The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Matthew 13

Mat 13:1

The parables of Mat 13: Complete set of 7 parables follow a chronological order (Tes 49:35):

(1 & 2) seed/tares: warnings to the disciples to expect disappointments (appropriate to early days when message was being preached widely, then adulterated);
(3) mustard seed: church becomes more powerful, and materialistic;
(4) leaven: corruption invades church;
(5 & 6) hidden treasure/pearl: the gospel or the truth is looked for/stumbled upon, found by accident (?); and
(7) net: final judgment, etc.

Parables: "parabola": sig setting beside, comparison, natural to spiritual. Teaching by picture, figure, symbol: graphic, easily remembered, yet still direct, emphatic. Calculated to break down defenses, and overcome prejudice (Nathan to David: "Thou art the man!"). The simple farming life. Earthly, a pattern of heavenly (Exo 25:40).

Purpose: Mat 13:10-13; Isa 6:9,10n; Joh 12:40n; Mat 13:34,35; Psa 78:1-8n; Mar 4:33,34 -- esp explained to disciples. We have key to the interpretation: ie, the Truth of the gospel. In this God helps us to understand: Mat 7:7; Jam 1:5; Psa 119:73; Pro 25:2. When the wicked understood, they only responded by hating Christ (Mat 21:45,46n). Ct Luk 8:15.

Background: The 2nd year of Christ's ministry: now, great numbers come to him, but with no faith. Pharisees and leaders of nations seek to catch him, in his words. This series of parables: beginning of preaching of kingdom -- under present limitations, enemies and slow growth. "Abundant sowing, scanty growth."

THE LAKE: Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum.

Mat 13:3

PARABLES: "Parabola" literally means "a setting side by side", a comparison -- in the case of Christ's parables -- between something natural and something spiritual. Such teaching by picture, symbol, or figure has several distinct advantages. Being graphic, it is more easily remembered than dry statements of fact. It is also simple, direct, and emphatic, with the aura of everyday life about it. And finally, it is calculated to overcome prejudice, to circumvent that natural wall of resistance, to throw open the locked doors of the heart. "Thou art the man," was Nathan's bold accusation; the hypocrite was unmasked and condemned outright by a skillful parable.

In ct to other parables in Mat 13, this one is not preceded by: "The kingdom of heaven is like..." because it deals with the effect of preaching on all men, not just on those who respond.

Sowing: what to sow (Luk 8:11), what not to sow (Deu 22:9), how to sow (Psa 126:5,6), when to sow (Ecc 11:6), reward of sowing (1Co 15:58).

TO SOW HIS SEED: The background for this well known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (Oct to Dec) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God's giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10,11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God.

Christ was a student of nature, of the people and the sights of rural Galilee. In the hand of this master craftsman, the natural and commonplace became spiritual and profound. The temporal and transient was transformed into the eternal and immovable. As God was manifest in a man, so that man's divine teachings were clothed in an earthly dress. He spoke of the simple farm life, the planting and sowing and reaping, the orderly flow of days and seasons and years being the Father's guarantee of order and security in all His arrangements. He spoke of the flocks that grazed the hills of His homeland, and the strong, quiet men who protected them; and His listeners began to comprehend the surpassing love of that Great Shepherd for even one lost sheep. And he spoke of the net and the fishers, the fowls of the air, and the lilies of the field. He spoke of weddings, of marketplace transactions, and of lowly household tasks. And always the point was made, that faith and hope and religion itself was the vital substance of one's daily life, not the brittle form of a Sabbath or a feast day.

"He smelt the smells of the marketplace, as he walked around helping a little child crying because he'd lost his mother. From the throat of a Palestinian Jew there truly came the words of Almighty God. There, in the very flesh and body tissue of the man Jesus, was God manifested in flesh. And yet that wondrous man, that being, that Son of God who had no human father, readily laughed at the funny side of events, just like anyone else. His hands and arms would have been those of a working man. He is always described as walking everywhere -- and it's been calculated that he must have walked 10,000 km [6,000 miles] during his ministry. He slept under the olive trees at the foot of the Mount of Olives; the Son of man had nowhere to lay his head. So he would often have appeared a bit rough, his feet would have developed large blisters, and his skin would have been sunburnt" (DH).

"Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and some fell among thorns. And it came to pass that the finance committee called the sower to task saying, 'Why are you wasting so much seed? We have done a cost analysis and found that we can get our cost per seed down seventy-five percent if we use newer, more effective methods. You are going to have to match our seed to plant ratio soon or we are going to have to cut the funding in the sower program.'

