Those Who Obtain the Kingdom of Heaven
Comments for Study 18
Memory Verse: 8
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
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BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE A CHART COMPARING JESUS' PARABLES.
I. Jesus Helps People with God's Mercy (1-23)
See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.
>1. Where was Jesus? (1) Why did he get into the boat? (2) What was his teaching device? (3) What is a parable? What is the common theme of the parables in this chapter?
Matthew 13:1-3a "That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables..."
* "That same day" -This day started in chapter 11 from either verse 2 or 22. Most likely it was verse 22. In chapter 11:14 the Pharisees left. Then in 11:15 it says Jesus himself withdrew from that place. Then in 11:24 the Pharisees came back again. Which ever verse it was this day was a very long day for Jesus. This shows that Jesus was very unwary to preach the truth. (Ecc. 9:6) And he continued teaching in spit of continual opposition.
* "Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake" -Matthew does not tell us which house it was. However, since it was by the lake, most likely it was the house in Capernaum that Jesus used as his mission center. Jesus was very unwary to preach the truth. (Ecclesiastes 9:6) Jesus continued teaching in spite of continual opposition.
* "the lake" -The Sea of Galilee.
* "Such a large crowd gathered" -No Pharisees are recorded to be here.
* "got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore" -This would turn the lake into a natural amphitheatre.
* "Many things" -Perhaps more than what Matthew recorded.
* "parable" -A parable is a story taken from real and ordinary life to illustrate and explain a spiritual truth and principle. Another definition is, "a continued comparison or similitude by which spiritual or heavenly things were described in language borrowed from the things of this life." A parable can be as short as one sentence or a whole book.
Often the prophets used parables. (Hosea 12:10) Even though Jesus used parables to make heavenly things easier to understand the religious leaders still did not understand. (John 3:12) Jesus proclaimed new things in his parables. 1/3 of his teachings are in parables. Luke has the most parables. (Click here for a chart comparing Jesus' parables.) When studying parables it is important to not put to many meanings into every detail of the parable. They are usually generalizations with a single point and every detail meant to support are less significant or even have no meaning. It is very important to remember that parables are spiritual, not humanistic.
The common theme of Jesus' parables is the Kingdom of God (of heaven). There are four themes concerning the Kingdom of God:
1) Coming of the Kingdom of God.
2) Grace of the Kingdom of God.
3) Men of the Kingdom of God.
4) Crisis of the Kingdom of God.
For example; the theme of the parables in Luke 13 is the Kingdom of God as it will be between his first coming and his second coming. Jesus explains there about how it is planted, expands, grows, and its value. These truths are secrets that the prophets of the Old Testament did not know about and/or only saw glimpses of.
>2. Read the first parable. (3-9) Who does the sower represent? Who are represented by the four kinds of soils?
Matthew 13:3-9 "'A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  He who has ears, let him hear."
* Jesus explained the starting and growth principles and nature of the kingdom of God with this parable.
* This parable is also in Luke 8:5-15 and Mark 4:1-20. Matthew and Mark state that Jesus taught this while in a boat on the Sea of Galilee to the people on shore. Luke does not mention the area. All three accounts must be the same event because it is unlikely that the disciples would ask the meaning of this parable more than once; though it is possible that he taught it more than once.
* Many passages in the Bible, especially in the New Testament use this parable as a reference. Many expanded upon it. (Mark 4:26-32; Luke 13:19; John 12:24; and 1 Corinthians 3:6, 9:11, 15:37-38; and 2 Corinthians 15:38; and 1 Peter 1:23; and 1 John 3:9) This can be considered a basic need to understand and impliment parable.
* "A farmer" -Jesus depicts himself a farmer scattering seeds. In his day farmers worked small patches of land by hand. It is said that Jesus taught this in the spring when farmers were planting. But this is not certain.
* "As he was scattering the seed" -A seed bag with a strap hands from the farmer's shoulder when hand planting. As they walked along they reach in the bag, grab a hand full of seed, and toss it to the side.
