Matthew 13

The present age will be marked to its end by the presence of both professors of religion and possessors – sinners and saints. The believer’s work is to sow the Word of God in faith, not expecting thereby to convert the whole world, but in expectation of Him, who at the end of the age, will come with His angels to separate the good and the bad to make an end of sinners and set up His glorious Kingdom.

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 ¶ Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

31 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

33 ¶ Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

53 ¶ And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 13:1-9 – ​Sowing in Different Soils 
   The varying results of gospel preaching are due, not primarily to the sower or to the seed, but to the ground. Four classes of hearers are described in this parable. (1) The wayside or path, trampled hard as the sower goes to and fro. It was once soft, rich loam like the rest of the field, but in the course of years it has been trodden down by passengers and traffic. The seed falls on the surface, but cannot penetrate. When our heart reaches that condition, we need to ask God to drive through us the ploughshare of conviction or sorrow. (2) There is the superficial soil, very light and thin, beneath which lies the rock. How many are easily moved and touched, but refuse to allow God’s truth time to root itself and are as quickly moved by some other appeal. (3) They are the rich with their luxuries, and the poor with their cares, in the thorny ground of whose divided hearts there is no chance for the struggling ears of grace. (4) A fourth part of our hearers will receive the implanted Word into true hearts, and their hundred-fold will amply repay our toils and tears. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 13:10-23 – ​Teaching for the Teachable

   Jesus defended His use of parables. He said that He carefully avoided stating the truths of the Kingdom too plainly, so as not to increase the condemnation of those who could not or would not accept them. But where the disciples cared to penetrate below the husk of the story or parable, they would reach the kernel of heavenly significance. It is given to meek and teachable hearts to know the secrets of God. Let us draw near to the great teacher, the Holy Spirit, asking Him to make us know the kernel and heart of the Word of God. See I Corinthians 2:6, etc.
   Note these points in our Lord’s explanation of His parable: (1.) Beware of the evil one, who comes surreptitiously as soon as the sermon is over. (2.) The joy of the young convert must be distinguished from that of the superficial hearer. It is joy in Christ, rather than in the novelty and beauty of the words about Christ. (3.) Expect tribulation where the gospel is faithfully proclaimed. (4.) The cares of poverty hinder as well as the riches of wealth. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 13:11—It is given unto you to know.

​   In explanation of this statement, our Lord reiterates his favorite saying: “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (v. 12). His disciples had already given heed to his words. On the thin soil of their hearts the precious seed had already begun to germinate: and as it throve, it prepared the way for more and more to follow.
   In the case of the crowds that pressed around Him, however, there was no such earnest giving heed. They were content with the interest, the beauty and grace, of his nature-teaching, without a thought of is deeper aspects. Hearing, they did not understand; seeing, they did not perceive; face to face with Incarnate Truth, they thought only that He had a pleasant voice, and could play skilfully on the harp.
   First, Understand what you hear. Do not be content to have a merely intellectual appreciation of its force or beauty; but open your heart to meditate and ponder it. It is only thus that truth really strikes its roots into the soul, and defies the birds.
   Second, Beware of the response of mere emotion. Too many of these receive the word with joy. Their expressions of interest and pleasure are loud and emphatic. Tears course down their cheeks. You think them most hopeful. But it passes like the sunshine and cloud of an April day.
   Third, Guard against cares and worldly success. The first, of the poor; the second, of the rich. There is not room in the heart, or nutrition in the soul, for the absorbing pursuit of both earth and heaven, of time and eternity.
   Fourth, Practice what you hear. Remember that not the hearers of the word, but the doers of the work, are blessed. —Our Daily Homily

​Matthew 13:22 – We cannot grow good wheat if we also grow the thorns of the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the pleasures of this life. (Moody)