"So the sower went out to sow again, and he looked for some help from the others interested in the garden. He went to Sam, but Sam had taken on a second job to pay for his new sports car so he didn't have the time. He went to ask Jill, but Jill said that sowing really wasn't her specialty. Jill really loved to weed. If the sower needed anything done in the way of weeding, Jill would be glad to help. The sower went to Thomas, but Thomas said that he was leaving the sowing to the younger men. He had retired from his job two years ago and had done enough sowing when he was young. He went to Lisa, but she didn't think she knew enough to sow. Despite the sower's insistence that there was no better way to learn than to sow, she just didn't think she was qualified. He went to Sheila, but Sheila said that she had planted a seed two years ago and nothing came of it. Sheila didn't see any point to sowing when nothing ever came from it. The sower finally went to Larry, but Larry thought the garden was in too bad of shape to bother. Larry said we should all wait until the Master Gardener came back before we did anything.

"So the sower went out to sow again, but the committee for Modes of Tilling Effectively (or MOTE) called the sower to task for not following bylaw 1675A-62J in the Uniform Code of Sowing. The committee had approved both wayside and stony ground sowing, but no thorns. MOTE also called into question the method of the sower. They had always done sowing overhand, but the sower was using a sidearm method. Although the results seemed to be better than the overhand method, it was simply something for which there was no historical precedent. After the inquest, MOTE agreed that the sower should never sow on thorny ground, but could continue to use the sidearm method as long as he did so only in the more remote parts of the garden. The sower was warned and sent on his way.

"The sower sat down and thought about all this. He worked hard at sowing. He would come home late at night and his arms and his feet would be sore. He missed time away from his family while sowing. He faced all kinds of dangerous creatures while out sowing -- not to mention the taunts and jeers of the non-gardeners. Every once and a while, a seed would sprout and start to grow, only to have another gardener come along and declare it an inferior variety of plant not worthy of inclusion in the garden. He sowed without pay, without recognition and without help.

"So the sower did not go out to sow seed anymore. All of the gardeners asked, 'Why isn't our garden growing any more? We used to have so many new trees and plants. This was really a beautiful garden in the old days. People just aren't interested in gardening anymore. Isn't it a shame?' And the garden became overgrown with weeds and died" (KT).

Mat 13:4

Vv 4-8: 4 hearers: careless, casual, worldly, and sincere.

ALONG THE PATH: Hard, compacted soil, untouched by plow.

Mat 13:5

Quick and easy conversion, but with no real conviction, and no lasting power.

Mat 13:6

SUN: That which brings heat, tribulations, persecutions: Song 1:6; Rev 12:1; Luk 11:47-50.

Mat 13:7

THORNS: Sym the curse upon Adam and Eve (Gen 3:18). Cp crown of thorns: Mat 27:29; Mar 15:17; John 19:2,5.

Mat 13:8

HUNDRED, SIXTY, OR THIRTY TIMES: "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (Psa 126:5,6).

Mat 13:9

The truths expressed by Jesus were accessible to all men -- who must learn to look for the hidden meanings.

Mat 13:10

See Luk 10:21.

Mat 13:11

The rejection of Christ's words could not leave men where they had been before: Joh 12:47-50.

SECRETS: "Mysteries" (AV). Hidden to men, but revealed at times by God (Dan 2:28,29,47; Amo 3:7; cp Mar 4:34). Simply something concealed, but not especially difficult to comprehend, once revealed. We CAN understand these mysteries: 1Co 2:10; Eph 3:3-5.

NOT TO THEM: Or, "those on the outside" (Mar 4:11) -- implying the imminent rejection of the nation!

Mat 13:12

The parable -- that strange mixture of natural and spiritual, simple and complex -- was a test to the hearers. How would they react? Would they joyfully come to the light, or would they turn away for fear of what that light would reveal? Like the pillar of cloud and fire (Exo 14:20), the same parable may be darkness to the "Egyptian" but light to the "Israelite". Like the shell or husk, the parable may preserve the precious kernel of truth FOR the earnest seeker, and protect it FROM the lazy and proud and careless!

EVEN WHAT HE HAS: "Even what he THINKS he has" (Luk 8:18).

