Free Bible Commentary

Free Bible Commentary

“Matthew 13:1-33”

Categories: 50 Days with Jesus

“That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.’ And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ Jesus answered them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.’ Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” And he said to them, “An enemy has done this!” The slaves said to him, “Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?” But he said, “No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” He presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the [r]air come and nest in its branches.’ He spoke another parable to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.’”

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“He who has ears, let him hear” (verse 6). Everyone who listened to Jesus speak these words obviously had physical ears with which to hear Him. Jesus was and is appealing to people to listen with their “spiritual ears”. He was asking them to look through the surface of this story about farming and seeds and different types of soil, and into the deeper, spiritual message that He was trying to convey to them.

Why did Jesus teach using parables? Because “they have closed their eyes” to the truth (verse 15). Unfortunately most of the people that Jesus spoke to had hard hearts, dull ears and closed eyes. Jesus was not trying to hide the Gospel truth from the ears of His people. He was diligently trying to teach them in ways that would penetrate their hardened hearts. We read in John chapter six that when Jesus stopped teaching His audience in figurative language and finally told them the plain, direct truth, most of them stopped following Him (John 6:63-66). Jesus taught His countrymen with parables in the hopes of exposing them to as much truth as possible so that the inspired word of God could work to soften their calloused hearts over time.

The word of God is seed that grows within the human heart. Some hearts are so hardened by sin that the seed can’t even penetrate the calloused surface (verse 19). The seed sits on the surface of the hearts of these people for only an instant and then Satan “snatches it away.” Some hearts “immediately receive it with joy,” but the joy only lasts for a short time (verse 20). The hearts of these people are so shallow that there is no room for the word of God to take root. When following God becomes unpleasant in any way, they fall away because of their lack of true commitment to the word. Some hearts receive the seed and it grows well, but it doesn’t produce any fruit (verse 22). Proper preparations haven’t been made to eradicate the worldly weeds from the hearts of these people. The worries of the world and the love of money overpower their faith and trust in God, and they get distracted from the work that God intends for them to do. Some hearts receive the word of God and it takes root, grows well and produces much fruit (verse 23). These are the good, soft-hearted people who love the Lord and His word more than anything else in the world. They stay true to God during times of persecution, and they are “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22-25).

It is not enough to receive the word. It is not enough to receive the word with joy. It is not enough to receive the word and allow it to grow. Jesus tells us that the kind of heart that pleases Him receives the word and allows growth and endures affliction and produces fruit. Stay faithful and fruitful unto the end.

Please read John 6:1-14 for tomorrow – Jesus feeds 5,000 people

Have a blessed Day!

-Louie Taylor