* "seed" -The seed is the word of God, the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus is the living word. The Bible is the written word. When the Lord speaks, the sound is the spoken word.
* "soils" -The ground represents a world full of humans throughout all ages. The soil is a person's soul. Many things can be planted in our soul -heart and mind. Jesus is talking about the word of God being planted in our heart and mind much as seeds are planted in the soil.
Through using different soils Jesus teaches that the reception to the gospel depends on the receiver's heart attitude. He teaches of three bad soils and only one good soil; that is, three bad heart conditions and only one good heart condition. Only a few hearts will grow when the word is planted in them.
>3. What happens to the seed sown in each heart soil?
* "The path" -The path was the place where the farmer would walk as he scattered seed. Every spring he would walk on the same path. Over the years this ground was beaten down and hardened.
* "the birds came and eat it up" -Because the path was hard packed soil the seeds could not penetrate into it and could not germinate. The seeds were easy pickens for birds.
* "rocky places" -The rocky places in Palestine are not boulders. Rather, they are big flat rock slabs as large as a quarter of an acre (800 square millimetres). The slabs were impossible to move. So he would have to remember where they were so that he could avoid throwing seeds on them. Yet, in order to place seed on every good bit soil, some seeds would always end up on soil on these slabs of stone.
* "where it did not have much soil" -Rocky places in Palestine are often hid by one to two inches (25 to 50mm) of soil. Strong winds would deposit soil one day and then be take away another.
* "It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow" -Palestine receives most of its rain in the spring. This rain is enough to penetrates the ground enough to raise one season of good grains. Shallow soil over slabs of rock can retain water quite well since water cannot penetrate rock. Seeds germinate quick in this well watered soil, the first to spring up.
* See picture of withered wheat to the right.
* "the plants were scorched" -The moisture in the shallow slab soil quickly dries up quickly in the hot Mideast sun. So the young plants quickly dry out and die.
* "they had no root" -Plant roots collect moisture and minerals. When water is close to the surface plants do not grow deep roots. When the water is deep the plant keeps growing roots until it reaches moisture, or until it dies.
* "some fell among thorns" -Farmers always work soil before seeds are scattered to gets rid of any unwanted plants and to aerates the soil. However, many seeds remian in the soil. The farmer cannot do anything about these unwanted seeds. They are always there and he does not know where they are at. All he can do is scatter his good seeds everywhere. Naturally when the good seeds grow so do the weeds.
* "which grew up and choked the plants -Grain plants need plenty of water and minerals to grow to maturity and produce seeds. When two plants are growing in the same area the water and minerals are shared. Most land in Palestine is not very rich in minerals nor does it get a lot of rain. So if weeds and grain compete for water and minerals neither grow seeds.
* "produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown" -God has set in each seed the ability to reproduce itself.
>What makes men become like a path? (19) Like rocky soil? (20-21) Like thorny soil? (22) How can one become good soil? (23; Genesis 6:9-10) What blessing do the "good soil" people receive? (23b)
Matthew 13:18-23 "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.  The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.  But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
* "Satan" -Luke here uses "devil" while Matthew uses "evil one" and Mark uses "Satan". All refer to the same fallen angel.
* "the seed sown along the path" -Jesus' explanation of the path heart is interesting. He said, "When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
Why don't they understand it? Is the answer that Jesus gave above the reason? Yes, and more. These people are to busy to think about and apply Jesus' word. They have fixed ideas about Jesus, the Bible, and God. When approached with the truth they display bad attitudes. They don't understand because they blatantly don't take time to understand. They cannot blame God nor Satan. They are the ones who make their hearts hard. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and civil leaders (i.e. Herod and Pilot) are examples of the path soil.
* See picture of birds eating seeds on a slab of rock to the right.
* "The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places" -The path people appear promising, they appear to be the same as good soil. But in time the depth of their relationship with Jesus, their faith, and commitment is shown. They call themselves Christian, but have no cross and reject suffering with Christ. They want an easy life full of endless blessing. Under the surface their heart is hard, even harder than the people of the path soil heart. It is important to see that "he has no root". In other words their faith is shallow because it is not feed the water and minerals of that prayer and studying the Bible. They eventually burn out and burn up. They believe they are saved, but they are not.