Mat 13:13

Ref those who turn away: 2Th 2:10,11; Rom 1:28; Isa 29:13,14. Judicial blindness inflicted upon their minds. Jesus begins using parables shortly after being accused of being in league with Beelzebub (Mat 12:24-27) -- to those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Mat 12:32).

Mat 13:14

FULFILLED: Gr "anapleroo": used only here; sig "completely fulfilled".

THOUGH SEEING, THEY DO NOT SEE...: They saw the natural meaning, but not the spiritual significance: Isa 6:9,10n. (Plainly, Christ was prepared for very little acceptance of his message.)

Mat 13:15

THEY HARDLY HEAR WITH THEIR EARS: "You can knock forever on a deaf man's door."

THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (Joh 3:19). An unteachable disposition: proud, scornful.

HEAL THEM: = to be forgiven (Mar 4:12; Psa 103:3). Cp Isa 55:7.

Mat 13:17

"Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" (Mar 4:13). And so Christ gives an explanation, as a guide to knowing the other parables.

Mat 13:19

THE MESSAGE: The seed = the message, or the word! See 1Pe 1:23; Isa 55:10,11.

THE EVIL ONE: "Satan" (Mar 4:15), the "devil" (Luk 8:12). In short, organized opposition to God: 1Pe 5:8n.

THE SEED SOWN ALONG THE PATH: The plow must be used to tear apart ruthlessly the old allegiances, and to penetrate the crusty, cauterized heart of flesh. Then it may become good soil.

Mat 13:20

ROCKY PLACES: Or "stony places" (AV). Emotions aroused for a short time, but their minds never really changed.

Mat 13:22

DECEITFULNESS OF WEALTH: "Deceitfulness of riches" (AV). "False glamour of riches" (NEB).

In this type of soil, thorns of fleshly lusts must be rooted out, and constantly fought against. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). We should not make up excuses for ignoring such "thorns" (ie, 'You are too narrow', or 'It's okay to sow a few wild oats'). It is always easier to produce a crop of healthy thorns than to tend the "seed" properly.

MAKING IT UNFRUITFUL: Like the fig tree (Mat 21:19).

Mat 13:23

Note the succession: hear, accept (understand), and then bear fruit.

HE PRODUCES A CROP: "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" (Luk 8:15). "See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains" (Jam 5:7).

HUNDRED, SIXTY OR THIRTY TIMES: Excellent, good, and fair yields. For 100, see Gen 26:12.

Even at this late stage, complacency is discouraged, and carefulness is needed to produce the very most fruit.

Mat 13:24

Vv 24-30,36-43: See Lesson, Wheat and tares.

Consider connection with Gen 3:18: "It will produce thorns and thistles for you." Adam was commanded to labor in the field, to produce herbs (grain) to eat. The problem is, the field would also produce thorns and thistles (like tares!). In the parable of the tares there is also a man (Gen 3, the man, Adam); a field (Gen 3, herb of the field); a good seed (Gen 3:15, the seed of the woman); the enemy (Gen 3, the serpent), and tares (Gen 3:18, thorns and thistles).

TOLD: "Put before" (RSV), as though it were a meal (cp 1Co 10:27; Act 16:34; Luk 11:6).

Mat 13:25

WHILE EVERYONE WAS SLEEPING, HIS ENEMY CAME AND SOWED WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT: "Roberts states that the exact counterpart of this nocturnal villainy may be found in India at the present day. A man wishing to do his enemy an injury, watches for the time when he shall have finished plowing his field, and in the night he goes into the field and scatters 'pandinellu'. Being of rapid growth, it springs up before the good seed, and scatters itself before the other can be reaped, so that it will be some years before the poor owner can rid the soil of the troublesome weed. But there is another noisome plant which these wretches cast into the ground of those whom they hate; it is called 'perum-pirandi', and is more destructive to vegetation than any other plant. If a man has purchased a field which another intended to buy, the disappointed person declares, 'I will plant the perum-pirandi in his grounds' " (Oriental Illustrations 530).

Mat 13:26

SPROUTED AND FORMED HEADS: The "tare" is actually darnel (Lolium temulentum). Other Lolium species include Italian rye grass (sp multiflorum) for example. "When wheat grain germinates, it is very similar to many other grasses, including the darnel. However, when the ears develop it is easy to tell them apart as the darnel is a smaller plant and the ears are more slender." Another distinguishing feature once the ear is ripe is that the grain is slate grey in colour and easily distinguishable from the golden colour of the wheat grain.

