About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 13
proceeded to the lake, most likely the
3 tells us that Jesus spoke in many parables. Parables are stories to help
explain a point more clearly. Parables are analogies.
A couple things to note about parables and analogies are that they
aren’t the truth in themselves. They
are only meant to explain a truth or a point, and therefore they have
their limitations. One problem Bible readers have is to read into parables
more than what Jesus wanted us to read into them.
this is the story that Jesus told in verses 4 through 9.
There was a farmer who sowed his seed.
As He was sowing some of his seed happened to fall along the path
he was walking and the birds came and ate the seed up.
Some of the seed fell on rocky soil off to the side of the path.
This seed actually grew into a small plant, but because the soil
was shallow the plants couldn’t develop a good root system and so when
the sun beat down on the plants they withered and died.
Other seed fell among thorns. Plants
grew from these seeds as well but because the thorns took all the good
nutrients from the soil there was none left and so the plants died.
Still other seeds fell on the good soil where it was intended to
fall. These plants grew well
and the seeds produced 30, 60 and 100 fold.
9 says, “he that has ears to hear, let him hear”.
This means that if you have physical ears to hear with then listen
and understand the meaning of this story.
verse 11 we see the disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him why He spoke
in parables. This was not what they were used to hearing from their
replies in verse 11 by saying, “ the knowledge of the secrets of the
understand from Jesus’ words that there are secrets associated with the
verse 12 Jesus says that whoever has more will be given him, but whoever
doesn’t have, that which he has will be taken from him.
At first glance this might not sound so fair.
In context Jesus is speaking of knowledge and understanding.
The Jewish leadership had the knowledge of the Old Testament
Scriptures but failed to understand them, so God would take away what
little understanding they had and would give this understanding to the
unlearned followers of Jesus instead.
New Testament principle at work here is that if you don’t use it, you
lose it. Whatever Jesus gives
us, He wants us to use for His Kingdom purposes.
all that Jesus just said was in response to the disciples asking Jesus why
He spoke in parables. What Jesus just said then means that the parables
will hide the truth from the Jewish leadership and not from the unlearned.
God hiding secrets from the Jewish leadership, Paul often speaks about the
“mysteries of God that have
been hidden but now are revealed”. These mysteries of the past are the fact that the Holy Spirit has
come to live in both Jew and Gentile.
Those who receive God‘s Spirit make up His new covenant people.
No longer is God’s people Jews only, and no longer does God’s
people live by an external law, but by the Spirit of God.
verse 13 Jesus says, “this is why I speak in parables”.
He then quotes from Isaiah 6:9 and 10 to support His thinking.
Isaiah prophesies that some will see, but not really see, and some
will hear but not understand. Jesus
is saying that many people to whom He was speaking to wouldn’t
understand and this was prophesied long ago.
continues this prophecy in verse 14 when He says that they will be
“ever” seeing and hearing but never perceiving.
The Pharisees, along with the other Jewish leaders were always
striving to learn more, much like we do today, yet in their much learning
they had a complete lack of understanding.
There is a big difference between knowledge and understanding.
Many people have knowledge but fail to understand the meaning and
the realities of the knowledge.
15 says that people’s hearts have become so calloused that they no
longer are able to hear and understand.
This was true with the Jewish leaders as it is with many people
today. Many have allowed their
hearts to become calloused from the truth so they have no idea of truth
even though it may appear before them.
hearts is a problem in many aspects of life.
A calloused heart is a hard heart, a heart that no longer cares for
that which is important. It’s
a cold heart with great walls built up around it, not allowing anyone in.
continues this prophecy that basically says that if people’s hearts
weren’t so calloused, they’d be able to see, hear and understand to
the point that they’d turn to Him for healing, and Jesus would heal
them. I don’t believe Jesus
is talking about physical healing here.
He healed many people, but He was not allowed to heal many
people’s hard hearts. In
order for the heart to be healed, people would have to come to Jesus in
repentance and humility, and that seldom happened.
contrast to the hard and calloused hearts of the Jewish leaders, in verse
16 Jesus tells His close followers that their ears and eyes are blessed,
because they do perceive and understand, even though you can tell
throughout the gospels that Jesus’ disciples still had a hard time
perceiving and understanding. We
do note though that after receiving the Spirit in Acts 2 this changed.
verse 17 Jesus states why these followers were so blessed. He had just
quoted from Isaiah, a highly respected Old Testament prophet, at least at
that point in history. He
wasn’t so respected when he was alive.
Those prophets Jesus says “longed” to see and hear what the
disciples of Jesus saw and heard. They
longed for those days because much of what they prophesied was about the
times of Jesus. This gives us
a hint of what the prophets were all about, and that is, they were all
verse 18 Jesus says, “listen to what the parable of the sower means”.
