Matthew 13: The Parable Chapter. This chapter is almost entirely parables. Most of them are ones I’ve been taught since primary school, so rather that try and deconstruct them, I’m going to focus on what they mean in my life – application wise. I use the word gospel a lot in my applications. Jesus uses the words “The Kingdom of Heaven”. The reason I don’t say Kingdom of Heaven like Jesus is not because Jesus is wrong and I need to disambiguate; it is because the gospel (as I know it) is the good news that the Kingdom of Heaven has now been made possible for sinners like me. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom he’s talking about my inheritance, something I can only dream of because of his propitiating sacrifice.
The Parable of the Sower 13:3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Explanation:18“Hear then the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.b 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” ✪ This parable seems to apply almost entirely to people who are new in faith or who are considering the gospel but aren’t yet sure. For me this can be applied in my ability to follow up and like 1 Cor 3:8 implies, water the seed. Jesus gives us four kinds of audience responses to the gospel, 3 bad–1 good. A farmer who sows seeds can usually tell the difference between the path, the rocks, the weeds and good soil – so if the actual sowing of the seeds can relate to the evangelist at all, then maybe we can infer this: 1)–Sow your seed liberally! Don’t be over concerned about accidentally hitting the path, rocks, weeds as you scatter them, but at least aim for the good soil. 2)–When you see some soil that appears to be good, I think that is reason enough to get excited and so some seed. How to water the seed/follow up: I’m not sure if this parable is really saying much for what we can do for the bad soils, but my experience tells me that it is impossible for a heart, broken by Christ’s love, to stumble across someone who at least has a seed (maybe not knowing what to do with it), without wanting to care for it and help it grow healthily. I think in many cases it is impossible for us to see whether or not the soil is good or bad–and I really don’t think we should try to be determining that kind of info. So when you cross paths with someone who seems to be stuck on the path–watch out for the enemy try to bring them to a more protected area. When you see someone who is trapped on rocky ground–don’t get to excited about their quick upshoot, but rather be more concerned about providing a deep rich foundation for roots. When you see someone mingled in with thorns and weeds–get them out! The weeds will eventually win if they are not escaped from. When you see someone in good soil-water them-help them grow!
13:44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ✪ Nice reminder! The treasure is the gospel, the man is me. The knowledge of the gospel is available to be found. But it doesn’t lie deep within the depths of my heart or soul – it is in Jesus Christ. I’m not able to find joy in the gospel (And there is much joy to have!) according to my own merit or virtue. The gospel is the possesion of Jesus Christ and my own chance of knowing it is in him. Filled with joy – I give up everything in light of the good news of knowing Christ and in him I am satisfied!
13:45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. ✪ There is no other thing in this life of greater value than what is found in the gospel. There is nothing worth keeping in this world at the cost of passing by faith in Jesus.
13:47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ✪ Wow, that’s a pretty dramatic change from the last 3 parables. After 3 parables that encourage us to seek Christ out with all our ability – we receive a stern warning of what will happen if we don’t! The warning is it is not all good news for everyone. In context of the previous parable I think we can see a pretty important value here that Jesus may be trying to stress. 1- The gospel is broadcast, it is heard by many but received by few. 2 & 3-The gospel is worth everything you can give and in joy you will give everything away to receive it (Luke 9:24). 4-If you don’t receive the gospel, which implies giving everything else in you life away (dying to self). You forfeit an inheritance. You will be recognized as a bad fish and you will get what you deserve: “the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Oh Lord. There are things that I’ve kept back for myself. I know that you require all of my and that I deny myself unto you–but still, even now Lord, I know there are things that I am keeping for myself. A secret fall back plan: “If God doesn’t bless me, I will do it myself”. Forgive me please father! And give me the heart to see the value of the treasure you speak of and willfully and longingly give everything EVERYTHING away! I care for none of it Lord – I hate it all if it’s what keeps me from you! Change my heart and show me how to walk you way with joy I pray!