Matthew 13

1 The same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea side.
2 And a great multitude was gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spoke many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;
4 and when he sowed, some of the seed fell beside the way, and the fowls came and devoured them up.
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth;
6 and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
8 But some fell into good ground and brought forth fruit: one a hundredfold and another sixtyfold and another thirtyfold.
9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
10 Then the disciples came and said unto him, Why dost thou speak unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have in abundance; but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that which he has.
13 Therefore, I speak to them in parables because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive;
15 for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see and have not seen them and to hear those things which ye hear and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he who was planted beside the way.
20 But he that was planted in stony places, the same is he that hears the word and receives it immediately with joy;
21 yet he has no root in himself but is temporal, for when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 And he that was planted among the thorns is he that hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
23 But he that was planted in good ground is he that hears the word and understands it and who also bears the fruit and brings forth: one a hundredfold and another sixty and another thirty.
24 He put forth another parable unto them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is likened unto a man who sows good seed in his field
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went away.
26 But when the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then the tares appeared also.
27 So the slaves of the husband of the house came and said unto him, Lord, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From where then does it have tares?
28 He said unto them, The enemy, a man, has done this. The slaves said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, No, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.
31 He put forth another parable unto them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;
32 which indeed is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and make their nests in its branches.
33 He spoke another parable unto them: The kingdom of the heavens is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.
34 Jesus spoke all these things unto the multitude in parables and said nothing unto them without parables
35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house, and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man;
38 the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked;
39 and the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and those who do iniquity
42 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
44 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto treasure hid in the field, which when found, a man hides it and, for the joy thereof, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls,
46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind of fish,
48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth and separate the wicked from among the just
50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
51 Jesus said unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They answered unto him, Yes, Lord.
52 And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who is instructed in the kingdom of the heavens is like unto a man, a husband of a house, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.
53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there.
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished and said, From where does this man have this wisdom and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then does this man have all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.
58 And he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The parable of the sower. (1-23) The parable of the tares. (24-30; 36-43) The parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven. (31-35) The parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl of great price, the net cast into the sea, and the householder. (44-52) Jesus is again rejected at Nazareth. (53-58)

Verses 1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, ( Hebrews 6:8 ) . Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.

24-30, 36-43 This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ's care of it, the devil's enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master; Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and that with meekness. And though good and bad are together in this world, yet at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. Let us, knowing the terrors of the Lord, not do iniquity. At death, believers shall shine forth to themselves; at the great day they shall shine forth before all the world. They shall shine by reflection, with light borrowed from the Fountain of light. Their sanctification will be made perfect, and their justification published. May we be found of that happy number.

Verses 31-35 The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, ( Mark 4:26-29 ) , yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, ( Romans 6:13 ) . From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?

Verses 44-52 Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, ( John 5:39 ) , will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

Verses 53-58 Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter's son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ's favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.

Matthew 13 Commentaries

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010