13:1-9 This is the 3rd major speech section. Jesus delivered this parable, without explanation, to a multitude of people. They were all familiar with farming and knew Jesus was not teaching only about that. There was a spiritual meaning behind this parable, but what was it?
13:10-17 Why even use parables? Jesus used them to bless those who were seeking His kingdom. Parables illustrated moral and spiritual truths. They were easy for an illiterate people to remember. Those who were truly seeking would be able to discern or find out the meaning of each parable. The rest would gain nothing from the message. This worked to Jesus’ advantage.
13:18-23 This parable is also in Mark 4 and Luke 8. There is little difference between the 3 accounts. The soil represents our hearts; the seed, God’s Word. We receive the message with varying degrees of openness, which determines how effective it is in our lives. If we don’t understand it (make a connection within the mind) Satan steals away our opportunity to receive the Word. If our hearts are soft as we receive the message, it reproduces Christ in ourselves and others.
13:24-30 The tares (Grk Zizania) in this parable refer to a specific weed known as Darnel. This tall grassy weed looks just like wheat until it blossoms. Then the difference is obvious. Scattering Darnel in one’s wheat field was cruel. Farming must have been very competitive in Jesus’ day. This parable is explained in 13:36-43.
13:31-35 God’s kingdom started small like a mustard seed, but it grew. Many have benefited from God’s kingdom. The church benefits not only its members, but the whole community. Like yeast, the kingdom grows and spreads to all mankind (Acts 4:4; 5:28; 9:31; 13:49; 19:20; 28:21-22). Even Jesus’ speaking in parables fulfilled prophecy from Psalm 78:2.
13:36-43 Satan, our enemy, plants many people around us who look like Christians. They are actually children of Satan. At the harvest of Judgment Day, we will see who God’s children are. The
rest will face eternal torment. In the mean time we must be careful not to be pulled into sin by these copycats. Don’t let them fool you into forgetting what real Christianity looks like. Those who remain faithful will see the beauty of God’s eternal glory. This is the third time the phrase, He who has ears to hear, let him hear, has appeared in Matthew. The teachings of Jesus were available to anyone willing to listen.
13:44-46 many do not understand the Christian walk because they do not see the hidden treasure; a treasure so precious it is worth giving up all that we have. To the outsider, the sacrifices we make seem pointless. To us, the sacrifices are minute compared to the reward of having a relationship with Jesus.
13:47-52 The kingdom of heaven is like… we have heard this phrase 8 times in this chapter alone. It appears 30 times in the book of Matthew. Jesus used parables to explain a kingdom that was not yet in their possession but was actually in the process of being delivered. Many assume the kingdom of heaven, means heaven. This is only partially true. The kingdom is everyone who is subject to the King. If those in the church are His subjects, than the church is also the kingdom. In this parable of the net, Jesus is not saying the bad are also in the kingdom merely because there are bad fish caught in the net, only that the evil are constantly in close proximity to the righteous (13:28), but a righteous judgment awaits all mankind. With parables one must be cautious not to go beyond the basic intended meaning. Jesus then checks for understanding and explains a teacher of God’s Word shares both old and new treasures. From a practical standpoint, Jesus may be saying this for our sake. As good teachers today, we should remember to teach lessons from the Old Covenant as well as the New.
13:53-58 Matthew ends Jesus’ speech section in the familiar way. He also shows how difficult it is to minister to those who are familiar with your younger days. Family is often difficult for us to reach. This text bears out plainly that Jesus did have physical brothers and sisters. They are even named. His hometown people took offense at him because familiarity breeds contempt. Their lack of faith made ministering to them an unwise use of Jesus’ precious time. Jesus loved everyone but focused on the most open.
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