Matthew 13:1-2. “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat: and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”
This, Chapter 13, is one of the most important chapters of this book. So often, these words of Jesus have been misinterpreted and misunderstood, leaving the reader to wonder how it all fits together.These mysteries of the Kingdom are typically turned upside down, resulting in optimistic dreams of the growth of the church, the universal extension of the church, the continuing good work of leaven in the three measures of meal, and so on. When you grow up hearing these mysteries taught as stories of the Church, as so many of us did, the result can only be confusion when one tries to make it all fit together
It is most fitting that Jesus went to the seaside to teach these mysteries. He had been rejected by His own people, and would now turn to offer His gospel to the nations of the Gentiles, always represented or typified by the ocean or the sea in scripture. Leaving the house, in the first verse, was a picture of how He severed His relations with His own people. Taking His place by the sea showed that His gospel was to be given now to a much wider sphere.
The crowds that heard He was about to teach were enormous. There were so many people that He retreated to a ship and sat down to teach the crowds that had amassed on the shores.
I don’t know how the word spread that the Rabbi was going to preach. I don’t know how so many people made their way to hear Him, leaving their work behind. I don’t know how so many people were able to hear Him, except that He was God!
I can only imagine what it must have been like as people made their way to the place where others had already gathered. “Where is He? Has He started yet? Is there any more room? What is He saying? Sshhhh! Be quiet so we can hear Him!” I can only imagine the hush that must have fallen as Jesus perhaps raised His hands to indicate that He was about to speak. Even though the religious leaders had rejected Jesus, there were still throngs of people who followed Him and longed to hear Him. Did they all believe He was indeed Messiah? Probably not. But some surely did, and they were blessed to experience the incredible moments of hearing Him teach. I wish I had been there!
Next week, we’ll begin to look at these mysteries of the kingdom.