Matthew 13:24-33 – ​Other Parables of the Kingdom

   The tare was a species of rye grass, which in its earlier stages, closely resembled wheat. In this world, and in the Church, professors are closely mingled with possessors. But there come great times of revealing, in the trials and difficulties of life, and in fact Satan and his angels never sleep. Let us beware of them, but be not afraid: Christ is stronger.
   The mustard seed and the leaven represent the extensive and intensive, the outward and inward, the objective and subjective, aspects of Christianity. Sometimes when the Church is reaching its branches to the farthest, its heart is being corrupted by the slow spread of evil. See I Corinthians 5:7-8. See what stress our Lord lays on unnoticed beginnings! What seed is smaller than the mustard! Yet it may be the gateway through which Nature may pour her inner energies, forcing the rootlet down and the green shoot up. And it requires but a very small amount of leaven to permeate a large quantity of meal. Bigness is not greatness. Watch the first speck of sin; cherish each grain of holy impulse. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 13:30

​​   It is God’s way to let “both grow together.” Here are lessons of patience and of charity. If God can wait, His servants can. If the Master of the harvest can bear with the tares, His children need not be anxious about them. The wheat and the tares in their early growth are alike; the best farmer cannot distinguish them. God sees the difference; man cannot, but “the day shall declare it” (1 Corinthians 3:13). There is no tareless wheat-field, there is no pure Church on earth. The tares will not always be hidden, but when God’s sickle is thrust in they will be given to the fire. The wheat will all be gathered in due time, – not one of God’s children will be lost. When we see the tares, let us be patient; we would have cast Judas out long before Jesus did. He may try the faith, the charity, and the patience of His people now, by leaving Judas in the Church, as He did then.
   Be charitable. What you think to be tares may be God’s wheat. What if they walk not with us? They may be for us. Bear with human frailty and sin; you also are frail and sinful. It is safe to leave the results with God. (H.H. Jessup)

Matthew 13:34-43 – ​Genuine and Counterfeit

   Throughout the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—a consistent distinction is made between the outer ranks of the people, or disciples, and the inner circle of Apostles. May we not emphasize the same distinction still? We have among us many who are clearly disciples. They cannot as yet formulate or endorse the full creed of the Church, but if they are true to their convictions and follow the gleam, the Master will bring them to the decision of Peter, Matthew 16:16.
   This world is God’s field. All the good in it has reached it through Jesus Christ. Fundamentally there are but two classes, for the disciple belongs to Christ, though He has not yet come into the perfect light. Notice that the people who cause stumbling are placed with those who do iniquity, and each class is thrown on the rubbish heap. Ponder the despair with which we shall view wasted opportunities, as we look back on them from eternity–weeping for softer natures, and wailing for weaker ones. Let us not trifle away the golden chances of life! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 13:44-50 – ​Securing Treasure; Rejecting the Bad

   The parables of treasure and pearl are a pair. They describe the various ways we come to know God’s truth. Some happen on it suddenly. They are pursuing the ordinary vocations of life when suddenly the ploughshare rings against a box of buried treasure. The husbandman is suddenly rich beyond his dreams.
   But in other cases religion is the result of diligent search. Man cannot be happy without God. He goes from philosophy to philosophy, from system to system, turning over the pearls on the dealer’s trays; but suddenly his listlessness is transformed to eagerness as he discovers the Christ. Here is the pearl of great price. He has sought and found, and is prepared to renounce all. See Philippians 3:7. Is there not, too, a deep sense in which Jesus has renounced all, that He might purchase for Himself the Church, His bride? He is the merchant, and we the pearl, though only in His eyes—the eyes of love—could we be held worthy of all that He surrendered to win us! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 13:51-58 – ​How Unbelief Hinders

   God’s truth is always new and always old. It is as fresh as the morning breeze for each coming generation. But however stated, the fundamental facts are invariable. Let us store our minds and hearts with holy and helpful thoughts, so as to deal them out as the occasions serve.
   Compare Matthew 13:53 with Luke 4:16-30. The question His townspeople put is stated a little differently in Mark 6:3. Till He left home, at the age of thirty, for His baptism, our Lord evidently worked with His hands. Perhaps the full wonder of His nature was not realized even by Himself. But surely none can despise manual toil when the Son of man wrought at the bench, making, according to the old tradition, implements of husbandry.
   Sons and daughters were born to Joseph and Mary, whose names are here given. Alas, that we do not see the glory in common, familiar people and circumstances! Never forget that the absence of expectant faith does more to limit the progress of the gospel than the lack of funds! —Through the Bible Day by Day