Verse 19 begins the explanation.
Jesus says that when one “hears” the message of the Kingdom and
“doesn’t understand it”, the evil one comes and snatches the message
from the person’s heart. This
is the seed that is sown along the path.
thing to note here is that the person actually hears the word in his
heart. The word “heart” In
the New Testament means both the place where we think and the place where
we feel in our lives. That’s
our brain and our emotions. The
message actually gets into our brains but for one reason or another its
not understood, and immediately the devil gets in and steels that message
away. At that point it is no
longer there to be understood by the recipient of the message.
think the path has some significance here.
When thinking of a farmer in those days, he did not live in the
country in his farm. He lived
in a village and had a plot of land outside of the village in the
country-side. Therefore he
would have carried his seed out to his plot of land to plant.
he got to his plot of land he’d “scatter” the seed all around as it
says in verse 4. As he waves
his arms back and forth in the scattering motion some of the seeds would
be thrown outside of the cultivated area of land onto the path, the rocky
ground and into the thorn bushes. He
wasn’t intentionally planting the seed there because he would have known
that the seed would not have had much chance of growing there.
But most of all he wanted to plant on his property, not along the
side of the road.
my thinking this relates to us sharing the gospel to those we don’t set
out to share it with. We might
just happen to meet someone for a few moments and share the message of the
Kingdom and never see that person again.
If the person doesn’t get a chance to understand, the devil comes
and takes away the seed of the gospel we just planted.
shows us where our battle ground is. It’s
in the spiritual world where the devil resides.
20 and 21 explain the seed sown on the rocky soil.
This soil is off the path to the farmers field.
It might well belong to him, but it’s not the place where he has
cultivated for planting. So
this seed wasn’t necessarily meant to be planted either.
Yet because the seed fell off the beaten trail it had a chance to
grow even though the ground is rocky, meaning the root system could not
grow and so the plant soon dies.
a person hears the message of the good news and receives it, Jesus says,
it actually grows. The
difference between this person and the last person is that the last person
didn’t understand the message. This
person does understand and he receives it, or acts upon it.
The problem with this person is that he does not allow the plant to
take root and when trouble or persecution comes on account of Jesus, he
turns away from Jesus.
22 explains the seed planted among thorns.
Once again, the farmer would not have intentionally planted this
seed among thorns. He would have known better, but some fell there anyway.
seed planted is like those who receive the message but “the worries of
life and the deceitfulness of wealth” chokes the message and so the
person becomes “unfruitful”. Jesus
doesn’t say that this person’s faith in the message dies as in the
last two cases. He just says
that he becomes unfruitful. This
tells me that this person is still a believer, but a believer that is
unproductive in the Kingdom
might note part of Jesus’ thinking concerning wealth here.
It’s not something that North American Christians care to
understand, but Jesus says that wealth can be deceitful.
This means that wealth, although it appears to be great and
beneficial, that appearance is deceiving you because wealth is not what it
appears to be.
23 explains the seed that has fallen on the good soil. This is where the
farmer has intentionally planted his seed.
This would be his cultivated field.
He would have cultivated it and worked with it over a period of
time to get the field ready for planting.
The seed in this field produces 30, 60, or 100 fold of
plants are those that we intend and plan to work with in sharing the
gospel. These are people that
we don’t casually meet and may never see again. These people are our own
personal mission field. We
spend time and energy with these people in the cultivation process in
order to plant the seed at the right time.
When we do plant the seed in the person, it takes root and grows
and that person becomes a fruitful and effective Christian in the
should note that Jesus says that some people will be 30% effective, while
others will be 60 or 100% effective in God’s Kingdom.
Not all of us will be the 100% effective Christian.
That is just a fact of life that Jesus appears to be acknowledging
here. I think we all can do
better but sometimes pastors try to make a 30% Christian into a 100%
Christian and fail because it just won’t happen for various reasons,
many of which are good and appropriate reasons.
is in the process of teaching on different aspects of the Kingdom
verses 24 through 26 Jesus
paints the picture by saying that a man planted a field of wheat, yet
while he slept his enemy snuck in and planted weeds in the same field, so
as the wheat grew, so did the weeds.
story continues in verses 27 through 30.
One of the man’s servants notices that there were weeds growing
with the wheat so he asks his master if he had just planted wheat or did
he plant the weeds as well.
owner answers by saying that he only planted wheat.
So to be expected, the servant asked if he should pull out the
weeds. The owner of the field
told the servant to leave the weeds in the field if by chance by pulling
out some weeds, he pulls out some wheat by mistake.
only makes sense. Anyone who
has ever had a garden knows that by pulling out the weeds, at times you
pull out some garden plants as well.
owner of the field told the servant that the harvesters would pull the
weeds out at harvest time. They’d
pull the weeds out first and burn them.
