July 22, 2011
Jesus and the Psalms
The Parables of Jesus and The Psalms
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As we study how Jesus used the Psalms during His ministry, we notice that Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He explained many things in more detail to His disciples, but the crowds listened to His parables. If you ever wondered why did Jesus speak to the crowds in parables, we will learn the answer from Jesus today.
Jesus and Parables. In Matthew 13:34, we learn that Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and only parables. Jesus had just told the crowds several parables concerning the kingdom of heaven. He likened the kingdom of heaven to a sower going out to sow, tares among wheat, a mustard seed, and leaven. Jesus explained some of those parables to His disciples, because they did not understand them (sower parable explained–Matthew 13:10-23; tares parable explained–Matthew 13:36-43). Jesus taught later at the synagogue in His hometown, Nazareth, and the people there marveled at His wisdom and miraculous powers (Matthew 13:53-58).
Jesus Utters Hidden Things. Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables and quotes Psalm 78:2. In that verse, Jesus quotes a Psalm written by Asaph, who wrote many Psalms. Psalm 78:3, continues: “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” Jesus employs verse 2 to show the fulfillment of the Psalm, but changes it so that He will be speaking of new things, hidden since the foundation of the world. We need to look back in Matthew to gain more insight into the teaching ministry of Jesus to the crowds, and in contrast, how He taught His disciples. You may pause and consider that Jesus said the Psalmist was also a prophet. If you read the Psalms, you will quickly see that they are filled with prophecies, many of which Jesus fulfilled as Messiah.
Jesus Explains Parables to His Disciples. In Matthew 13:11, Jesus tells His disciples that God has granted them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. As we have seen in other studies, the term “mysteries” in the New Testament always refers to something that was hidden in the Old Testament, but made known through the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:1-7). Jesus revealed the explanation of the mysteries to His disciples, but the crowds only heard the parables. In Matthew 13:14-15, Jesus quotes Isaiah the prophet to explain that the crowds had dull hearts, closed eyes, and ears that scarcely hear. Jesus adds that even the prophets and righteous men of old desired to see what the disciples were seeing, but did not see it, and hear what the disciples heard, but did not hear it. The disciples, and not the crowds, were blessed by Jesus both to hear and see Jesus, and to understand His parables through His personal explanations (Matthew 13:16-17). We should remember that only Jesus will be our Teacher, and we should call no man “rabbi” or “teacher” (Matthew 23:8). The crowds will never understand what Jesus says to them (Matthew 7:13-14).
So we learn more about Jesus and the Psalms today.
● Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; the crowds did not understand the parables He spoke to them.
● Jesus uttered things hidden since the foundation of the world to the crowds, but explained the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven to His disciples.
● Jesus fulfilled the words of the Psalmist, by speaking parables to the crowds, so that hearing they would not understand, and seeing, they would not perceive.
Application for Today
As I live today, I expect that I will not understand the sayings of Jesus unless He explains them to me. As I listen to His voice, then I will understand His teachings. Will you listen to Jesus teach you today?