Matthew 13

Matthew 13:1-9

13:1 That same day [presumably same day in which the severe confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees took place (12:24-45)] Jesus went out of the house [to be more accessible to people] and sat by the lake [Sea of Galilee].

13:2 Such large crowds gathered around Him [Jesus still very popular; crowds still eager to hear Him] that he got into a boat [easier to face and address the crowd from this place] and sat [customary position for Jewish teachers] in it, while all the people stood on the shore.

13:3 Then he told them many things in parables [to reveal truth (make it clearer) to those who wanted to understand and conceal it from those who only wanted to criticize/reject it], saying: “A farmer [focus of parable is not the sower (farmer)] went out to sow [customary to sow wheat or barley by hand] his seed.

13:4 As he [same sower] was scattering [perhaps flinging by hand] the seed [same seed], some [unavoidably] fell [focus of parable is the soils] along the path [too hard to receive seed; hardened by much foot traffic], and [it was walked on (Lk. 8:5)] the birds came and ate it up [quickly and completely].

13:5 Some fell on rocky places [limestone bedrock close to surface], where it did not have much soil. It sprang [germinated and grew] up quickly, because the soil was shallow [little depth of soil preventing the possibility of establishing deep roots; little retention of moisture in thin soil].

13:6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root [thus not able to reach moisture].

13:7 Other seed fell among thorns [deprive plants of sun and nourishment], which grew up [usually quickly] and choked the plants.

13:8 Still other [of the same kind] seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop [design and intent of the sower] — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

13:9 He who has ears [spiritual capacity], let him [personal responsibility] hear [ponder the parable and make appropriate application].”

Matthew 13:18-23

13:18 [originally, Jesus shared parable with the multitude and later revealed its meaning to His disciples (vv. 10-18)] “Listen [pay close attention] then to what the parable of the sower [minister, missionary, evangelist, any believer: responsible to declare the message but hearer is responsible for personal response to the message] means:

13:19 When anyone hears [depends on condition of the heart] the message about the kingdom [cf. Lk. 8:11] and does not understand it [does not let the truth penetrate], the evil one [Satan] comes and snatches [to rob/plunder] away [before person really understands it and has an opportunity to believe (Lk. 8:12)] what was sown in his heart [heart represents soil; the place of decision]. This is the seed sown along the path [hard, packed path; heart made hard by the traffic of the world].

13:20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places [thin layer of dirt on top of solid rock, allowing no chance for deep roots that would enable plants to survive] is the man who hears the word and at once [immediately and impulsively] receives it [profess to follow Christ] with joy [gladly].

13:21 But since he has no root [superficial response to the gospel with temporary results; no inner conviction; no root means no fruit], he lasts only a short time [temporary]. When [the intense heat of…] trouble [pressure] or persecution [affliction associated with accepting and following Christ] comes because of the word, he quickly falls [Gr. skandalizo: to stumble over] away [cf. John 6:66 re: crowds in Galilee who ceased to follow Jesus when He made demands on them].

13:22 The one who received the seed [nothing wrong with either seed or sower] that fell among the thorns [grow quickly, absorb nutrients, and choke out life] is the man who hears the word, but [note the competing thorns as: 1] the worries [undue cares/concerns; preoccupations/distractions] of this life [world] and [2] the deceitfulness [pleasure or delight in] of wealth [cf. 1 Tim. 6:9 and Matt. 6:24; the good life; see 2 Tim. 4:10 re: Demas and his love for the world] choke it, making it unfruitful.

13:23 But the one who received the seed [same as the seed that fell on other soils] that fell on good soil [“those with a noble and good heart” (Lk. 8:15)] is the man who hears the word and understands [refers more to spiritual receptivity than to mental ability] it. He produces a crop [because of obedience to what he has heard], yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:31-52

13:31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven [initially manifested in a small way in a small place] is like [similar] a [single] mustard seed [proverbial for its smallness], which a man took and planted in his field.

13:32 Though it is the smallest [easy to overlook its potential] of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest [grew to eight to ten feet high] of garden plants and becomes a tree [in same way the small beginnings of the kingdom would eventually result in the triumph of God’s rule], so that the birds of the air come and perch [indication of the size of the tree] in its branches.”

13:33 He told them still another parable [to illustrate another aspect of the kingdom]: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast [usually symbol of that which was evil or unclean, except in this case; “normally a small piece of dough kept from a previous baking and allowed to ferment” (Mounce); pervasive power] that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked [quietly and mysteriously] all through the dough.”

13:34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without [refers to a regular practice, not merely to a single occasion] using a parable.

13:35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter [and by so doing cast light on the purposes of God long kept hidden] things hidden since the creation of the world.”

13:36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house [cf. Matt. 13:1; probably in Capernaum]. His disciples [needed explanation] came [took the initiative] to him [we should seek answers from Him] and said, “Explain [“make thoroughly clear right now”] to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

13:37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed [the good seed is not the Word of God, but rather represents people converted through trusting the Word] is the Son of Man [Jesus].

13:38 The field is the world [field is not the church or the human heart but rather the world; Christ sows true believers throughout the world that they might bear fruit; cf. Matt. 28:19-20], and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one [“those whose character is evil”],

13:39 and the enemy who sows them [Satan sows counterfeit Christians (cf. 2 Cor. 11:26 re: “false brothers”) who believe a counterfeit Gospel (cf. Gal. 1:6-9), are trusting in a counterfeit righteousness (cf. Rom. 10:1-3), have a counterfeit church (cf. Rev. 2:9), and will ultimately produce a counterfeit Christ at the end of the age (cf. 2 Thes. 2:1-12)] is the devil [slanderer]. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

13:40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.

13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes [those who work against God and try to cause as many as possible to fall] sin and all who do evil.

13:42 They will throw [cast] them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping [loud crying] and gnashing [grinding] of teeth [phrase used as an expression of anger and frustration of the damned].

13:43 Then the righteous will shine [to shine out, to shine forth] like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure [emphasizes the surpassing worth of the kingdom] hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all [not too great a price to pay] he had [worth every sacrifice] and bought that field [could not live without it, willingly and gladly sold all he had to possess it].

13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls [emphasizes the surpassing worth of the kingdom].

13:46 When he found one of great value [costly], he went away and sold [rather eagerly] everything [demonstrates willingness and determination to surrender everything to gain the kingdom] he had and bought it [did not feel it was a sacrifice to do so].

13:47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net [dragnet; large rectangular seine; net pulled through water by two boats or net anchored to shored while boat pulled other end through the sea; seining process caught all kinds of fish] that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.

13:48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good [edible] fish in baskets, but threw the bad [worthless, unsuitable for eating] away.

13:49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate [on the basis of how people have responded to Jesus] the wicked [those who have rejected Christ] from the righteous [those who have placed their faith in Christ]

13:50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13:51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.

13:52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed [reference to disciple] about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

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