"The grain is in just the proper stage to illustrate the parable. In those parts where the grain has headed out, the tares have done the same, and then a child cannot mistake them for wheat or barley; but where both are less developed, the closest scrutiny will often fail to detect them. Even the farmers, who in this country generally weed their fields, do not attempt to separate the one from the other" (LB).

Mat 13:30

LET BOTH GROW TOGETHER UNTIL THE HARVEST: The "tare" or "darnel" is a very troublesome weed found in Oriental wheat fields. It was thought by the ancients to be a degenerate form of wheat. It looks exactly the same as wheat until late in its growth cycle. Its seed is similar in size and shape, but is gray in color; its fruit is very scarce. When present in a field with good wheat sown broadcast, the roots of the two are intertwined. Thus the darnel can be successfully separated from the good wheat only at the time of harvest. Thankfully, it causes no danger during growth, but even a little will spoil the finished product, and render it unfit for human use. (LTJM 1:589).

There is surely a sort of reasonable comparison -- on one level -- between the Bible tares and ordinary weeds, or between tares on the one hand and thorns and thistles on the other, in that each can intermingle and interfere with the good seed as it grows (see the previous parable about the Sower in Mat 13). And it is of course reasonable to use this rather superficial comparability to make certain points.

But, at another level, the tares were very different from any weeds or thorns that might be found in the midst of the growing crop of good grain... because the tares looked SO MUCH LIKE the good seed that they were, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable. Maybe a trained person with a magnifying glass might be able with a very high degree of success to discern one stalk as tares and the next as good wheat. And the workers had come to realize (from a very close observation?) that there were in fact tares among the wheat. But then, in the farmer's occupation, neither time nor cost would permit the farmer, or all the workers he might hire, to crawl through the whole field, minutely examining each stalk and pulling up each stalk of tares, whilst never disturbing the good seed right alongside.

Seen from this perspective, the tares should more properly symbolize those who are -- to almost any reasonable human observation -- indistinguishable from the true believers. Whereas weeds or thorns might symbolize patently false believers or absolute unbelievers in the world around us, the tares symbolize those who -- at the judgment -- will be shown (by Christ and the angels) to be practical "unbelievers" or "unfaithful", although to all previous appearances they looked just like the true believers.

Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, and the scornful Pharisees were "thorns" or "weeds". Judas (before he revealed himself in the betrayal of his Master) was a "tare".

TIE... IN BUNDLES: "Why bother to bundle up the tares before burning them? Are these, who have created stumblingblocks for many, to be dealt with each according to their own proud exclusive fellowship?" (WGos 272).

Seen against the background of Gen 3, it looks like the parable of the tares is a parable by which the whole of the human condition, and the whole purpose of God with the earth, is explained... in a nutshell!

Or a kernel of grain and a tare.

Mat 13:32

THE SMALLEST OF ALL YOUR SEEDS: The tiniest known seed (or at least the smallest seed normally sown: LB 416), suggesting small, insignificant beginnings. Points to Christ, the poor, despised, lowly carpenter of Nazareth. The "form of a servant": Phi 2:7; Isa 53:2. Ignominious death. Unlearned disciples.

So small when a seed that it can be casually blown or brushed away, but when it is full grown the greatest of plants in relation to its original size.

A TREE: Cp Dan 2:34,35. Tree = great nation: Eze 17:22n; Eze 31:6; Dan 4:11,12. Called the "khardah": 10 feet tall, may be climbed by men.

BIRDS: Often used in an unclean sense: Gen 15:11; Eze 31:6; Isa 34:14,15. Sig the Gentile nations: Dan 4:12; Jer 12:9; Eze 39:17; Rev 19:17.

BRANCHES: Or its shade (Mar 4:32). See Isa 32:2; Eze 17:23; 31:6. Shade/shadow of sun, to avoid its harsh rays (sig affliction).

Mat 13:33

YEAST: Leaven used symbolically: Mat 16:6-12; Mar 8:15; Luk 12:1; 1Co 5:6-8; Gal 5:9. Cp 2Th 2:11. (1) In bad sense: Corruption to invade the community of believers, and gradually corrupt the whole (cp thought of other parables). Or (2) in good sense: that which grows secretly, silently, in the minds of men -- assimilating other substances to its own nature, changing all it touches. Leaven in good sense: in Passover wave loaves: Lev 23:17; cp Lev 7:13.

A WOMAN: The ecclesia?

