Read Matthew 13
Jesus' parables; execution of John the Baptist; feeding of 5,000; Jesus walks on water.
All these things spake Jesus . . . saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world (Matt. 13:34-35).
Jesus gave seven prophetic parables which puzzled the disciples who said: Why speakest thou unto them in parables? (13:10). In answer to the disciples' question, Jesus quoted from Isaiah, saying This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed (Matt. 13:15; Is.6:9).
The seven parables should be considered as vital aspects of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (13:11). Jesus first describes four kinds of responses from those who hear His Word. Some react with self-destroying indifference; they represent the seed that fell by the way side, and the fowls . . . devoured them (13:4). The fowls imply internal disinterest as well as external evil influences. Others seem receptive to His Word, but soon lose interest; these are like the seed sown upon stony places (13:5), meaning solid rock beneath a very shallow covering of soil. Because the seed sprouts quickly and springs up, these “converts” appear so promising, so full of life, and anon with joy receiveth it (13:20). When they are faced with persecution, opposition, or even the rebuke of God's Word, they are offended (13:21) because there is no real depth to their commitment.
Still others become too occupied with the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches (13:22). They represent seed that falls on good soil, people who are neither indifferent, as in the first example, nor shallow, as in the second. However, they are double-minded, allowing other interests to hold equal devotion within their hearts. The tragic result is that, like weeds left in a “good garden,” the Word of God is eventually crowded out by other “good things” which choke the Word and it becometh unfruitful (13:22). But some fell into good ground (13:8). This represents the few who not only believe God's Word, but allow it to break up the rocky ground — areas that have not been yielded to God — and root out the weeds and thorns which represent mixed motives that hinder spiritual effectiveness.
The extent of our fruitfulness depends on how thoroughly we weed out our material, social, political, or other interests to allow our good seed to produce some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (13:23).
Thought for Today:
We should be devoted to Christ and His interests if we expect the Lord's blessings.
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.
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, weeds — symbolic of satanic activities; 13:33 leaven, seemingly insignificant yeast that affects the whole; meal, ground grain; 14:8 charger, large platter.
Prayer Suggestion: The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips (Prov. 16:23).
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:17