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Jesus speaks in parables
The parable of the sower
Matthew chapter 13, verses 1-9
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
From that crowded house, where Jesus’ mother and brothers could not get close enough to speak to Jesus directly, Jesus went out to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the outdoors a much larger crowd could get close enough to hear him speak. As the people crowded around him, Jesus got into a boat and moved a short distance from the shore. With this arrangement even more people could hear him.
Then he proceeded to teach the people about the kingdom of God. He spoke in parables, and he later explained why he liked to use this approach. Parables are simple stories based on everyday happenings that would be familiar to the listeners, although they do not report actual events. They illustrate specific truths concerning the kingdom of God. Sometimes all the details of a parable support the primary point of the parable. In other cases it is not at all helpful to attempt to find meaning in every detail. Parables are like pictures. They convey an immediate impression overall, but some of the details may be irrelevant. It is important to keep this in mind when interpreting parables.
In this chapter Matthew reports seven parables that Jesus spoke. Some of them Jesus explains; some of them he does not. He also tells us why he chooses to speak in parables so often. All of these parables teach important truths concerning the kingdom of God, and that is true of Jesus’ parables in general. The kingdom of God, after all, is not a visible earthly organization occupying a specific amount of territory in this world. The kingdom of God is God’s dominion, his ruling activity. God rules in the hearts of his believers through the power of his Word. He calls people by means of the gospel. By the power of that same gospel he creates saving faith in Christ in people’s hearts. With that same power he strengthens and preserves that faith and moves people to produce fruits of faith, works that keep his commandments and express genuine love for God and one’s neighbor.
God rules over the whole world and directs the events of men and of nations in the interest of his church, all believers. Sometimes we can clearly see God’s hand in the course of the world’s history, especially when we can look back over the centuries. At other times that may not be clear to us, but God is always in control, and he will surely keep his promise to make all things work together for the good of those who love him. These are a few basic truths for us to keep in mind as we study Jesus’ parables.
First comes the parable of the sower. It is possible that there may have been a sower at work in the background as Jesus spoke. At any rate, the circumstances of the sowing and the growing as described in this parable were familiar to the listeners. The farmer would sow the seed by hand, carrying it in a pouch suspended from his waist, and scattering it as evenly and as accurately as possible with his hands. Some of the seed would fall on the hard ground of a footpath at the edge of the field or running through the middle of the field. Such seed would not have a chance to grow, for it would be in plain sight, and the birds would almost immediately find it and eat it. Some would fall on shallow soil with solid rock beneath. This seed would sprout quickly and do well at first, but that shallow soil was easily dried out by the hot sun, and the tender young plants would wither and die. Some seed would fall among thorns, and it simply would not be able to compete for moisture and sunlight, so it would be choked and never amount to anything. But some of the seed would land in good soil and grow and multiply the seed up to a hundred times by the time it would reach maturity. That’s the way it was for the farmer of Jesus’ day, and that’s the way it is today too. Furthermore, that’s the way it is when the good seed of God’s Word is scattered among the people of this world.
“He who has ears, let him hear,” Jesus exhorted. If you are able to hear, then really listen, take to heart, believe, and obey. When we admonish a child or anyone over whom we have authority to listen to what we say, we have essentially that same process in mind. In that sense, children, listen to your parents; workers, listen to your supervisors; students, listen to your teachers; everybody, listen to God’s Word. A little later we will see that this parable is about listening appropriately to the Word of God, but first we hear Jesus explain why he taught in parables so much of the time.
Matthew chapter 13, verses 10-17
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
The disciples did not ask Jesus to explain this parable. Instead, they asked him a much more general question: “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” Jesus went on to explain to them that he had two reasons for speaking in parables: to reveal and to conceal. Parables revealed truth to believers but concealed that same truth from certain unbelievers. A parable is easy to remember, so it can help a believer remember or recall the truth that Jesus taught in a particular parable. But, sad to say, there are people in this world from whom God is determined to conceal his truth. He wants all people to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved, but his patience is not inexhaustible.
