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Parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13)


Matthew 13:1-23

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Matthew 13


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The Sower Parable 

Wheat and weeds

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares in a Last Days Context





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Matthew 13

Jesus speaks in parables.
The parable of the sower
On that day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea side. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying: Listen, the sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side and the birds came and devoured them. 5 And others fell upon the rocky places where they had not much earth, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth. 6 And when the sun had risen, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And others fell upon the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 And others fell upon the good ground and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He that has ears, let him hear.
   10 And the disciples came and said to him: Why do you speak to them in parables? 11 And he answered and said to them: To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whoever has, to him shall be given and he shall have abundance, but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even what he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which said: By hearing you shall hear and shall in no wise understand, and seeing you shall see and shall in no wise perceive. 15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and repent, so that I should heal them.
   16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see and saw them not, and to hear the things which you hear and heard them not.
   18 Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and understands it not, then comes the evil one and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is he that was sown by the way side. 20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that hears the word and immediately with joy receives it. 21 Yet he does not have root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that hears the word, and the care of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that hears the word and understands it- who truly carries fruit and brings it forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Other parables of the kingdom
24 He set another parable before them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then went away. 26 But when the plants sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him: Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds? 28 And he said to them: An enemy has done this! And the servants said to him: Then do you want us to go and gather them up? 29 But he said: No. Lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up the weeds first and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.
   31 He set another parable before them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. 32 Which indeed is smaller than all seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and lodge in its branches.
   33 He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until it was all raised.
   34 All these things spoke Jesus in parables to the crowds, and without a parable he said nothing to them. 35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.
   36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying: Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field. 37 And he answered and said: He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one. 39 The enemy that sowed them is the Devil, the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are angels. 40 As therefore the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and them that do iniquity, 42 and shall cast them into the fiery furnace. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
   44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid, and in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.
   45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is a merchant seeking fine pearls. 46 And having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
   47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So shall it be in the end of the world. The angels shall come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and shall cast them into the fiery furnace. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
   51 Have you understood all these things? They said to him: Yes. 52 And he said to them: Therefore every scribe who has been made a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out from his treasure things new and old.

Jesus visits His home town
53 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there. 54 And coming into his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so much so that they were astonished, and said: From where has this man received this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then did this man get all these things? 57 And they were offended by him. But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown and in his own house. 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.


13:9 Not everyone has the capacity to hear and understand the Gospel; not all have faith (2 Thess. 3:2). But those of us who do should use the potential we’ve been given.

13:11 The parables weren’t stories with an obvious, easy to understand meaning. Jesus used them in order to filter out those who didn’t want to understand. For them the parables were confusing and obscured His message. There’s an upward spiral and also a downward spiral in our relationship with God.

13:12 How can a person who has nothing have what he has taken away from him? Maybe Jesus meant us to read in an ellipsis: ‘the person who [thought he] had nothing [even though he does], will have even that taken from him’. This would be like the one talent man of Mt. 25:24. People have more than they think; for God’s generosity is greater than we imagine. 13:21 Trial comes into our lives soon after baptism, as Israel were ‘baptized’ in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1,2) and very soon encountered problems in the wilderness [no food or water].

13:28 Jesus foresaw that His followers would have a tendency towards trying to do God’s judgment for Him; He explains (:29) that it’s not possible for us to judge who is who. It’s therefore a fact that there will be insincere people growing within the field of the church, next to those who are sincere. They have an appearance of growth. But we must leave them until harvest- the return of Jesus.

13:32 From tiny beginnings- reading a Bible, noticing an advertisement, meeting someone ‘by chance’- we will come to eternity. We will be a refuge for others then. We will look back on this life and it will seem so disproportionate- that we got ‘there’ from ‘here’.

13:39 Angels- First we will know that Jesus has returned is that our Angel will be standing next to us and inviting us to go meet Him.

13:46 Often Jesus intends us to think how the stories continue or end. So, what did the man do now? No wealth or possessions, just one stone. Surely he looked at it and loved it and treasured it more than anything else. This should be our attitude to the Kingdom of God.

13:50 Banging teeth is a symbol of anger with oneself.

13:55 Jesus never sinned, neither in commission nor omission, for all those 30 years He lived amongst them in Nazareth. But they never noticed He was anything special. This isn’t only an essay in His utter humanity. It challenges us, for whenever we appear righteous in the eyes of the world, they perceive it and dislike it. But somehow the perfection of Jesus wasn’t noticeable. Hence He was indeed perfect.