[Mat 13:10-11 ESV] 10 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" 11 And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…”
These verses follow the parable of the four soils upon which seed was sown by the sower. The climax of this parable focuses upon the last type of soil, the “good” soil that produced 30-, 60- and even up to 100-fold of the seed sown. I have heard a Greek New Testament scholar say that parables have one major point to glean from it. If that is so, then the fruitfulness of the good soil is the observation to see in response to the sowing of the seed. So, what is the seed in this parable?
Please note that Jesus did not announce in telling this first parable that his point was related to the Kingdom of God. Rather, we find that it is indeed so related when Jesus says in response to the disciples’ question about telling parables: “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom…” We should pause here. Jesus tells his disciples who would become The Apostles of the Lamb that he is giving to them the revelation of the Kingdom of God. He was at that point placing upon them a stewardship concerning this revelation of the Kingdom. Thus, the seed represents the message of the Kingdom (vs 19 “the word of the kingdom”). This revelation of the Kingdom is just not given first to anyone, nor does anyone just get it apart from God’s revelation to them!
At this point let me reference other scriptures that highlight this stewardship:
1. [Mat 16:17-19 ESV] 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
After Peter proclaimed that Jesus “is the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus pointed out that the Father revealed this to Peter. Again, revelation is highlighted here, and given to Jesus’ disciples/apostles. This revelation concerns the KING of the Kingdom, evident by the confession of Peter. Then, going further in these verses it says JESUS will build HIS Church… If you think Jesus is building your church, think again! Jesus is building one holy apostolic Church with the revelation of the Kingdom given first to His original apostles, and upon the revelation of the King (the Rock) of this Kingdom!
Then, look at verse 19, often used for expressing authority in prayer… which misses the real purpose. Jesus says to Peter and his fellow disciples that he will give them the keys of the Kingdom. The keys represent the revelation of the Kingdom to the apostles, and the giving of the keys represents the authority given to them to proclaim this good news, to steward this revelation, and minister according to the anointing of the Holy Spirit in their lives with this message. These first apostles could not just preach and teach anything they wanted. They had to have the keys and preach the gospel given to them to advance the Kingdom of God on earth as Jesus builds His Church.
2. [Act 2:42 ESV] 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching…”
After Peter with the eleven who stood up with him proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom in its completed form (read his sermon in Acts 2 for reference)
that now included the mystery of redemption (the work of Christ completed for the redemption of humanity), instructions of what they were to do in response were given: “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (vs 38). After being initiated into the Kingdom (this is a revelation of how we are to be initiated into the Kingdom and thus truly born anew from above and placed within the Body of Christ), verse 42 says the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching as well as other important concerns. This teaching is not just what the apostles made up. Rather, it is what Jesus deposited into them for 3 ½ years of being with them and the 40 days following his resurrection. The Holy Spirit reminded them of what they were taught considering the Old Testament scriptures and the fulfillment of prophecy. My point here is the apostles teaching highlights again the revelation that the apostles were responsible to steward. The writing of the New Testament exemplifies such stewardship.
3. [1Co 4:1 ESV] 1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
The context of this verse is dealing with the realities of division within the Church at Corinth and preferring one apostle over another. Paul corrects such thinking in that the apostles are servants of Christ responsible to steward the mysteries of God as revealed to them. Apollos, Cephas and Paul are all proclaiming the same gospel of the Kingdom to the Corinthians, and to say one apostle is more preferred than another is carnal. Instead of contending for a preferred apostle, they are to contend for the mysteries of the Kingdom revealed through which they learn the apostles teaching.
4. [Jde 1:3 ESV] 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
This faith has been revealed in the New Testament. It is the tradition of sound words (See 2 Timothy 1:13). These are the keys of the Kingdom. This stewardship continues from one generation of apostles to another, from elders to elders, and to the saints of every generation through whom culture and nations are transformed and discipled with this gospel.
I bring this to our attention because the church as we know it today is quite ignorant of these keys, let alone the authentic gospel. Quite often what is persuaded to be the gospel is simply a do-good mandate or a simply believe in Jesus who died for our sins to get to heaven appeal. If you asked church attenders, most would give you something like these simple answers to the question about “What is the gospel?” Try it. Ask the church attenders, and see what they say. Do any refer to the Gospel as good news of the reign of Christ on the earth resulting from his life, ministry, death, descent to hell, ascending to heaven while resurrecting his body on the way, being coronated as King of heaven and earth and then pouring out of His Holy Spirit on Pentecost? Do any understand how we could be regenerated, made new and born again, because of Jesus’ own regeneration from the dead? These are just some things often missing from the gospel presentation that demonstrates Jesus to be Lord and Christ of heaven and earth.
Consequently, we must reform ourselves with the authentic gospel (This need to reform ourselves has been required of every generation since the gospel was first proclaimed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit). If you think unity of the Spirit is maintained simply by love, I challenge you to think again. Can two walk together unless in agreement? It is time to stop preaching our own gospel and the one we received from religious traditions which make void the Word of God. Time to reform ourselves to be good soil letting the seed of the Kingdom into our hearts, allowing our faith to be established with the one true Kerygma (gospel proclamation). May the true apostles arise this day to receive and steward the secrets of the Kingdom.