Bust: Apostle Matthew
Key Verse: 13:34-35: Jesus displays hidden treasure through parables.
Personal Application: Faith enables understanding of the Kingdom.
Outline: There are five collections of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew, corresponding to the five-fold book of Moses. First, the Sermon on the Mount (chap. 5-7) for the multitude; 2nd the commissioning (chap. 10) for the disciples; this third is (chap. 13) is for both; chap. 18 is the fourth, Olivet Discourse (chap. 24-25) is the fifth. Matthew compiles a list of seven of Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom in chapter 13. The Greek word for parable means to set alongside. Most parables are concrete illustrations that demonstrate some abstract concept. Jesus contrasts what the Jews expect in a Messiah and what form the Messiah’s Kingdom will take.
Parable: Sower (13:1-23)
Wrong Expectations: Sowing was a rich harvest where all Israel would bear plenteous fruit by God’s responsibility.
Unexpected Form: Spiritual response to God’s Kingdom by individuals determines the fruit borne through them.
Parable: Wheat/tares (13:24-30, 37-43)
Wrong Expectations: Kingdom citizens live separate and superior to others in world.
Unexpected Form: Kingdom citizens live among all peoples of world.
Parable: Mustard seed (13:31-32)
Wrong Expectations: Messiah comes in outward pomp and display of power
Unexpected Form: Kingdom begins in insignificance
Parable: Leaven (13:33)
Wrong Expectations: Kingdom overwhelms and dominates the world
Unexpected Form: Kingdom works its influence and grows its goodness unobserved in the world.
Parable: Hidden treasure (13:44)
Wrong Expectations: Kingdom makes a grand entrance with military judgment.
Unexpected Form: Kingdom is hidden treasure
Parable: Pearl of great price (13:45-46)
Wrong Expectations: Kingdom is about earthly gain and wealth.
Unexpected Form: Kingdom requires abandoning earthly values.
Parable: Dragnet (13:47-50)
Wrong Expectations: Kingdom begins with separation of righteous
Unexpected Form: Kingdom ends with separation of unrighteous.
Parable: Householder (13:52)
13:1-23: Parable of Sower
This harvest in an area where a seven to ten-fold return was average. AT Robertson: “The hundredfold is not an exaggeration (cf. Gen. 26:12). Herodotus (i. 93) says that in Babylonia grain yielded two hundredfold and even to three hundredfold. This, of course, was due to irrigation as in the Nile Valley.”
95% of Southern Baptists never in their lifetime share a verbal witness with an unbeliever. In 1950, there were 19 Baptists for every new believer. Now 2005, it is 44 for every new believer.
13:9 – Ears – Jesus uses this phrase Mt 11:15; 13:43 Mk 4:9, 23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9. An invitation to seek Jesus’ deeper meaning and respond with one’s whole being.
13:11 – μυστήριον – musterion, technical theological term applied to a new revelation of a new aspect of Christian life/experience not fully revealed in OT. (See Daniel 2:18-19, 27-30, 47; 4:9). No sense in Christianity as in other religions, cults, or societies, that there is secret wisdom that no one else knows. Jesus further explains and softens his statement in vv. 12-17. Out of a misplaced fear that God would do something bad to them if they respond, they do not hear or perceive amiss. They “love darkness rather than light” John 3:19.
AT Robertson: “ In Phi_4:12 Paul says: “I have learned the secret or been initiated” (memuēmai). So Jesus here explains that his parables are open to the disciples, but shut to the Pharisees with their hostile minds. In the Gospels mustērion is used only here and in the parallel passages (Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).”
13:24-30, 36-43: Parable of Weeds
Weeds Greek zizanion, transliterating Hebrew zonin, bearded darnel (Lolium temulentum) a poisonous rye grass, very common in the Middle East, which looks like wheat until the head appears.
v. 37-43 -- Church will always have among us those who do not serve Him, who are poisonous. The remnant will remain in the Church. Notice that the field is the world, not only Israel. The enemy as Jesus sees it is not the Pharisees, but Satan (Eph 6:10-12).
Albert Barnes: “Our Saviour teaches us here:
1. That hypocrites and deceived persons must be expected in the church.
2. That this is the work of the enemy of man. They are not the work of Christianity any more than traitors are of patriotism, or counterfeiters are of the proper effect of legislating about money. They belong to the world, and hypocrisy is only one form of sin. The Christian religion never “made” a hypocrite, nor is there a hypocrite on the earth whose principles and practice it does not condemn.
3. That all hope of removing them entirely would be vain.
4. That an “attempt” to remove them altogether would injure real Christianity, by causing excitements, discord, and hard feelings even among Christians.
5. That Christ will himself separate them at the proper time. There is no doubt that it is the duty of the church to keep itself pure, and to cut off gross and manifest offenders, 1Co_5:4-5; but the Saviour refers here to those who may be “suspected” of hypocrisy, but against whom it cannot be proved; to those who so successfully imitate Christians as to make it difficult or impossible for man to distinguish them.
13:31-35: Parables of Mustard Seed and Yeast
Mustard seed: Kingdom in the outer world – extensiveness.
Leaven: Kingdom within us -- intensiveness.
Don’t despise insignificant, small beginning of the Kingdom.
Mustard is a small seed, very small, but not the smallest seed. Is the Bible in error? No. Jesus uses mustard in his culture since it is the smallest seed known to his hearers. It would be ridiculous for him to name a seed they had never heard of from another continent no one knew about. The rabbis frequently also used the mustard seed to make illustrations.
The Kingdom may begin insignificantly, but it will grow. Oh boy will it grow!
Birds represent the nations of the world being sheltered by the Messianic Kingdom (Ezek 17:23; 31:6, 12; Daniel 4:12, 14, 21-22.)
YEAST – 50 pounds of flour. some take the meaning as bad mixed with good in the world. Some take it as the beneficent influence of the church in the world.
13:44-46: Parables of Hidden Treasure and Pearl
One is an unexpected discovery and one a successful search.
Pearl: Kingdom requires abandoning earthly values.
13:47-52: Parable of the Net
Kingdom ends with separation of unrighteous.
Drag net is oldest and until recently the most important fishing method in Galilee. 750-1000 foot wall, 25 feet high in middle and 5 feet high on ends. Foot rope weighted with sinkers, head rope floated with corks, dragged to shore by both ends. Bad fish thrown out were unclean ones without scales and fins (Lev 11:9-12).
13:53-58: Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?
Small town crab bucket living. No one wants anyone else to grow or get ahead. Root is jealousy. They took offense. Jesus’ family eventually believed (Acts 1:14; Gal 1:19; 1 Cor 15: )