Highlights In Today's Reading:
Powerful lessons. The Word of God is the seed. We're just told to plant. God takes it from there (13:1-23). Mustard seed, yeast, and hidden treasure. The pearl of great price can be yours (13:45-46). Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 (14:13-21) and walks on water (14:25-27).
Uppermost in the minds of all Jewish people was the restoration of their earthly kingdom. Concerning the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (13:11), Jesus described four responses from those who hear His Word. Some react with self-destroying indifference; they represent the seeds (that) fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up (13:4). Indifferent hearers are too involved with self interest; consequently, they do not respond to the Gospel. The fowls are the influences of the wicked one (13:19). The seeds are the Word of God which can always be lost until it is received in our hearts (Ps. 119:11). Others who hear the Word seem receptive but soon lose interest. These are like some seeds (that are sown) upon stony places (solid rock beneath a shallow covering of soil). . . . the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it . . . for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended (Matt. 13:5,20-21). The seed sprouts quickly and these "converts" appear full of life; but, when they are faced with opposition, they are offended, and quit.
Still other "converts" are like seed that fell among thorns (which) . . . choked them (13:7). These represent those who heareth the Word . . . (but who let) the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful (13:22). They seem to recognize the true worth of following Christ; but, other interests gradually take control of their hearts. However, Jesus said that some seeds fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold (13:8). This means that insight and understanding will be given in direct proportion to our response to do the will of Christ. This good ground represents all who believe and obey the Word of God. They have prepared their hearts by reading their Bibles and discover the difference between the things of this world and what pleases Christ. By repentance and faith they root out the weeds of mixed motives that destroy spiritual fruitfulness.
This parable reveals why there are so many spiritual dropouts. But, our Lord also wants us to know that, when we sincerely sow the seed of His Word, we cannot fail since some seed will fall on good ground. God also has assured us: My Word . . . shall not return unto Me void (Is. 55:11).
Thought for Today:
As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is tried (II Sam. 22:31).
13:5 forthwith =quickly; 13:15 is waxed gross =has grown hardened; 13:20 anon . . . receiveth it =immediately accepts it; 13:21 dureth for a while =continues only a short time; 13:25 tares = symbolic of satanic activities; 13:33 leaven =insignificant yeast that affects the whole; meal =ground grain; 14:8 charger =large platter.
For Matt. 13:14-15: See Is. 6:9-10. Matt. 13:32: See Ps. 104:12; Ezek. 17:23; 31:6; Dan. 4:12. Matt. 13:35: See Ps. 78:2. Matt. 13:41: See Zeph. 1:3. Matt. 13:43: See Dan. 12:3.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Beverly Skinner • Staff: Tammy Davis • Government Officials: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX), Rep. Brian Higgins (NY), Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) • Country: Finland (5.2 million) in northern Europe • Major languages: Finnish and Swedish • Religious freedom • 86% Lutheran; 1% Orthodox; 12% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask God for daily direction (Ps. 48:14).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:8