  I recently produced the Christian musical "Children of Eden".   For those of you that don't know the show, the first act is Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden and the second act is Noah and his generations.  At each musical we perform, I offer an invitation to accept Christ.  At the end of this musical, a gentleman in the audience came to me and asked me the title of the book that "had the Noah story in it".  I explained that it was in the Bible along with many other really wonderful stories.  Around a trash can, I read several passages of scripture off my phone (aren't electronic Bibles great!) concluding with the above teaching about stories.  With the lingering smell of spaghetti in the trash can from our marvelous free Italian buffet, this man accepted Christ as his personal Savior.  I gave him a Bible (his new story booked is what I called it) and sent him on his way a new man in Christ.  Jesus wants me to be a storyteller so people can hear and see. That is exactly what I will be!!