- At the beginning of this chapter, Jesus starts to teach a huge crowd many parables. So many people showed up that he had to sit in a boat off shore and speak to the crowd from there.
- The first parable Jesus talks about is a farmer sowing seed. Some of the seed that was scattered fell on the path and was eaten by birds before it could take root. Some seed fell on some rocky places, took root, and sprung up quickly. However, the rocky environment only provided a shallow amount of dirt for the roots to spread, so when the sun rose it scorched the plants and they withered. Some of the seed fell among thorns, took root, and also grew. However, as the plants grew the thorns started to choke them. The last of the seed fell on good soil and grew to produce a crop, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown.
- Jesus’ disciples then ask Jesus why He speaks to the people in parables. Jesus explains that at that time the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have only been revealed to Jesus’ disciples, not to everyone who hears/follows Jesus. This was to fulfill prophecy that people would hear and see miraculous things, but never understand the brevity of what they witnessed because of the hardness of their hearts.
- But the disciples were blessed because they saw and heard with understanding things that the prophets and righteous men of old longed for, but did not experience.
- Jesus then explains the parable of the sower.
- First, the seed that falls on the path is like a person who hears about the kingdom of God and does not understand it. The devil steals away the words sown in the heart and they fail to grow.
- Second, the seed that fell on the rocky places is like a person who hears the word and receives it with joy. He experiences growth, but since he does not have any root, he only lasts for a short time. When troubles or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
- Third, the seed that fell among the thorns is like a person who hears the word and grows, but because of the worries of life and the deceitfulness of money, they are choked and they remain unfruitful.
- Lastly, the seed that falls on good soil is like a person who hears the word and understands. He is fruitful and produces a crop 100, 60, 30 times what was sown.
- The second parable Jesus tells is about the kingdom of heaven being like, once again, sowing seed. In it, a man sows good seed in his field, but in the night an enemy comes in and sows weeds amongst the good seed.
- When the wheat started to show, so did the weeds that had been planted among them. The man’s servants ask him where these bad weeds came from if he only planted good seed, and he replies that an enemy planted the weed seeds.
- They ask if he wants them to tear out the weeds, but he replies and tells them that pulling out the weeds now would harm the wheat.
- Instead, he tells them to leave everything alone and when harvest comes, to harvest both the wheat and the weeds. At harvest time, the weeds will be taken first and thrown into the fire. After the weeds have been eliminated, then the wheat will be harvested and place in the barn.
- The third parable Jesus tells is about the kingdom of heaven being like a mustard seed. Even though the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, it grows to be the largest plant in the garden and provides shelter for the birds.
- The fourth parable Jesus tells is about the kingdom of heaven being like yeast that a woman mixes into a large amount of flour, until it is all mixed together.
- Jesus spoke many things to the people, but He did not talk to them without using parables to fulfill prophecy.
- Once He was separated from the crowd, Jesus’ disciples asked Him the meaning behind the parable of the weeds.
- Jesus explains that the person who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, and the good seed is those who are of God’s kingdom.
- The weeds are those who follow the evil one, and the evil one who sowed them is the devil.
- The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels.
- At the end of the age, the Son of Man will send out the angels to weed out everything from the Kingdom that causes sin and everyone who does evil. These things will be throw into the furnace where there will be sorrow and bitterness (weeping and gnashing of teeth). But the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of God.
- Jesus then tells a fifth parable about the kingdom of heaven being like a treasure hidden in a field. A man finds this treasure, but since it is not his property he cannot just take it. With much joy, he hurries to sell everything he has so that he can afford to buy the field and receive the treasure.
- Jesus’ sixth parable is about the kingdom of heaven being like a merchant looking for fine pearls. He finds the pearl of a lifetime and sells everything he has to be able to buy it.
- Jesus’ seventh (and final parable in this chapter) is about the kingdom of heaven being like a net. This net is let down in the lake and is pulled up full with all kinds of fish. Once it is sorted through, the good fish are kept in baskets and the bad fish are thrown away.
- Jesus explains that this will be how it is at the end of the age. The angels will separate the wicked from the righteous, and they will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Jesus asks the disciples if they have understood these things, and they say they have.
- Jesus then explains that every teach of the law who has learned about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out new treasures as well as old.
- After finishing this series of teaching, Jesus moves on and heads back to his hometown. He taught in the synagogue and performed a few miracles, which amazed the people.
- The people began to question where Jesus got this wisdom and ability to perform miracles, because He was one of them. They knew Him as the carpenter’s son, and Mary stilled lived among them along with Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Because of this, they were offended by him.
- Jesus then tells them that only in his own hometown and in his house is a prophet without honor. And because of their lack of faith Jesus did not perform many miracles there.
There is a lot to unpack in this chapter, but the soil jumps out to me today. I’m reminded that Jesus does not tell His disciples to try and change the soil, but merely explains what happens when the kingdom of heaven collides with the reality of the world. Three out of the four groups of people/seeds receive growth, but it is only one group that produces a crop. Am I investing into relationships/people that show growth, but aren’t willing to produce the crop? Am I praying that Jesus would till the soil in my own life to make me more productive?
Jesus, I know that left along to my own devices I cannot grow my own crop. I pray that you would work in and through me to produce something worthwhile for your kingdom. Lord, I want to be faithful to the task that you have given me and not hide behind growth that remains unfruitful. Amen.
Posted on Fri, September 4, 2015
by Brian Landers