The majority of chapter 4 is given to us through parables. We already talked about the literary device of parables (Matthew Chapter 13 Summary), lets look at these parables specifically. Depending on how strictly you want to apply the definition of parable as a literary device, this chapter contains either two or three parables. The first is the famous parable of the Sower (vv. 1-9); the second is the parable of the Seeds (vv. 26-32). The third potential parable occurs in the verses between those two and is sometimes referred to as “the Hidden Lamp” (vv. 21-25). What is interesting though is that the Hidden Lamp parable comes after Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower (vv. 10-20). One could say then that the saying about the Hidden Lamp is not necessarily another parable, but is instead an illustration of the explanation of parables that Jesus makes in vv. 10-20.
Another pericope of this chapter occurs in vv. 35- 41 and is the famous episode when Jesus calms the stormy sea after having been awoken from his nap by his scared disciples.
[Notice the constant movement of Jesus. He is teaching in one place, finishes, and then head off to another. He is a man on the move!]
This scene, in particular, is a wonderful scene to pray with in your imagination. The application of this scene and the words of Jesus to our daily lives is something that all of can appreciate since, chances are, most of us have ‘storms’ in our lives that shake us and scare us and rock our boat to the point of tipping. But Jesus that still, calm voice of reason and comfort; of faith and reassurance: “Peace! Be still!” If even the winds and storms of life obey at his very words, could not we too? This perhaps is a point for prayer.
Point for Prayer
Pray with the parables: what stands out in your imagination, in your mind; what connects with your way of thinking and of looking at the world, your relationships, your own Faith-journey? Is there a part of those parables that causes a reaction in your mind or ‘gut’? Pray there, what’s Jesus trying to tell you? Or, go back to the scene in the boat: pray with the storms of your life. Where do you need Jesus to break in and say, “Peace. Be still!” He says these words to both the storms, and to us!