A LARGE AMOUNT OF FLOUR: Lit, "three measures of meal" (AV). Three may suggest the major divisions of the whole world. The gospel message permeating and at last changing the whole world?

Mat 13:38

THE FIELD IS THE WORLD: Gr "kosmos". Used of Jewish world in Rom 4:13; Col 2:8,20; Heb 11:38; Jo 12:19; 7:4; 1:10.

GOOD SEED... WEEDS: Against the background of Gen 3, sym the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent!

Mat 13:39

THE DEVIL: The lusts of the flesh (Heb 2:14). Tares, or evil thoughts, are sown secretly (Acts 20:30; 2Ti 3:13; 4:3-5; Jud 1:4; 2Pe 2:1; Gal 2:4). These tares produced fruit in the "children of the devil": Joh 8:44; Mat 3:7; 23:33; Jud 1:11.

Mat 13:40

THE END OF THE AGE: Cp v 49; Luk 18:30. All things will be made manifest, at Judgment: Mar 4:22; Luk 12:2; 1Co 4:5). The tares will then be recognized for what they are -- at the time when both classes will be "rewarded".

Mat 13:41

THE SON OF MAN WILL SEND OUT HIS ANGELS: What a claim this humble Nazarene was making (1Pe 3:22)!

ANGELS: Angels as reapers: Mat 25:31; Mar 8:38; Luk 12:8,9.

AND THEY WILL WEED OUT OF HIS KINGDOM: Some in Kingdom, yet "cast out", with weeping and gnashing of teeth: Mat 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 13:50; Luk 13:28.

Mat 13:42

THE FIERY FURNACE: Fire = the second death (Rev 20:14). Cp Mat 25:41; 3:12; Mar 9:43-47.

WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH: Mat 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30.

Mat 13:43

// Gen 37:5-11; Dan 12:3.

Mat 13:44

TREASURE HIDDEN IN A FIELD: "Owing to the insecurity of property in the East, from war and oppression, joined to the necessity of keeping valuable property in hand, for want of secure banks of deposit, the practice of hiding precious utensils and ornaments, money and jewels, has always been common. Often these are built up into the walls of the owner's house, often buried in fields and gardens" (Kitto).

This presents no morality problem, since the treasure may have been hidden for generations. "According to Jewish law, if man found treasure in loose coins among the corn, it would certainly be his, if he bought the corn. If he had found it on the ground, or in the soil, it would equally certainly belong to him, if he could claim ownership of the soil" (Eder).

What might the "treasure" symbolize? (1) Understanding and insight, into the truth of God's revelation of course: Prov 2:2-5. (2) Wisdom, especially of course the wisdom that comes from God (Prov 16:16).

This "treasure" is to be found in Christ: "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:2,3).

WHEN A MAN FOUND IT: "I was found by those who did not seek me" (Isa 65:1).

Both Ruth and Boaz found a "treasure" hidden in a field: (1) Ruth went to glean in the field, and found the "treasure" of a Redeemer-husband (Rth 2:3); (2) Boaz found the "treasure" of a Redeemed-beloved, hidden in the field of inheritance; he hid the bride from the unnamed kinsman, so that -- redeeming the field -- he also claimed the real "treasure" hidden in that field, which was Ruth (Rth 4:5).

Mat 13:45

A MERCHANT LOOKING FOR FINE PEARLS: In contrast to v 44, this man was actively and diligently seeking for his "treasure"!

Mat 13:46

HE WENT AWAY AND SOLD EVERYTHING HE HAD AND BOUGHT IT: Cp v 44: whether discovered by accident, or by design, the reaction is the same: give up everything else so as to obtain it!

In the earlier parable, the man stumbles upon the "treasure" -- he was evidently not seeking it at all; he didn't even know it was to be found! But in the second parable, the merchant has been searching high and low for the greatest "treasure", the greatest "pearl": he has sifted through and evaluated other "pearls"; he knows the worth of what he seeks, and he knows immediately when he finds it: "This is it!" -- his heart's desire!

But, in each case, whether by apparent "accident" or by design and tireless effort, the man who at last finds the great "treasure" will do anything, and sell anything, if only he might acquire it!

And so it might be with the knowledge of Christ that leads to eternal life. Never has there been, nor ever shall there be, such a treasure as this. One man may happen upon it, in what looks like the purest coincidence (but really isn't!): a leaflet picked up and casually perused in an idle moment, a word listened to at just the right moment. Another man may seek diligently, a whole lifetime, until he finds the real and satisfying truth of the Bible. Each path is acceptable, and each path has been taken by many, many men and women. The point is that each path leads to the same goal: the "treasure" at the end of the "rainbow" (literally! see Gen 9:13!).