Trouble and persecution tears these people away. They are too emotional; they respond only on an emotional level. They leave because their emotions are change by events like trouble and persecution. Jesus here teaches that it is not whether the gospel makes us feel good as much as how deep it is planted that shows endurance.
Deep roots are possible in rocky areas through cracks in the rocks. Time is needed to find the cracks. Eventually a heart that is nourished with prayer and the word can crack and break up the rock, just as plants do to stone. With God nothing is impossible.
* "trouble and persecution" -2 Timothy 3:12 says, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," 1 Peter 5:10 says, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." And Romans 5:1-5 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
* "The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns" -These people pay attention in their hearts to what happens in this world. In the world are things that make us worry and deceive. Thus they consider what happens in the world beyond God's control. They are double hearted and double minded. God can be pushed out of our hearts if we let it happen. Faith can be pushed out. Worrying is opposite of faith. Hope can be placed in other things then God and Jesus, even for a believe who has had the word of God planted in his or hers heart. Judas is an example of such a person. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus is also an example of the thorny soil heart. Like these two the thorny soil don't realize their problem(s). Like these two they think they love God, and may in their own way. But they are distant from Jesus. God is never quit in the present of their life and heart.
* See a picture of sheaves of wheat in a field to the right.
* "the seed that fell on good soil" -The good soil does not have the problems of the former three soils. They hear, understand, and produce unabated by anything. Thus, they labor with the word of God in the here and now. Those who are the good soil not only understand the message of the word, but they accept it as the final authority. Thus, the means of expanding the Kingdom of Heaven is the word of God.
Those of the good soil walk with God like Noah did, whom heard, understood and obeyed even in hard times. Like Noah they may not produce a cropped right away. Yet, eventually the crop comes.
Two types of fruit exist; one is internal another is external. With the growth of the internal, comes external fruit. With external fruit the internal fruit grows even more. I note that Jesus pointed out that some crops are a hundred yield, while others are sixty, and others thirty. Seeds do not have the same amount of producing power. Some are more, some are less.
>4. What does this parable mean to the disciples who must spread the word of God in a hostile and selfish world?
* It could be said that 3/4 of the people who hear Jesus' word do not become fruitful in the end.
* Each one of these types of people cannot be determined right away.
* "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." -Jesus often repeated this phrase (Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35) and "listen" (Mark 4:3, 7:14; Luke 9:44; John 10:27), both meaning the same. Jesus was challenging them to do something. He wanted everyone to pay attention to what he was saying. He wanted them to think about his words. He wanted them to "digest" it. Then they needed to apply it to their lives. This shows the importance of meditating on and studying God's word.
* Teaching is how the farmer scatters the seed. Everyone has a choice to listen to it or reject it. Jesus said, "It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." (John 6:45-47)
* Psalm 1:1-3 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."
>5. What did the disciples ask Jesus? (10) Why might they be discouraged? How did Jesus reply? (11-12) Who can understand the secrets of the kingdom of heaven? Who cannot?
Matthew 13:10 "The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"
* "the disciples" -The word "disciple" is the most common word used to describe those who truly believe in and love Jesus. It is used nearly three hundreds times in the New Testament; with two hundred thirty-three (233) occurrences in the gospels and twenty-eight (28) in Acts. It is often used by the true believers when referring to themselves. Today, people use the words "Christian" and "church" in so many ways and referring to so much that it defines nearly nothing. The New Testament only has the word "Christian" in three places. (Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) The two places it is found in Acts it is used by non-believers and in all three places it is used in a derogatory and general way. So even then "Christian" had little meaning to the true disciple of Jesus. The title "the Way" is used in Acts six times, referring to the true disciples (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 22) but only when non-believers are involved in the conversation. So "the Way" was not used amongst disciples as some now suggest. "Disciples" is clearly the most common way true believers and lovers of Jesus referred to themselves in the New Testament. So much so that dictionaries often state that one of the meanings of disciples is "A member of the disciples of Christ." A person can be a disciples of anybody for in general a disciples is one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. And in general a disciple can be defined as an active adherent as of any movement or philosophy. But in context of Jesus it can only mean living with and in Jesus.
