365 Devotionals: The Good News!
Memory Verses: 16 But blessed [spiritually aware, and favored by God] are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, many prophets and righteous men [who were honorable and in right standing with God] longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13:16-17 AMP
Song of The Day
Listen to “Spirit Break Out” by Kim Walker-Smith.
Here is a list of key people – the who’s who of overcomers, found in today’s reading (in order of appearance) with bios from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jesus. Also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, the world’s largest religion. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (the Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.
The Apostles. In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, particularly the Twelve Apostles (also known as the Twelve Disciples or simply the Twelve), were the primary disciples of Jesus according to the New Testament. During the life and ministry of Jesus in the 1st century AD, the apostles were his closest followers and became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus.
Today’s Devotional Reading: Matthew 13 – 14
Matthew 13 AMP
Jesus Teaches in Parables
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting beside the sea [of Galilee]. 2 But such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat there [positioning Himself as a teacher], while the whole crowd stood on the shore.
3 He told them many things in [a]parables, saying, “Listen carefully: a sower went out to sow [seed in his field]; 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell beside the road [between the fields], and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil; and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. 8 Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty. 9 He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.”
10 Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” 11 Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 This is the reason I speak to the crowds in parables: because while [having the power of] seeing they do not see, and while [having the power of] hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand and grasp [spiritual things]. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘You will hear and keep on hearing, but never understand;
And you will look and keep on looking, but never comprehend;
For this nation’s heart has grown hard,
And with their ears they hardly hear,
And they have [tightly] closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart, and turn [to Me]
And I would heal them [spiritually].’
16 But blessed [spiritually aware, and favored by God] are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, many prophets and righteous men [who were honorable and in right standing with God] longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Sower Explained
18 “Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; 21 yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. 23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”
Weeds among Wheat
24 Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the weeds appeared also. 27 The servants of the owner came to him and said, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have weeds in it?’ 28 He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them out?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; because as you pull out the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First gather the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
The Mustard Seed
31 He gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and of all the seeds [planted in the region] it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air find shelter in its branches.”
34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables, and He said nothing to them without [using] a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things [unknown and unattainable] that have been hidden [from mankind] since the foundation of the world.”
The Weeds Explained
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, “Explain [clearly] to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and [as for] the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend [those things by which people are led into sin], and all who practice evil [leading others into sin], 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger]. 43 Then the righteous [those who seek the will of God] will shine forth [radiating the new life] like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a [very precious] treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field [securing the treasure for himself].
A Costly Pearl
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 and upon finding a single pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was lowered into the sea, and gathered fish of every kind, 48 and when it was full, they dragged it up on the beach; and they sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw the wicked into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].
51 “Have you understood all these things [in the lessons of the parables]?” They said to Jesus, “Yes.” 52 He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things that are new and fresh and things that are old and familiar.”
Jesus Revisits Nazareth
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, He left there. 54 And after coming to [Nazareth] His hometown, He began teaching them in their synagogue, and they were astonished, and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers [what is the source of His authority]? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not [living here] among us? Where then did this Man get all this [wisdom and power]?” 57 And they took offense at Him [refusing to believe in Him]. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.
Matthew 14 AMP
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod [Antipas], the tetrarch [who governed a portion of Palestine including Galilee and Perea], heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and that is why the miraculous powers are at work in him.”
3 For Herod had John arrested and bound him and put him in prison [at the fortress of Machaerus, east of the Jordan, to keep him away] because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, 4 for John had said to him, “It is not lawful (morally right) for you to have her [living with you as your wife].” 5 Although Herod wished to have him put to death, he feared the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday came, [his niece Salome], the daughter of Herodias danced [immodestly] before them and pleased and fascinated Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 She, being coached by her mother [Herodias], said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests, he ordered it to be given her. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother [Herodias]. 12 And John’s disciples came and took away the body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Five Thousand Fed
13 When Jesus heard about John, He left there privately in a boat and went to a secluded place. But when the crowds heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt [profound] compassion for them and healed their sick.
15 When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and He took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking up toward heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up twelve full baskets of the leftover broken pieces. 21 There were about 5,000 men who ate, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat [by this time] was already a long distance from land, tossed and battered by the waves; for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!”
28 Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him [with awe-inspired reverence], saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!”
34 When they had crossed over [the sea], they went ashore at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word throughout all the surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they begged Him to let them merely touch the fringe of His robe; and all who touched it were perfectly restored.
From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 13… In this chapter, we have, I. The favour which Christ did to his countrymen in preaching the kingdom of heaven to them, Matt. 13:1-2. He preached to them in parables, and here gives the reason why he chose that way of instructing, Matt. 13:10-17. And the evangelist gives another reason, Matt. 13:34, 35. There are eight parables recorded in this chapter, which are designed to represent the kingdom of heaven, the method of planting the gospel kingdom in the world, and of its growth and success.
The great truths and laws of that kingdom are in other scriptures laid down plainly, and without parables: but some circumstances of its beginning and progress are here laid open in parables. 1. Here is one parable to show what are the great hindrances of people’s profiting by the word of the gospel, and in how many it comes short of its end, through their own folly, and that is the parable of the four sorts of ground, delivered, Matt. 13:3-9, and expounded, Matt. 13:18-23.
2. Here are two parables intended to show that there would be a mixture of good and bad in the gospel church, which would continue till the great separation between them in the judgment day: the parable of the tares put forth (Matt. 13:24-30), and expounded at the request of the disciples (Matt. 13:36-43); and that of the net cast into the sea, Matt. 13:47-50.
3. Here are two parables intended to show that the gospel church should be very small at first, but that in process of time it should become a considerable body: that of the grain of mustard-seed (Matt. 13:31, 32), and that of the leaven, Matt. 13:33.
4. Here are two parables intended to show that those who expect salvation by the gospel must be willing to venture all, and quit all, in the prospect of it, and that they shall be no losers by the bargain; that of the treasure hid in the field (Matt. 13:44), and that of the pearl of great price, Matt. 13:45, 46. 5. Here is one parable intended for direction to the disciples, to make use of the instructions he had given them for the benefit of others; and that is the parable of the good householder, Matt. 13:51, 52. II. The contempt which his countrymen put upon him on account of the meanness of his parentage, Matt. 13:53-58.
From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 14…
John the Baptist had said concerning Christ, He must increase, but I must decrease, John 3:30. The morning-star is here disappearing, and the Sun of righteousness rising to its meridian lustre. Here is, I. The martyrdom of John; his imprisonment for his faithfulness to Herod (Matt. 14:1-5), and the beheading of him to please Herodias, Matt. 14:6-12. II. The miracles of Christ. 1. His feeding five thousand men that came to him to be taught, with five loaves and two fishes, Matt. 14:13-21. 2. Christ’s walking on the waves to his disciples in a storm, Matt. 14:22-23. 3. His healing the sick with the touch of the hem of his garment, Matt. 14:34-36. Thus he went forth, thus he went on, conquering and to conquer, or rather, curing and to cure.
Image Source: 365 Seeds of Promise by Shenica R. Graham.
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