When people stubbornly and persistently despise God’s Word and insist on going their own way, despite many God-given opportunities to know and do what is right, God finally withdraws his grace from them. They harden their hearts against God’s Word, and finally God hardens their hearts by means of that same Word. We cannot judge when an unbeliever’s heart is so hardened that God’s Word will only harden it more; only God can look into the heart and understand that. So we should be very reluctant to give up and to regard anyone as a hopeless case as far as the kingdom of God is concerned. We must not pronounce such a judgment upon anyone; we must only warn people that this tragedy can happen.
The final consequence of spiritual hardening will be that those people who are consigned to eternal damnation in hell will be without excuse. They will have no one to blame but themselves. They will finally realize this fact, but then it will be impossible to do anything about it. We all need to be careful that we do not fall from the faith and lose our salvation. The solution is, of course, our regular and faithful use of the means of grace, the gospel in Word and sacrament. As we continue to nourish our souls with the gospel, our faith will be strengthened and preserved, and no one will be able to pluck us out of our Savior’s hand.
“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear,” Jesus reassured his disciples, and with these same words he reassures us. The Holy Spirit has given us seeing eyes and hearing ears for spiritual truths. As long as we use these gifts, we need not fear for our eternal salvation. But if we despise these gifts and neglect or refuse to use them, God surely has the right to reject and condemn us. Those with special privileges have special responsibility. The disciples were blessed more richly than the prophets and righteous men who lived before the time of Christ. Those people had only promises from God, but they clung to those promises and were saved by their faith in the promised Savior. The disciples saw that Savior with their own eyes and heard him with their own ears, and that was a great advantage to them.
We are even more richly blessed. We have God’s complete revelation in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. There we can see Jesus Christ as the Savior who was promised, who came into the world in God’s own good time, who completed his mission of atoning for the sins of the world when he died on the cross, and who rose again from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven 40 days later. Just as surely as he fulfilled all of God’s promises about redeeming the world, he will eventually keep his promise to judge the whole world and to take all believers to live with him in heaven, body and soul, forever.
Matthew chapter 13, verses 18-23
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means.” In this case, Jesus proceeds to explain the parable he has just spoken. “Listen,” he says, for that is what the whole parable is about—listening, listening to the Word of God. Some hear but don’t really listen. Some hear and listen, but only for a little while. Some hear and listen for a while, but imagine that they need not give their undivided attention to what God is telling them. They are too easily distracted. And some keep on hearing and listening; they grow in faith and in sanctification. They produce the fruits of faith in great abundance. They look forward to and finally experience all the joys of eternal life in heaven.
The seed that falls on the hard ground of the footpath points to those people who go through the motions of hearing the Word of God but almost immediately let the devil take it away from them. The devil calls God a liar, and many believe his lies and go with him to eternal destruction. God wanted to save them and invited them into his kingdom, but they simply declined his gracious invitation. They preferred to live this life according to the ignorance and the evil lusts of their sinful flesh. And God does not drive or drag anyone into his kingdom by force. Christ died for everybody and redeemed the whole world, but those who despise his salvation and reject him rightfully remain in Satan’s kingdom for time and for eternity.
The shallow ground describes the person who gladly hears the Word of God and believes it. He is very enthusiastic about being received into God’s kingdom and into membership in a Christian congregation. He expects that his Christian faith will exempt him from the troubles that other people experience in this life. He looks for success and prosperity, good health and uninterrupted happiness. (Sad to say, there are some false prophets who lure people into their churches by giving them such false hopes.) But then reality strikes. The troubles that are an inescapable part of living as sinful people in a sinful world come into this person’s life. He even faces some forms of persecution, some hardships that are inflicted upon him because of his Christian faith. He was unprepared for such developments, and he gives up his faith without much of a struggle.
A faith that is small and weak saves a person for heaven just as well as a strong, heroic faith saves. But we must not be satisfied with a weak faith because it can so easily be snuffed out. We rather want to put on the whole armor of God, so that we are fully protected against anything that might threaten to destroy our faith. You might want to refresh your memory on this matter by reading Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10-18.