The Holman Bible Dictionary states, "The term “disciple” comes to us in English from a Latin root. Its basic meaning is learner or pupil.” The term is virtually absent from the Old Testament, though there are two related references (1 Chronicles 25:8; Isaiah 8:16). In the Greek world the word disciple normally referred to an adherent of a particular teacher or religious/philosophical school. It was the task of the disciple to learn, study, and pass along the sayings and teachings of the master. In rabbinic Judaism the term “disciple” referred to one who was committed to the interpretations of Scripture and religious tradition given him by the master or rabbi. Through a process of learning which would include a set meeting time and such pedagogical methods as question and answer, instruction, repetition, and memorization, the disciple would become increasingly devoted to the master and the master’s teachings. In time, the disciple would, likewise, pass on the traditions to others."
Jesus had a very different concept and plan for his disciples compared to other teachers (rabbis) of his time. The gospels give us a clear meaning of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It is a continous developing relationship with our Lord. This parable shows who starts the relationship and how he does it.
* "The disciples came to him" -The disciples did not understand the meaning of the parables and didn't pretend that they did. Yet, they wanted to. They had a learning mind. The privilege granted to Jesus' disciples is the ability to go to him when we don't understand and ask questions. The disciples often asked Jesus about his parables, but not all the time.
* "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" -The disciples were concerned, perhaps even annoyed and discouraged that the people might not understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus' answer indicates that they may have been discouraged.
Why would the disciple be concerned? They believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that the Messianic kingdom would be a political earthly one. So, it would be hard for them to understand why Jesus didn't speak in terms and words that everyone could understand. Speaking in parables left the people undecided about him. (Matthew 16:13-14; Mark 8:27-28)
When I first believed I wandered why Jesus didn't make faith in him and his words easier to understand. That way more would believe and Bible study wouldn't be as hard. I like the disciples did not understand much about faith and truth.
It is important to note that the disciples didn't say, "Why do you speak to us in parables?" Rather they said, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?'" This is because the disciples were often taught later what Jesus was teaching.
>6. Read 11-15. What must have discouraged Isaiah and Jesus when they gave God's message to the people? How did Isaiah's words encouraged Jesus? What do his words teach about God's work and history?
Matthew 13:11-12 "He replied, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not the them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he things he has will be taken from him.  This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.'"
* "He replied" -Jesus answered his disciples' question. He does not always answer questions in the way we want. Perhaps when the disciples asked their question, they believed that Jesus would see things their way and stop teaching in parables.
* "The knowledge" -Knowledge is not something to be feared, but sought. However, knowledge in itself does not always provoked understanding, and understanding does not always provoke wisdom.
* "of the secrets" -Even the prophets in the Old Testament looked hard to learn these things. They were only given glimpses of them.
* "has given to you" -All knowledge about the kingdom of heaven that Jesus' disciples have has been given to them by God. We do not acquire it on our own. Jesus' disciples can ask him questions anytime they wanted. Jesus didn't exclude them from things he knew. (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; John 17:6)
* "but not to them" -Jesus spoke in parables so that those chosen by God would have the truth. However, the children of the devil do not have it and it is kept from them.
* "Whoever has" -Bible study is meant to be a little understanding at a time. Quality is more important than quantity, especially in the beginning. This is not saying that quantity isn't good. In fact, Jesus says what we have will be added to; but in time. A lot of a bad thing is not good at all. Understanding a little at a time is good all the time.
* "will be given more, and he will have an abundance." -Those who want to know the truth of heaven, it will be made more plain to them and it will be made easier to understand. Those who want to know the secrets can understand them. If you are Jesus' disciple and don't understand the Bible dig it out more for Jesus promised he would reveal it to us. John 3:27 says, "given," meaning God gives the knowledge of the secrets by his discretion. God owes no man the secrets of the kingdom of God. (Romans 11:35) And God gives the secrets to those who will use it wisely. The closer one is to Jesus the more secrets will be revealed to him or her.