Then once the weeds were gone, then the wheat would be harvested.
At that point the difference between the weeds and the wheat should
be noticeable and there should be no mistake, mistaking a weed for wheat.
is clear that Jesus is speaking about Christians and non-Christians here.
At the end of this age the angels will come to harvest.
The weeds, or the non-Christians will be taken from this world and
cast into the
verses 31 and 32 Jesus tells yet another parable that describes the
verse 33 Jesus gives another parable that is meant to show the same
principle. He says that women
put yeast into a large amount of flour and mixes it all together so the
yeast will cause the dough to rise.
of these parables suggest that the
also can be seen in those Jesus chose to follow Him and to spread the news
of His Kingdom. He chose
ordinary men. He did not go to the Sanhedrin to find the Twelve.
He found them in fishing boats, and in tax collecting booths.
He chose the working men of the world to be His closest friends and
those He entrusted the gospel to.
way in which the
to this day the
verses 34 and 35 Matthew tells us that Jesus always spoke to the crowds in
parables. If those hearing the
parables really wanted to know what they
meant, they could seek Jesus out for the answers, yet for the majority,
they just heard and didn’t understand because they did not seek Jesus
out for the answers. Most of
the crowd was only following Jesus for what they could get from Him.
fact that Jesus spoke in parables actually fulfilled Psa. 78:2.
So here we see yet another prophetic Psalm.
The Psalm goes on to say that Jesus will utter things that have
been hidden. We’ve noted
this before. Paul, in his
writings speaks of the mysteries of God that have been hidden in times
past. Jesus is alluding to
these mysteries or secrets in these parables.
The mysteries are all about the
verse 36 we see Jesus leaving the crowd to go into a house. While in the
house some of His disciples ask Him what the parable of the weeds in the
field meant. So although Jesus
spoke to the crowds in parables, it is understandable that they didn’t
really have a clue to what Jesus was talking about.
If Jesus’ closest and most dedicated followers didn’t
understand, then it’s not likely that most of the crowd understood.
verse 37 Jesus says that the Son of Man is the one who sowed the seed, and
verse 38 Jesus says that they
field represents the world while the seed sown are “the sons of the
Kingdom”, that would be His disciples, which would include us today.
in verse 38 we see that the weeds are the “sons of the evil one”. The
evil one is the devil and the sons of
the evil one are those who follow satan .
verse 39 Jesus says that the harvest is the harvest of people at the end
of the age and the harvesters are angels.
is very explicit in explaining this parable.
He leaves nothing out. In
verse 40 He says “as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so
it will be at the end of the age”. Jesus
continues in verse 41 by saying that at the end of the age He will send
out His angels into His Kingdom. They
will root out everything that causes sin and everyone who does evil.
In verse 42 the angels will throw them into a furnace of fire where
there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in inexpressible horror.
This furnace of fire is what is called the Lake
verse 43 Jesus says that “then the righteous will shine like the sun in
the Kingdom”. We
notice that at the end of the age that they evil ones will be removed from
the earth and burned. For
Futurists who believe in a literal 1000 years of the earthly rule of
Jesus, the end that Jesus is talking about here is after those 1000 years.
At the end of the 1000 years the devil is released for one last
brief time, after which he and all who do evil will be thrown into the Lake
for all of eternity. The
remaining righteous will remain on the earth, but the earth will be
re-made into the New Earth where we will rule with Jesus forever. We stay
on the New Earth. We don’t
live in Heaven.
have suggested that the good plants and the weeds grow together in “the
church”. But Jesus is saying
nothing here about the church. The
field where the good seed is planted is the world, not the church.
Kingdom spoken of here is the
verses 44 and 45 Jesus gives two short parables or analogies concerning
is the way it is with the Kingdom
might remember Jesus telling us earlier to “be wise or shrewd as a snake
but harmless as a dove”. This
parable shows us how shrewd the man was to first burry the treasure and
then go and buy the field.
actually mentions pearls in verses 45 and 46. He speaks of a merchant who
finds a pearl of great price. He
wants this pearl because he knows how valuable it is, so he, like the man
in verse 44 sells all that he has to buy this pearl.
point to both of these analogies is that Jesus is worth giving everything
we have up for. He must be
first in our lives, and when we try to hang on to our own ways, our own
things, we deny Him the ability to be Lord over those things we hold back.
The simple truth is that God’s Kingdom is worth giving all things
verse 47 to 50 Jesus tells a parable of a net being cast into the water.
This parable is very similar to the parable of the weeds growing up
with the good plants. The moral of the story is the same.
In this parable fishermen catch a great number of fish.
The net gets so full that they have to pull it in.
The fishermen then separate the good fish that can be eaten from
the fish that is not good to be eaten.
The bad fish are burned in a fire.
it is at the end of this age when God will send His angels to separate the
wicked from those who have given their lives to Jesus.