Thorns represent “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.” The seed sown among thorns grows for a while but never really thrives. This kind of listener is still too concerned about material things and the problems of this life. He has great difficulty trusting God to provide for all his bodily needs. He imagines that if he can only accumulate enough money and all the good things that money can buy, then he will be perfectly happy. If he gets rich and still is not happy, he imagines that the solution is to get even richer, and he never has enough. Mammon is his god, and he becomes Mammon’s slave, so he never produces fruits of faith to glorify God.
If he fails to get rich, he may still pin his hopes on what money supposedly could accomplish for him. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and those who have little of it may love money as much as the person who is rolling in wealth. So do not imagine that the seed among the thorns contains no warning for you because you are not, and never expect to be, rich in material things. We live in a materialistic society, and all of us are constantly threatened by “the deceitfulness of wealth.”
Finally we come to the good seed that falls into good soil. Some hear the Word and understand and believe it, and they produce abundant fruits of faith. The most precious fruit is the sharing of God’s Word with others. In this way the seed of the Word literally is multiplied 30 or 60 or 100 times or more. God gives us his Word to believe and to share.
So the parable of the sower describes the various ways in which people who hear God’s Word respond to it. We can easily see that it is an accurate description. But what is the benefit of hearing this parable? Is it just to enable us to classify people as hard or shallow or thorny ground? Is it telling us that people are inherently different and that some simply are more receptive to the Word of God when they hear it? No, the Bible makes it very clear that by nature all of us are dead in trespasses and sins, totally incapable of responding at all to God’s Word, for it is foolishness to natural man (1st Corinthians chapter 2, verse 14). When people hear the gospel and believe it, that is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is a gift of God. On the other hand, when some hear the gospel and reject it, that is entirely their own fault. That doesn’t sound reasonable or fair to our human minds, but that is what God says, and we leave it at that. Any attempts on our part to logically explain this mystery of “why some are saved and not others” only leads to our denial or rejection of other clear Bible truths. So we simply marvel at the grace of God that saved us when we were as bad as all the rest of sinful humanity, and we look for ways to express our deep gratitude to our gracious God. “Amazing grace . . . that saved a wretch like me!”
Another benefit of this parable is to see ourselves all the way through it. By nature we all were like that hard ground, totally unreceptive to the gospel and at the mercy of the devil. Sometimes we are like that shallow ground, and we imagine that we don’t need to sink our roots deeply into the soil in order to be able to endure whatever might come into our lives. And we surely are all subject to “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.” As we take this whole parable to heart, let us thank God for having brought us to the knowledge of the truth and for having given us unlimited opportunities for growing in faith and godliness through the power of the gospel of Christ.
The parable of the weeds
Matthew chapter 13, verses 24-30
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
In this parable we have another man sowing good seed in his field, but he encounters different problems before he can reap a good harvest. An enemy comes at night and scatters weed seeds in the field. The weeds and the grain then sprout together. At first they look very much alike, but soon it becomes evident that there are noxious weeds in the field. The farmer realizes what has happened, but he instructs his workers to leave the weeds in the field. It would be impossible to uproot the weeds without destroying some of the good grain in the process. But at harvesttime the weeds can be separated from the good grain. Then the weeds will be burned, and the good grain will be safely stored in the barn.
Later Jesus explained this parable also, but Matthew inserts two more short parables of Jesus into this chapter before we come to that explanation.
The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast
Matthew chapter 13, verses 31-35
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
These two parables are similar to each other, but there also are some significant differences between them. Seed and yeast are both unimpressive in appearance, yet both have within themselves God’s power to grow and to accomplish marvelous things.
The mustard seed was the smallest of all the seeds that the people of Israel might plant in their gardens. Yet this small seed could grow into the largest plant in the garden, large enough so that birds could sit and build their nests in its branches.