* "Whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." -Those who are willingly ignorant to hear the word, it will be harder to understand. Those who don't want to receive it cannot understand the secrets of the kingdom of God. God takes away from those who doesn't use nor desire to use the word wisely.
* "Though seeing they do not see" -This means that not only are they willingly ignorant, but they may see and prevented from being able to comprehend what they see. They are callused (hardened) by sensuality and senselessness. Many that Jesus had just spoken to were resolved not to hear the word of God.
Why don't people want to hear the truth? Why don't they want to understand it? Because they love the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19, 2 Peter 3:5), and they fear that their sins may be exposed. (John 3:20)
Matthew 13:14-15 "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people's heart has become callused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"
* "in them is fulfilled the prophecy" -The people's response to the Messiah was and is still being fulfilled.
* "Isaiah" -Jesus quoted Isaiah 6:9. Jesus' ministry had the same outcome as Isaiah's. The people's response was the same. They were resolved not to hear the word of God. Still a remnant accepted.
* "You will...heal them" -Jesus is not being pessimistic. He is just stating the fact so that the disciples would understand that God's kingdom is a history of more rejection than acceptance. Yet in spit of the rejection, God was still working in the hearts of people. God's kingdom is a history of advancement in the mist of rejection through faithful servants such as Isaiah.
* "Otherwise" -If people would turn (repent) they would be converted.
>7. What blessed privileges did Jesus' disciples have? (16-17) What is our privilege?
Matthew 13:16-17 "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.  For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
* "blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear" -The disciples had Jesus to teach them, but our privilege is we have the Holy Spirit to teach us and to remind us the word. Proverbs 20:12 says, "Ears that hear and eyes that see--the Lord has made them both." God's grace gives us understanding but it is up to us to give out minds to understanding it.
Isaiah 32:1-3 tells of our time and the time to come. A time when many will teach the truths of God. It says, "See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.  Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.  Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen.
* "many prophets and righteous men longed to see...and to hear" -Why couldn't they see? Weren't they spiritual men and women? Didn't they have faith? They couldn't see because the time to see and understand these things had not yet come.
Those who know Christ can not but convent to know him more. The discoveries of grace and the secrets of God are given only up to the amount that the time can allow.
II. The Parable of the Weeds, Seeds, and Yeast (24-43)
>8. Read the next parable. (24-30) What was Jesus explanation? (36-43) Who is the one who sowed good seed? (3-7) What is the field? (3 8) Who are the good seed? The weeds?
>9. What did the servants want to do about the weeds? (28) What did the owner do? (29-30) How does this parable's teaching help us to live by faith in an unjust world? (42-43, 47-52)
Matthew 13:24-30 "Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'  "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'  "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
* "a man who sowed good seed" -Jesus is the one who sowed good seed. Those who come in his name teaching his words are also sowers.
* "in his field" -Any place, any time, anybody.
* "weeds" -The weeds mentioned here looks just like wheat when it grows. It is called Darnel weed. The King James Version calls it "tares". When harvest time comes the difference is seen in that they do not produce seeds as wheat does. They are a fruitless plant. As in the parable, the law forbidden this work of taking out tares.
* "an enemy" -This is a military term. Holman's dictionary says, "An adversary, foe, or hater. An enemy is one who dislikes or hates another and seeks to harm the person. It can refer to an individual opponent or to a hostile force, either a nation or an army... Satan is also called the enemy (1 Tim. 5:14-15). He has revealed himself as such throughout history by seeking to hurt men and women, leading them away from God."
Satan plants these tares in the world, but he also plants them in churches. Often it is hard to tell in a church which are tares and which are wheat. Only when the harvest day comes will it be seen.
