Matthew 13


Matthew 13:17

“For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

(a) Righteous men. Before the cross, no one could be made righteous. The gift of righteousness had not been given and the “one act of righteousness” had not be done (Rom. 5:18). Yet Old Testament saints such as Abraham were credited with righteousness on account of their faith in God (see entry for Rom. 4:3). In the old days, righteousness was credited to those who believed or longed for the Messiah.

(b) Desired to see what you see. The prophets and saints of old longed to see Jesus.


Matthew 13:19

“When 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 the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

(a) The word of the kingdom is synonymous with the the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17) or the gospel of King Jesus or the gospel of grace because Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s grace (John 1:14).

(b) What has been sown is the seed. The original word (speiro) is the same as the word used for sower in the previous verse. Jesus is both the sower and the seed that is sown (Matt. 13:37).

(c) Seed. The seed is the word of God or the good news of Jesus; see entry for Luke 8:11.


Matthew 13:20

“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

The rocky places describe the mindset of someone who is trusting in the tablets of stone or the law. Since they are relying on the law, the word of grace is unable to take root in their life.


Matthew 13:21

yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

(a) He has no firm root. Jesus is the Root of Jesse, the Root of David, and the Righteous Root that sustains us (Rom. 11:18, 15:12, Rev. 5:5). Those who look to the law to establish their own righteousness have no firm root because their trust is in themselves.

(b) When affliction or persecution arises because of the word. Some hear the gospel of grace and rejoice only to wilt under the frowns of those preaching of law and dead works.

(c) He falls away. The one who relies on his own moral or law-keeping performance is unable to stand because he is not rooted in the Righteous root.


Matthew 13:40

“So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.

The end of the age. The original word for end (sunteleia) means completion or consummation of a plan. God has a plan, and it comes to completion at the end or consummation of the age when the Lord returns in glory.


Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

A treasure. In God’s eyes, people are the treasure (Deu. 16:18).

A man. Jesus is the man who sold or gave up all he had to win you.


Matthew 13:45–46

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

A merchant. Jesus is the merchant who sold or gave up all he had to win you.

A pearl of great value. In his eyes you are highly valued. Jesus gave his life to redeem you.


Matthew 13:47

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;

Like a dragnet. The invitation to enter the kingdom goes out to all, whether good or bad, Jew or Gentile.


Matthew 13:48

and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.

The bad are known by their bad or evil deeds, specifically, their rejection of the king and his kingdom (see entry for John 5:29).

They threw away or rather they threw themselves away by judging themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46). Those who refuse the gift of life shall not have it.


Matthew 13:49

“So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,

(a) The end of the age; see entry for Matt. 13:40.

(b) The righteous are those who have been made right with God by receiving, through faith, the free gift of righteousness. See entry for Righteousness.


Matthew 13:50

and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The furnace of fire is a metaphor for hell; see entry for Matt. 5:22.


Matthew 13:55

“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

His brothers. At first, the half-brothers of Jesus did not believe that he was the Son of God (Mark 3:21). But they and their mother Mary were among those praying in the Upper Room after the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14). James became the influential leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). It’s possible the other brothers became ministers of the gospel and apostles, but we have no direct evidence for this (1 Cor. 9:5).


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