Christ’s kingdom on earth also began in a very small and unimpressive manner, and this parable was a prophecy of the future development of his kingdom. This tiny mustard seed represents Christ. He came into this world as a child born in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem. His mother was an unknown peasant girl from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. A few simple shepherds came to see and to worship him, but hardly anyone else even noticed that he had been born. He spent his childhood in the home of Joseph the carpenter and Mary in Nazareth. At the age of 30 years he began his public ministry. He gathered a group of 12 unlearned men, mostly fishermen, as his disciples. For a time, his popularity increased, but, as time went on, the people realized that Jesus would never be the kind of king they wanted, and so most of his followers deserted him. After only three years of public teaching, he was captured by his enemies, condemned to death, and executed by crucifixion. Two of his friends hastily placed his body into a borrowed grave. Even his faithful disciples were convinced by then that he had failed utterly to establish the kingdom of which he had spoken.
Just as the death of the mustard seed in the ground was the beginning of a plant that could reach the size of a tree, so the death of Christ was the beginning of his church, which has extended to the very ends of the earth. Jesus’ resurrection proved that he had accomplished his purpose on this earth. And after his ascension his church grew rapidly, beginning with the three thousand who were brought to faith in Christ at Jerusalem just ten days later, on the day of Pentecost. That growth has continued to this day and will continue until the end of time.
The parable of the yeast points out other facts about the way Christ’s kingdom grows in this world. Yeast works quietly and invisibly, yet the effects of its working are very visible. This yeast pictures the power of the gospel of Christ and its method of working. The gospel is the only tool and the only power God has given us for nurturing and extending his church on earth. He simply tells us to spread the yeast of the gospel all over the world and watch it work in the mass of humanity, like yeast in a lump of dough. It works within people and changes them from the inside out.
We are not responsible for causing Christ’s church on earth to grow, but the Lord wants us to serve as his messengers. He wants us to deliver the message of his Word in its truth and purity, neither adding to it nor taking away from it, and the Holy Spirit will be responsible for the results. He does not judge us on the basis of the numbers we gain for his church but only on the basis of our faithfulness in sharing his Word.
In verse 35 Matthew reminds us that Jesus’ speaking in parables was another fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, namely, Asaph’s statement in Psalm 78, verse 2. There were no messianic prophecies that Jesus failed to fulfill. We may overlook some prophecies and fail to note Jesus’ fulfillment, but Jesus did not overlook or fail to fulfill any of them.
The parable of the weeds explained
Matthew chapter 13, verses 36-43
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
From here on, Jesus was indoors with his disciples. The first chance they got, they asked Jesus to explain the parable of the weeds. He told them that in this case the sower is the Son of Man, Jesus himself. The field is the whole world, and the good seed stands for his believers in this world. The weeds are the ungodly people whom Satan plants among God’s people in this world. The harvesters are the angels, who will separate the ungodly from the children of God on the day of judgment.
When judgment day comes, the angels will pick out all the unbelievers and escort them to the left hand of Jesus, their judge. There they will have to submit to his verdict of condemnation, and they will be cast into the torments of hell for all eternity. The righteous will share in the glory of their Lord in heaven for ever and ever.
Does this mean that we are to be unconcerned about unbelievers who are members of a Christian congregation? Not at all! Elsewhere the Bible tells us how to deal with impenitent sinners in a Christian congregation. After all other patient and orderly ways of dealing with impenitent sinners have failed to bring them to repentance, excommunication may be necessary.
Remember that in this parable the field is the world, not the church. We have no right to exterminate unbelievers from this world. There have been too many instances when the church attempted to do just that. Think of historical events like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the many religious wars, some of which still trouble us today. Or think of reformers like Huss in Bohemia and Savonarola in Italy. Martin Luther was also declared an outlaw because he dared to find fault with some of the corrupt practices of the church of his day and vowed that he would submit to no other authority than the Holy Scriptures. The church perverts justice when it, in Christ’s name, has presumed to torture and execute those whom it regards as heretics.
The parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl
Matthew chapter 13, verses 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The first parable tells us of a man who unexpectedly comes upon a treasure hidden in a field. It was a common practice for a wealthy person at that time to divide his wealth into thirds. One part he would keep in cash for carrying on business transactions. Another part he would invest in precious stones and jewels, which he could easily take with him if he ever had to flee from an advancing enemy army. The third part he would bury in the ground somewhere, hoping to dig it up and reclaim it when he was able to come back home. Of course, such a person did not always come home, and his buried treasure’s location might not be known to anyone else. Evidently, the man in this parable happened to find such a treasure. He very likely was not even looking for it. When he came upon it, however, he recognized its value. Without hesitation, he sold all his possessions so that he could buy the field and the treasure it contained.
