Gotquestions.org defines a parable as “literally, something ‘cast alongside’ something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were ‘cast alongside’ a truth in order to illustrate that truth. His parables were teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies or inspired comparisons. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a number of parables regarding The Kingdom of Heaven. What can we learn about the Kingdom from the first parable, The Wheat and the Tares?
What do you think of when you hear the words, “The Kingdom of Heaven”?
Do you feel broken, stressed, and/or distressed by the struggles of life? You’re not alone. In John 16:33, Jesus warned his disciples, and by extension, us, that ‘In this world you will have trouble.’ Jim Mannarino shared on Sunday that God’s power is real, He is engaged with you in real time, and He loves you beyond measure. It can sometimes be difficult to remember that in the midst of suffering. But when you’re able to submit in obedience, His power and presence can sustain you despite your circumstances. Jesus knew that, too – He finished His statement in John with, ‘But take heart! I have overcome the world’!
Discuss with your group some of the adversities you are experiencing right now. Have you asked God, “Why me”?
1 Peter 4 begins with an encouragement to live in the Spirit, not the flesh, and it ends with an admonition not to be surprised when suffering comes. Sandwiched between those two concepts is a description of what a contagious Christian looks like – one who prays, loves deeply, and serves others.
Some people are obsessed by the ‘end of the world’, to such a degree that we have movies like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (global warming), ‘2012’ (global cataclysm) and television shows like ‘Doomsday Preppers’ (people preparing to survive a natural disaster, financial collapse or nuclear war) and ‘The Walking Dead’ (surviving a zombie apocalypse). Why do you think people are fascinated with ‘end of the world’ scenarios?