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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 13

  1. Introduction:
    1. Read: Matthew 13:1-9

Verses 1-23

  1. The Sower
    Matthew 13:1-9 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.
    1. “Definitions”
      1. Sower: Jesus and His disciples (including us)
      2. Seed: The Word of God
      3. Fowl: Satan and his demons
      4. Sun: Persecution or tribulation
      5. Thorns: The cares of this world.
      6. Ground: Our hearts.
    2. The Wayside
      Matthew 13:18-19 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 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.
      1. The wayside speaks to a “hard” heart that will not receive the Word of God into their lives.
        1. Spurgeon: “It is easy for birds to pick up seed which lies exposed on a trodden path. If the soil had been good and the seed had entered it, he would have had far greater difficulty. He might even have been foiled. But a hard heart does the devil’s work for him in great measure. He need not use violence or craft. There lies the un-received word on the surface of the soul, and he takes it away. The power of the evil one largely springs from our own evil.”
    3. Stony Ground
      Matthew 13:20-21 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.
      1. Stony ground speaks of those who receive the word right away (anon) with joy but DON’T count the cost.
      2. Examples of this might be:
        1. one who gets caught up in emotionalism
        2. one who goes along with the crown or
        3. one simply does not realize the impact of the “call” to follow Jesus.
      3. The end result when tribulation occurs or the need to die to one’s self arises, the stony ground hearer says, “No way!” and walks away.
        1. These who walk away are not saved in the first place – they do not appreciate the great love and the great sacrifice required and involved in the availability of Salvation!
    4. Weedy Ground
      Matthew 13:22 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.
      1. 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
      2. The cares of the world:
        1. Job / pursuit of money
        2. Sports: Golf, football, baseball, racing, hunting
        3. Laziness / selfishness / pride: It’s my day off and I want to sleep
        4. Wife / husband doesn’t want to
        5. Hobbies, Alcohol, drugs, or illicit sexual relationships
    5. Good Soil
      Matthew 13:23 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.
      1. Good soil is a heart that “Wants to receive” what God has for them through His Word
      2. The proof of good soil is that it “Bears fruit” !!!
        1. Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
        2. (Holiness) Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
        3. (Good character) Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
        4. (Praise) Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
        5. (Good works) Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
        6. (Winning Souls) Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
        7. (Giving financially) Romans 15:25-28 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. 28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

Verses 24-44

  1. Introduction:
    1. Read Matt 13: 24-30
      Matt 13:34-35 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.

      Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

      “Definitions”
      1. Sower: Jesus and His disciples (including us)
      2. Seed: The Word of God
      3. Fowl: Satan and his demons
      4. Sun: Persecution or tribulation
      5. Thorns: The cares of this world.
      6. Ground: Our hearts.
  2. Parables to the Crowds
    1. The Wheat and the Tares
      Matthew 13:24-30 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.
      1. Matt 13:36-43 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.
        1. Darnel seeds grow up just like wheat but the don’t head out and end up bowing down.
        2. Many may start out looking like Christians but in the end the true ones are walking humbly with the Lord (bowing down to Him).
          1. Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
        3. There may be “false” believers among us – or in the church at large…and the Lord will know them by their fruits.
    2. Mustard Seeds
      Matthew 13:31-32 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.
      1. A mustard plant doesn’t grow into a tree – there must be artificial growth to be large enough to hold the birds.
      2. Going back to the parable of the sower…the birds are Satan’s helpers.
      3. The enemy can be in our back yard or in our pews!
      4. Jude 1:3-11 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
        1. Cain is a picture of the lust (and works) of our flesh.
        2. Balaam is a picture of the lust of our eyes (he was greedy)
        3. Core is a picture of the pride of life…
          1. Numbers 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
    3. Leaven
      Matthew 13:33 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.
      1. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Verses 44-58

  1. Parables to the Disciples
    1. Treasure in a Field
      Matthew 13:44 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.
      1. Jesus found us and “bought us” with the price of His own body and blood!
      2. 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
      3. 1 Corinthians 7:20-23 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
    2. A Pearl of Great Price
      Matthew 13:45-46 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.
      1. A pearl is created by an irritating grain of sand in the Oyster. The Oyster surrounds it with a substance that over time creates the pearl. The pearl is ONLY good if it is intact. If broken or cut it loses it’s value.
      2. The church is made strongest when it is able to endure hardship and tribulation. James 1:2 / Early church over 300 yrs of attempts to wipe it out was at it’s strongest point.
      3. Jesus bought us with His body and blood!
    3. The Net
      Matthew 13:47 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.
    4. Have You Understood?
      Matt 13:51-52 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.
      1. We’re to not just “KEEP” the things of God, but to share them as well, both old truths and new based upon Jesus’ teachings.
      2. Good stewards are required to be found faithful (1Cor 4:2) and if we are to be faithful we must share both the stories and truths out of the Old Testament as well as sharing the
        1. “GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST”
        2. The knowledge that we have been set free
        3. That Jesus wants us to have an ABUNDANT LIFE
  2. Conclusion
    The chapter concludes:

    Matthew 13:53-58 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.
    1. Is God working in your life?
    2. Do you believe God for His promises?
    3. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    4. Faith is NOT believing that God “can”…rather it is believing the God “WILL”!!!
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 13". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/matthew-13.html. 2017.