Read Matthew 13 -- 14
Matthew recorded seven prophetic parables of Jesus concerning the mysteries (truths that had not been revealed in the past) of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:11). In the first parable, Jesus described four kinds of responses from those who hear His Word. The true disciple of Christ is represented by the good ground that received seed, which in turn brings forth fruit even to an hundredfold (13:8-23). His second parable was of the tares that grew in the same field with wheat, but produce no fruit (13:24-30). The tares (darnel) look identical to wheat as it grows. In its young stages, only the expert can tell the difference. But when tares reach maturity, the head reveals its lack of value. In this parable, the Master said: Let both grow together until the harvest (13:30). Jesus explains that the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom (13:38), who produce fruitful lives.
The tares represent those who outwardly appear to be converts to Christ but who have never truly received Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. They may fool the church world, but not Christ. Eventually, the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all . . . which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (13:41-42).
The third parable describes the Kingdom of God as like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it grows up, and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it (13:30-32; Mark 4:30-32). The very small mustard seed may illustrate the Kingdom of God, which began with the birth of the King of all creation as a mere Babe in a manger, an act as insignificant as a mustard seed. Today, millions around the world have acknowledged Jesus as both Savior and Lord. His Kingdom will continue to grow worldwide and, one day soon, the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
In His fourth parable, Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven with leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (Matthew 13:33). Leaven is not seen in the bread. It works invisibly, yet its results are visible and transform the loaf.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (13:45-46). This illustrates Christ and His Kingdom as the one pearl of great price. All else in life sinks into insignificance compared to eternal life with Him. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26).
Word Studies: 13:5 forthwith means without delay; 13:15 is waxed gross means has grown hardened; 13:20 anon . . . received it means immediately; 13:21 dureth means to continue; 13:25 tares means darnel; a weed; 13:33 leaven means yeast; meal means ground grain; 14:8 charger means platter, tray.
For Matthew 13:14-15: See Isa. 6:9-10. Matt. 13:32: See Psa. 104:12; Ezek. 17:23; 31:6; Dan. 4:12. Matt. 13:35: See Psa. 78:2. Matt. 13:41: See Zeph. 1:3. Matt. 13:43: See Dan. 12:3.
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Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 3:17