The dealer in costly pearls made it his business to search far and wide for the finest possible pearls. When he found a pearl more perfect in size and shape and color than he had ever seen before, he just had to have that pearl. So he also sold all his possessions in order to buy that single perfect pearl.
The buried treasure and the costly pearl both represent the kingdom of God or Christ the Savior, who established that kingdom and rules over it with the gospel. That kingdom is more precious than anything else in the world, and only those who are received into that kingdom can correctly evaluate their other possessions. Those who recognize God’s kingdom as the ultimate good will judge their other possessions on the basis of their usefulness in supporting and extending Christ’s kingdom. That is the main purpose we are to serve in this world.
Some people of today may come upon the pearl of great price while they are searching for pearls of much lesser value among the writings of the great thinkers and philosophers of this world. They do not even know that the perfect pearl exists. Once they have found it, however, and the Holy Spirit has convinced them of its value, they realize that the gospel of Christ is in a class by itself, that it is the only way of salvation for sinners.
Today the treasures of Christ’s kingdom are available for all people in the sacred Scriptures. No book is easier to get than the Bible, and year by year it is becoming available in more and more translations in more and more languages. Yet many regard it only as a strange, ancient book that is difficult to understand. Without reading it themselves, they believe those who tell them that the Bible is obscure and full of contradictions. They don’t realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto their feet and a light for their path and that even a child can understand the fundamental message of Scripture: I am a sinner, but Jesus died for my sins. He forgives me freely and invites me to share the glories of heaven with him and all believers. Everything else in the Bible is comprehensible to us only as we keep this central truth in mind and relate all the rest of the Scriptures to it.
Just as the two men in these parables sold everything they had in order to purchase what they had found, so the kingdom of God must be bought for all of us. But the price is much more than we could possibly pay. The whole world would not be payment enough for a single soul. The filthy rags of our own personal righteousness could not even begin to make a down payment. The only possible solution was for someone else to pay the price for us, and the only one who could do that was God’s holy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The price he paid was his own holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. Now he offers us all the blessings of his kingdom for time and for eternity as gifts of his grace. He bought and paid for these blessings in full, not for himself but for us. And we do not lose these treasures when we share them. The more we give them away, the more richly we possess them ourselves.
The parable of the net
Matthew chapter 13, verses 47-52
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
The final parable in this chapter proclaims that the kingdom of heaven works like a dragnet that catches all kinds of fish. On the shore the fishermen simply sort out and discard the bad fish and keep the good ones. Many people are attracted to Christ’s church or are drawn into his church or remain within the visible church for the wrong reasons. Perhaps they just go through the motions because they were brought up that way. Some are there to please those to whom they are married. Some expect to gain a degree of respectability or even personal advantage or profit by associating with God’s people in a Christian congregation.
Some such “bad fish” may actually gain what they are looking for in Christ’s church, but they are doing themselves a tragic disservice if they refuse to repent of their sins and to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. They will spend eternity in “the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The disciples believed they understood the truths Jesus wanted to teach them by means of the seven parables in this chapter, but subsequent events clearly revealed that their understanding was far from perfect. They still had very much to learn about spiritual things. Before they could proceed from being disciples, or students, of God’s truths, they would have to learn to understand more fully the teachings of the Old Testament Scriptures, especially God’s plan of salvation and the prophecies that foretold how the Son of God would establish his eternal kingdom. They would also have to learn how Jesus fulfilled all the messianic promises. They would have to be familiar with all that Jesus taught and everything that the Holy Spirit revealed and caused the sacred writers to record for our learning in the New Testament Scriptures.
When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost, he perfected their understanding of God’s truth and brought to their remembrance everything Jesus had taught them. We have those same truths in the inspired Scriptures. We can keep on learning as long as we live and never exhaust the rich treasures of Holy Scripture, and in the process our spiritual riches to have and to share will increase 30, 60, or even 100 times!