Mat_13:24. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Jesus never sowed any other kind of seed. The truth which he taught is pure and unadulterated. It is good seed, — good and only good, the very best of seed.
Mat_13:25. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Wherever Christ is active the enemy is sure to be active too. If you have a sleeping church, you may have a sleeping devil; but as soon as ever Christ is in the congregation sowing the good seed, the devil wakes up, and by night, when men are off their guard, the bad seed — the mock wheat —here translated “tares” — is sown among the true wheat.
Mat_13:26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
The false wheat came up with the true. Perhaps the seed in the one case may have looked like the other even as there is “another gospel which is not another” with which come still trouble us. The only true test is, “By their fruits ye shall know them;” so, when the seeds had sprung up, there was the blade of true wheat, and “then appeared the tares also.”
Mat_13:27. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
How often we have asked that question! We have seen children trained by the most godly parents, yet they have developed a sad propensity to sin, and we have said, “From whence then have these tares come?” We have seen a ministry which has been sound and faithful, and yet in the congregation there have sprung up divers errors which have done a world of mischief, and we have had sorrowfully to ask, “From whence then have these tares come?”
Mat_13:28-29. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
We are so fallible, we make so many mistakes, that we cannot be trusted to do this uprooting, for we might pull up wheat as well as tares. If there had been briars or thorns growing in that field, those servants might have pulled them up without damage to the corn, just as an open evil liver, who breaks the laws of God openly, may be cut off from the church without damage; but these tares must be left for the present.
Mat_13:30. 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.
There will be an end of this mixture in due time; the hypocrite shall not always stand in the congregation of the righteous; the wheat and the tares shall be separated “in the time of harvest.”
Mat_13:31-32. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
The kingdom of heaven is just like that in this world; wherever it comes, it comes to grow. And it is just like that in our hearts. Oh, how small is the first sign of grace in the soul! Perhaps it is only a single thought. The life divine may begin with but a wish, or with one painful conviction of error;
but if it be the true and living seed of God, it will grow. And there is no telling how great will be its growth till, in that soul where all was darkness, many graces, like sweet song-birds, shall come and sing, and make joy and gladness there. Oh, that you and I might experimentally know the meaning of the parable of the mustard seed !
Mat_13:33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
And although leaven is usually the symbol of evil, yet it may be here a fair representation of the kingdom of heaven itself, for it operates mysteriously and secretly, yet powerfully, till it permeates the whole of man’s nature; and the gospel will keep on winning its way till the whole world shall yet be leavened by it.
More and more it spreads and grows,
Ever mighty to prevail.”
Mat_13:34-36. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 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. 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.
I again remind you that, wherever there is anything that you do not understand, the best way is to consult the Master concerning it. If I read a book in which there is an obscure passage, and I can write to the author, and ask him what he means by it, I shall most probably get to understand it. So, the best Expositor of the Word of God is the Spirit of God; therefore appeal to him whenever you are puzzled with anything that is taught in the Scriptures, and say to him, “Blessed Spirit, wilt thou graciously expound to me this parable, this doctrine, this experience ?” and he will do it, and so you shall become wise unto salvation.
Mat_13:37-43. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
May God give us such ears as can hear his voice, and may we take to heart the solemn teachings of our Lord !
Mat_13:44-46. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto 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.
It would be a good bargain for anyone to part with all he has in exchange for the kingdom of heaven, yet that great “treasure” is to be had for nothing by everyone who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mat_13:47-50. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
We are to cast the great seine-net of the gospel into the sea of humanity, but we must not expect that all we catch will prove to be good. There is time of separation coming when “the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.”
Mat_13:51. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?
This is a question which constantly needs to be put to all hearers and readers of the Word. “Have ye understood all these things?” To be hearers only, or readers only, will avail nothing; the Word must be understood, accepted, assimilated, and so shall it make us wise unto salvation.
Mat_13:51. They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
They answered very glibly, yet probably not one of them fully understood the seven parables in this chapter. If anyone did so, he would be like the instructed scribe described in the next verse: —
Mat_13:52. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
He who has learned anything concerning the kingdom of heaven should teach it to others, bringing forth the truth in pleasing variety, “new and old,” to edify all his hearers.
Mat_13:53-54. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue,insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
They were highly privileged in having Jesus back in their midst, yet they failed to appreciate his teaching; they were astonished at his wisdom, but were unable to perceive the divine source from which it sprang.
Mat_13:55-58. Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? and his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
This was a notable illustration of John’s words concerning Christ, “He came unto his own, but his own received him not.” Let us beware of unbelief lest it should tie the hands of Christ as it did there in his own country.