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This chapter contains the seven parables of the Kingdom. The reason for the parabolic teaching of Christ is set forth here. This first parable was spoken to the multitudes (verses Mat 13:2-3 ). Its explanation was given to the disciples only (verses Mat 13:10-18 ). "The word of the Kingdom" is the seed (verse Mat 13:19 ). The result is dependent on the one who hears, and on how he hears.
The second parable was spoken to the multitudes (verse Mat 13:34 ). Its explanation was given to the disciples only (verse Mat 13:36 ). Another sowing is going on in the world's broad fields side by side with that of the Son of Man. The final extermination of evil is not to be found during sowing, but lies in the period of harvesting at the end of the age. The character of this age is thus clearly revealed as mixed.
The figure of a great tree in the Scriptures is ever of great power. It is so used of the king of Assyria, of Pharaoh, and of Nebuchadnezzar. This particular parable says nothing of the nature of the tree, whether it is good or bad. It is simply a revelation of this one aspect of force in the world, the greatest of all, and such Christianity undoubtedly has become. Birds lodging in the branches most probably refers to elements of corruption which take refuge in the very shadow of Christianity. How much the Kingdom has suffered by harboring the unclean birds very few rightly appreciate.
The figure of leaven is uniformly used in Scripture to typify evil. This is no exception to the rule. All the outward manifestations of Church life have become more or less corrupt, contaminated by the evil leaven which was introduced into the Church of Jesus Christ by paganizing influences. That which produces fermentation issues in disintegration, and leaven is the very principle of decay in active condition.
The next three parables were spoken not to the multitudes, but to the disciples, and they reveal the present age from the divine standpoint rather than in its manifestation of the Kingdom to the world. The treasure hid in the field is the Church, and the Finder is the Lord Himself. The special treasure is His heavenly people, but the whole field is His. Nothing will finally be lost save the abominable and whosoever worketh or maketh a lie. The same truth is presented in the next parable. The merchant is the Master. The Church is the "pearl of great price." We have not bought Him. He has bought us. The last general parable teaches the mixing of the present results of work, and points to the end of the age and the sorting that will then take place. From teaching His disciples, the Lord went to Nazareth, and there "did not many mighty works because of their unbelief ."
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Matthew 13". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter