When the disciples ask Jesus why He speaks in parables, He basically says He won’t cater to the people’s unbelief. The disciples were blessed. Their eyes saw, and their ears heard. The reason Jesus still taught truths about the kingdom in parables is that even though He wanted it to be harder for the crowds to understand, He still wanted to teach the disciples and those who truly believed. The basic principle on display here is that God loves the lost. He offers salvation to all who will come to Him. But He never caters to unbelief.
Matthew chapter 13 displays two key principles we can learn from the perfect model of ministry, who is Jesus Christ himself. He loves the lost, but never caters to their unbelief. He preaches the truth, but knows people will have different responses.
Love the Lost
If you are modeling your ministry after Jesus, you truly love the lost. I don’t think there is any greater lesson that you can learn from the example that Jesus displays in Matthew chapter 13. Let’s begin by setting the context.
The final verses of Matthew chapter four introduce the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Here we’re told that He was going throughout the land teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease.
The news about Him spread throughout Syria and the people brought to Him all who were ill and He healed them.
His popularity spread. Why? Because He was really helping people. He cured every sick person brought to Him, no matter the severity of their affliction. Can you imagine the press? Can you imagine the number of people crowding in around Him seeking attention? And yet, He continued to give Himself away. He continued to go to the synagogues, continued to minister, continued to serve, continued to do miracles, and continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom. That’s a glorious picture of the sacrificial love that Jesus has for the lost.
There has never been a person that walked this earth that has had a greater love for people than Jesus Christ. If you are going to be one of His disciples, you need to begin to manifest that same kind of love. You are going to have to have that same kind of a sacrificial servant’s heart and concern for lost people that Jesus had.
Don’t Cater to Unbelief
By the time you get to Matthew 13 though, you can see there’s a little bit of a change. At this point, Jesus has spent about a year ministering in Galilee. He has clearly articulated the revelation of His person as the Messiah. He’s also made clear what is required to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven. He’s proven Himself by countless miracles of all kinds and displayed that the power of God is on display in Him and through Him. The change in His ministry practice occurs when the people continue in their unbelief despite the abundance of revelation they’ve been given.
The people are indifferent. They’re just looking for more wow moments. They are not considering the reality of the power of God that’s on display, nor the significance of the message that Jesus is proclaiming. So, Jesus begins to speak to the people in parables. He pronounces a woe upon them for not responding to the revelation they were given.