As in the parable of the weeds and the wheat, the evil ones are
cast into the
verse 51 Jesus pauses to ask His disciples if they have understood the
things that He has been telling them.
The disciples replied by saying that they did understand what Jesus
was saying. Whether they
really understood every last detail of what Jesus is saying is somewhat
questionable. We see them many
times acting as if they don’t understand what Jesus tells them and at
these times Jesus gets a bit frustrated with them.
But it might well be that they did understand what Jesus was saying
on this particular occasion, but not necessarily on every occasion.
section closes in verse 52 with Jesus saying, “therefore every teacher
of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom of Heaven is like a
owner of a house who brings out of the storeroom of his house both new
treasures as well as old”. Jesus
is specifically talking about the “teachers of the Law” with these
words. He’s not talking
about anyone else.
teachers of the Law believed and taught all the old truths of God found in
the Old Testament. Yet if they
believed in and followed the instruction of Jesus as He says here, then
they’ve got some new truth to believe in and teach.
Thus the teacher of the Law will bring out both the new and the old
teachings from his storeroom to teach the people.
need to know here that Jesus isn’t discounting the old, or throwing the
old completely out. What He is
doing here is giving a hint that the new teachings He is presenting must
shed light on the old teaching. Or
another way to put it is that the old should be interpreted by the new
because the old is fulfilled in the new, or the old spoke about the new.
truth of the Old Testament must be understood in light of the New
Testament. If you don’t
understand this basic principle of Biblical interpretation you will not
live your life properly as a New Testament Christian.
You’ll be living as an Old Testament Jew, someone you are not.
my thinking, this is one of the most misunderstood issues for Christians
today. They do not know how to
understand the Old Testament as New Testament Christians.
They read and understand the Old Testament as if it is a stand
alone book, something it’s not. All
the prophecies, all the Laws, and many of the historical events of the Old
Testament spoke of better days to come.
Those better days have arrived and they are all about Jesus.
It is mandatory that we interpret the Old Testament from a New
verses 53 and 54 we see that Jesus is finished teaching the crowds in
parables on this occasion and he returns to His home of
is clear that the ruling people of the synagogue allowed Jesus to teach,
at least for a while. Yet just
because He was allowed to teach does not make him an official teacher of
the Law as seen by the Jewish leadership.
people who heard Jesus teach were amazed at His wisdom and the miracles He
performed. They’d never seen
anyone like Jesus before. The
stark contrast between Him and the teachers of the Law was readily
apparent. He spoke with authority, as if He was God’s messenger, which
He was. The people were used
of vague lectures based on Old Testament commentaries.
On top of the way in which Jesus taught was the miracles that
accompanied His teaching, something people didn’t see in their leaders.
verse 55 the people of
verse 55 we see that Jesus had at least 4 brothers.
The James mentioned here later become one of the prominent leaders
in the Jerusalem
church. He also wrote the
letter of James found in the New Testament.
see that these people knew Mary. She
was obviously still alive. Matthew
did not mention the name of Jesus’ earthly father.
He only mentions that Jesus’ father is, or was a carpenter.
Most scholars feel that Joseph was no longer alive at this point in
verse 56 the people of Capernaum
note that Jesus’ sisters were with them.
How many sisters Jesus had is uncertain.
in verse 56 they wondered how Jesus got “all these things”, as in, His
wisdom and His miracles.
a result of this questioning the Jews of Capernaum “took offense” at
Jesus. Even though they saw
the miracles and acknowledged His wisdom they took offense at Jesus.
They rejected Him. They
were irritated at what He had to say.
responded to their rejection by saying, “only in his own town and in his
own house is a prophet without honor”.
The simple point that Jesus is making is that a prophet, which He
was, is not honored in his home town and among his family.
In Jesus’ case His home town was
chapter closes in verse 58 with Matthew telling us that Jesus didn’t do
many miracles in His home town because of the people’s lack of faith.
This verse should not be taken with the understanding that lack of
faith prevents miracles and healings so somehow we must muster up more
faith to get healed. It
wasn’t a matter of enough faith. It
was a matter that faith is trust and acceptance of a person, and these
people had no trust and no acceptance for Jesus.
They did not come to Him for healing because they were offended by
Him. Because they did not come to Him, Jesus did not go out of His way to
perform miracles for them.
more to healing and miracles than faith.
It’s my opinion as stated elsewhere that Jesus healed many people
who had little faith, or little to no trust in Him.
He did not turn anyone away who wanted to be healed even if they
had little faith. Faith
wasn’t always the key. The
key on Jesus’ part was to back up what He said with these miraculous
signs. Once again, the people
in Jesus’ home town were not healed because their lack of trust in Him
prevented them to come to Him to be healed.
It’s that simple.