* "while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest" - There are many reasons why one should obey these words. One is that we may think someone is a tare, but is not. Thus we will pull out and damage one of the Masters wheat. Also, even if we are right that the person is a tare, another person who is a wheat might think otherwise and thus be hurt and damaged by are pulling out the tare. However, it does not mean that we shouldn't rebuke and correct wrong actions of one in the church of God. In short, the servants of the Master are to plant, water and fertilize God's plants. They are not to pull out tares.
* "At that time I will tell the harvesters" -The harvest is the day of judgement, the end of man's time on earth. It is when all people will be judged.
* "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned" -The weeds are the ones who did not belong to the Kingdom of God. They are the sons of the devil, Satan. They will be punished eternally in hell.
Jesus compared hell to burning several times. Hell is a place without God forever. It is a place of complete loneliness and torment of soul. Thus, the soul which was meant and created to be joined with God is incomplete, a being that is like the flesh burning.
* "then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn" -Jesus here compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a barn. Wheat when collected is put in the barn for storage. It is the place meant and built for wheat and other grain safe keeping and storage. Thus heaven is a place meant and built for our safe keeping.
>10. What were the next two parables Jesus taught? (31-33) What do they teach about the expanding and transforming power of the kingdom of heaven?
Matthew 13:31-32 "He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
* "The kingdom of heaven" -Referring to God's rule in heaven and in a believer's heart, his people as a collective here on earth.
* "is like" -It is not exactly like. Jesus did not say, "The kingdom of heaven is a mustard seed." Jesus is only using another earthy thing, that which his audience knew about, and used it the explain heavenly things, that which they could not comprehend.
* "mustard seed" -The mustard seed measures 1 to 2 mm in diameter. In the mustard seed, as all seeds do, contain all the instructions and codes needed for it to grow into a plant. In the same way Jesus gave all that was needed for his kingdom to grow.
* "which a man took" -The man here refers to God in the person of Jesus Christ.
* "and planted in his field" -Field here represents the world of which God owns. In fact he owns all of the universe.
* "Though it is the smallest of all your seed" -The mustard seed is not the smallest seed. However, it was the smallest seed known to the people of the Middle East in Jesus' day. He said, "your seed". That inclusion is important. Again, Jesus used that which his audience knew about.
* "garden plants" -That which people plant in a plot of ground to gain a harvest to eat or to feed animals.
* "it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree" -The kingdom of God appears small, but it is very powerful. Therefore, it grows, and grows, and grows many times bigger than it started.
* "so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches" -This phrase has been interpreted several ways. The best, in my view point, is as follows. Birds come to eat seeds that the mustard plants produce. Thus cutting back from the harvest. In the same way the devil snatches people away from the harvest. However, he can not snatch away people from the harvest, who have been saved by the power of the blood of Jesus.
Matthew 13:33 "He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."
* "yeast" -According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "A commercial preparation in either powdered or compressed form, containing yeast cells and inert material such as meal and used especially as a leavening agent or as a dietary supplement."
Jesus used yeast to illustrate that which he gave the church as a growing agent. Yeast in the Old Testament often represented sin, which would not seem to apply to the kingdom of heaven.
* "flour" -According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "A fine, powdery foodstuff obtained by grinding and sifting the meal of a grain, especially wheat, used chiefly in baking."
Flour is bland and has not power in itself to change itself. But once changed by yeast it is tasty.
* "woman" -The woman here refers to God in the person of Jesus Christ.
* "took and mixed" -God's work with the church, his people, those he chosen, to make useful.
* "until it worked all through the dough" -No part of the church is not without yeast, God's growing agent. Therefore we all grow as one large clump of dough.
Matthew 13:34-35 "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.  So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.'"
* "prophet" -Psalm 78:2 is quoted. "A miskal of Asaph" is noted at the beginning as the prophet.
Matthew 13:36-43 "Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."  He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,  and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."
* Only those who wanted to know sought the meaning out. Value = Effort.
III. Jesus' Parables Taught to His Disciples (44-58)
>11. What parables did Jesus teach his disciples? (44-52) What do they teach about attitude? About the end of the age? About the church age? When Jesus taught his hometown parables how did they respond? What did Jesus say about them? What didn't he do? What can we learn?
Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
* "treasure hidden in a field" -By using the word "hidden" Jesus indicates that the kingdom of heaven is kept from obvious detection purposely.
* "field" -As in the previous explanation of the parable of the weeds, field represents the world.
* "When a man found it" -Man here is people who are revealed the kingdom of God.
* "found" -May imply either by accident or after carefully looking for and/or study.
* "he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field" -Thus it would be his and no one could take it from him.
* "joy" -When someone finds something of great value they are filled with joy. In the world anything that translates into money, power, or the pleasures of this world is considered valuable. But in the kingdom of God, God himself is of great value.
* "all he had" -Nothing else compares to the value of the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:45-46 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
* "merchant" -Merchant here is those who are revealed the kingdom of God.
* "looking for fine pearls" -Actively looking for.
* "great value" -As in the previous parable, Jesus states that the kingdom of heaven is of great value.
* "he went away and sold everything he had and bought it" -As in the previous parable, Jesus states that nothing else compares to the value of the kingdom of heaven and by doing so, the kingdom of heaven would be his and no one could take it from him.
Matthew 13:47-50 "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous  and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
* "net" -The net is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people are pulled in when they here the gospel. But not all are chosen.
* "lake" -Lake represents the world.
* "fisherman" -Here fisherman represent the angels of God, who will do the separating on judgement day.
* "all kinds of fish" -The nets in Galilee are big.
* "collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away" -Since the nets in Galilee was big, many things and many fish were caught in them. The good and the bad must be separated out.
* "weeping and gnashing of teeth" -Because they heard the gospel, but did not truly believe all of it and thus did not act upon that belief.
Matthew 13:51-52 "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied.  He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
* "teacher of the law" -Jesus distinguishes from teachers of other religions and belief. He was not referring to the Teachers of the Law who did not believe in him, nor just Jews who believe in him. Rather, he was saying anybody, Gentile or Jew, who believes in him and teaches the word of God.
* "new treasures as well as old" -The old treasures is the Old Testament. The new treasures is the New Testament. A teacher of the Bible teaches from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Matthew 13:53-56 "When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.  Coming to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked.  "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?  Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
* "he moved from there" -This is the conclusion of Jesus teaching to his disciples though these parables. Matthew does not say how much time passed between events recorded here.
* "Coming to his home town" -Nazareth was Jesus' home town but not the place of his birth. In fact Jesus lived in Egypt with his parents before they moved to Nazareth.
According the American Heritage Dictionary, "Nazareth is a town of northern Israel south-east of Haifa. Settled in prehistoric times, it is first mentioned in the New Testament as the boyhood home of Jesus. The modern town is a trade center and pilgrimage site. Today's population is 46,300."
In Jesus' day Nazareth was known as a rather route place. In John's Gospel Nathaniel said, "Nazareth, can anything good come from there?"
* "he began teaching the people in their synagogue" -Many times in the gospels Jesus is recording teaching in the synagogues. A synagogue is a building or place of meeting for worship and religious instruction in the Jewish faith. One would be built, or a building would be designated as such a place, when ten or more Jewish males lived in or near the same community and had to be no more than the legal days walk from the synagogue.
* "and they were amazed" -Their first impression of Jesus was favourable, and yet, knowing him from his childhood on up they must have wondered where Jesus learned so much as to teach as he did. After all, Nazareth was not the place to go to learn, nor was it considered a holy place.
* "Isn't this..." -The people of Nazareth, even though shown many things could not believe. They were basing their decision about Jesus from human standards instead of God's standard. The Bible is a better standard to judge someone than human understand, even our own.
* "this man" -In the end, even though Jesus grow up among them, the people of Nazareth could not even say his name. They would only call him 'that man."
Matthew 13:57-58 "And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honor."  And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."
* "a prophet without honor" -This is taught us because not only is this Jesus' experience, but it is also the experience of those who follow him.
* "he did not do any miracles there" -Jesus nature does not let him allow him to do miracles for people who do not believe, that is do not have faith in him.