It must be said that there is an interesting "twist" in the story. Notice that "the man" in other parables of Mat 13 plainly represents Christ: he is the man who sows the seed, in the first two parables (vv 3,24,37).

So the question arises: instead of the "treasure" (or the "pearl") being the "gospel" or "Christ" himself, and the man (or the merchant) the one who finds truth... why not: the "treasure" is the one who finds truth, and the man who finds HIM is Christ?

And the answer, I believe, is: why not indeed? Whether it be by what appears to be coincidence (but which is really the providence of God), or by diligent and long searching, Christ will seek out and find HIS "treasure", HIS "pearls". And they will be the "treasured possessions", the "jewels" in his "crown" (cp Phi 4:1; 1Th 2:19), the ones who are bound up in HIS "bundle" of precious things!

They will be Christ's "treasure", also, BECAUSE they "treasured" what they found. It is a cliché, surely, that we all become, in time, what we seek after, or what we want to be. The pleasure-seeker becomes a hedonist, the leisure-seeker becomes lazy, the wealth-seeker becomes rich: what we desire in our heart or hearts is what, at the last, we will BE! As a man thinks in his heart, so he becomes. And the seeker after the treasure of God's truth, His word, His promises -- who desires that above all else... will in the end BECOME the "treasure" which he sought

And all together, the individual redeemed ones will constitute the Bride of the Lamb, the virtuous woman who is the Bridegroom's greatest treasure, "for she is worth far more than rubles" (Prov 31:10).

Each of these two propositions has merit, and each -- it is believed -- may be true: do we seek Christ, or does Christ seek us? Do we find Christ, or does Christ find us? Yes, and yes. It all depends on which perspective we have. To human eyes, and human experience, it may appear altogether as though WE do the seeking and the finding, but from God's point of view, we all were known and marked out ahead of time. For His point of view, we do not save ourselves; we cannot save ourselves -- rather, we are searched for, and found, and redeemed, and treasured -- all by Him: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us [literally, 'marked us out ahead of time'] to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves" (Eph 1:3-6).

Mat 13:48

Mar 13:48.

WHEN IT WAS FULL: The fullness of the Gentiles: Rom 11:25; cp Gen 48:19.

THEN THEY SAT DOWN: Implying a judgment: Dan 7:26; Mal 3:3.

Mat 13:50

WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH: Mat 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30.

Mat 13:52

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him" (Mat 12:35).

These parables (the "new") may be best understood through a familiarity with the Bible itself, ie the OT (the "old"). Thus we have the superabundant wealth of the modern scribe, with Old and New Testaments to draw upon: cp Lev 26:10: "You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new."

"The instructed scribe of Christ's own household has a duty towards his fellow-members of the house. That duty is to 'bring forth out of his treasure things new and old.' The qualified scribe has his 'treasure' -- the knowledge of God's Word, and to the extent that he has prayerfully studied it, seeking to divide it rightly as a good workman (2Ti 2:15), so he is a good scribe. Such is the quality of the 'treasure' that its full beauties are never fully comprehended, and the most diligent students know how unsearchable are the riches of God's revelation. Hence there is a never-failing interest in the 'food' the scribe provides, things ever 'new' while 'old.' Without any deviation from first principles of God's Word there is a continued freshness in its presentation. This short parable is an encouragement to men of every age to follow the Lord as teachers, to be like him students of God's Word, like him to present in full loyalty to the Scriptures the unfailing wonder of the grace of God as it is revealed in the many-sided presentation of the oracles of God" (PM 112).

Mat 13:55

ISN'T HIS MOTHER'S NAME MARY?: But not the son of Joseph! An innuendo (cp Joh 8:41,48). "A taint of malicious suggestion" (LGS 84).

Mat 13:56

HIS SISTERS: Prob 3 (cp 1Sa 2:5).

Mat 13:57

HOMETOWN... HOUSE: Cited generally from Gen 12:1: "Country, kindred, father's house..." Thus, Abraham was a prophet while in Ur.

// Mat 12:46-50; Jer 11:21; 12:6.

Mat 13:58

BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF FAITH: Explained by Luk 4:28-30: "All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way." Given this context, "lack of faith" is a serious understatement!

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