Matthew 13:24-58 – May 17, 2020
The Rest of the Parables – Chapter 13
Introduction/Summary: When unbelief investigates the supernatural work of God it comes up empty. It cannot recognize the works of God because it will not recognize the truth of God. (J.M.) This entire chapter points to the contrast between two options belief and unbelief with a tool for recognizing belief – fruit/paying the price. On that basis alone, Christ either accepts or rejects one into the kingdom of God. There is no middle ground. Either you believe in Him or you don’t. It is really that simple.
Review – Parable of the Sower 13:9 Jesus in verses 4-8 used the examples given as an insightful way of looking at men’s and women’s hearts when it comes to the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Look at the examples given and then look at your own heart and see which one applies to you and your heart.
12:18-23 Jesus speaks clearly on what each section of the parable of the sower means. Look at each one in turn, then consider John 15:1-6 & Matthew 3:8 in reference to the last two. Q: What is the condition of your heart? What fruit is there in your life?
Fruit: Turn to Galatians 5:22 to see God’s list of fruit of the Spirit.
13:24-30 Parable of the Weeds or of the Wheat and the Tares . The weeds or tares were probably darnel, a weed that could pass for wheat until it matures. Darnel is aka false wheat. Sowing darnel into the wheat field of an enemy was not unknown and Rome had laws against doing so. Here it pictures Satan’s attempts to deceive the church by mixing his followers with God’s followers. Before explaining this parable to His disciples Jesus presents two more parables.
12:31-35 Parables of the Mustard Seed and of Yeast. Mustard plants in Israel sometimes grow to a height of 15 feet or more with branches able to support nests of birds. Some believe the reference to birds refers to followers of Satan, others I agree with, believe it refers to Gentiles coming to the faith as prophesied in Ezekiel 17:23 and 31:6.
The Yeast or Leaven – the kingdom/the church is pictured as yeast quietly growing and permeating all it touches.
A Pause where Matthew explains Jesus use of parables for the rest of His Galilean ministry quoting Psalm 78:2.
13:36-43 Parable of Weeds/Tares Explained. Preview of the Great Commission. Jesus is the only one who can save sinners, even through the teaching, preaching, witnessing, and acts of believers, Romans 10:14: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without [a messenger] someone preaching to them. this
v43 Believers Shine because they have the light and the spirit of Jesus within them along with the astonishing and amazing message of the gospel. Daniel 12:3: Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. The source of the light John 1:4-5: In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
12:44 Parable of the Hidden Treasure & 12:45-46 Parable of the Pearl. Both parables, according to MacArthur, have an identical meaning where salvation is pictured as initially hidden from most people. You may stumble across it hidden in a field or you may be hunting for it and upon finding it discover how great its value really is. Bottom line for both is “How valuable is the kingdom of heaven to you once you find it?” Jesus gave everything for His pearl – the church, us.
12:47-50 Parable of the Net or Dragnet. Much like the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds in the field, all in the net have to be separated, sorted out. Those claiming to be believers, but are not will be sorted out in the judgment.
12:51-52 Do You Understand. Still not speaking to crowds, but only to His disciples (v36) Jesus asks, Have you understood these things? Then in v52, the disciples are not to spurn the old for the sake of the new. Instead they are to understand new insights from the parables in light of old truths and vice versa. The OT and the NT make up one single Bible. The NT is OT revealed and the OT is NT concealed.
12:53-58 Prophet without honor. Going to v57, it parallels the modern day saying “familiarity breeds contempt.” Many of those who knew Jesus as a boy and a young man and concluded He was nothing special. with v58 being the sad result. Effectively Matthew is telling us “Miracles belong to those who are ready to believe”
BOTTOM LINE: Unbelief cannot recognize the works of God because it will not recognize the truth of God. We have two options, only two, belief and unbelief with a tool for recognizing belief – fruit/paying the price. On that basis alone, Christ either accepts or rejects one into the kingdom of God. No middle ground exists.