Read Matthew 13
The Parable of the Sower
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The Parable of the Net
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
A Prophet Without Honor
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
A parable is a story used to illustrate a spiritual truth. It is an earthly message with a heavenly meaning. Matthew 13 is filled with parables, but today we will focus on The Parable of the Weeds. After departing the disciple’s home, Jesus made his way toward the Sea of Galilee. As He made his way into the boat, He was immediately surrounded by a large crowd. All who gathered were eager to hear what was to be said. Little did they know, they were about to receive a life lesson on farming! Jesus knew that the crowd consisted of farmers, so there is no better way to get the attention of the audience than to speak their language. And Jesus did exactly that!
You can only imagine the thoughts and questions running through everyone’s mind. Who is the man that sowed the good seed, what does the field represent, who is the enemy and what is his objective? The man who sowed the good seed is Jesus, the Son of man. The field is the world where both believers (wheat) and unbelievers (weeds) live and coincide with one another. The enemy in this story is Satan, whose only goal is to wreak havoc. Satan is relentless in his attacks and schemes (John 10:10). Yet there is hope for us believers. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Right now, we can stand in victory and can walk with confidence that our eternal home soon awaits, for those who have accepted the free gift of God’s grace.
In verses 27-30, we see how the servants question the quality of the seed. They were quick to want to take control of the issue. Yet Jesus’s response makes it clear that the Lord will one day righteously judge all people. He is not slow in keeping His promise, but He is patient, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
So, what does that mean for us today? Remain in constant fellowship with Christ because apart from him we can do nothing. Surround yourself with other believers so you can stand firm against the lies of the enemy and remember the hope we hold onto. Lastly, look for every opportunity to use your gifts to further expand the kingdom of God. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few!
- What seed is the enemy trying to plant in your life, and how should you respond?
- What area of your life are you trying to control that you need to surrender to God?
- In what ways can you remind yourself of truth in this season so that you can stand firm against the lies of the enemy?
For a deeper dive into the Parable of the Weeds & Wheat, check out this sermon from Harris Creek’s Summer of Stories series.
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3 thoughts on “Matthew 13”
Growing up as a farmers daughter, the parable of the 4 soils resonates with me. It was a whole process where the soil had to be cleared, plowed, fertilized, sowed, watered & weeded in order to yield a crop. I’m challenged as I read this particular parable to thoroughly check the condition of the soil of my heart. I must cultivate it well with daily habits including confession, repentance, meditation on scripture, prayer, praise, & thanksgiving. I must constantly root out weeds of bitterness, comparison, jealousy, gossip, lies, complacency, judging and entitlement. I’m thankful for the Word of God that can penetrate to the deepest recesses of my being, so that the soil of my heart remains fertile ground, ready to receive instruction and correction yielding an eternal harvest.
It is so cool that Jesus met people where they were. Farmers, keepers of animals, working with other people ect… He personalized His ministry to reach those people and taught His disciple’s to also learn about that person in order to be able to help them more effectively. Listening to hear a persons heart to be able to help them in their walk or so that they will or can have a walk with God should be the objective to sowing or harvesting. It is all about freedom of will, their choice, but we can help with watering of the soil and helping with the weeding if available. It is one thing to become a believer in Christ, WOOHOO a new follower!!! Then they go to church but no one shepherds them. They were sown on good soil but the thorns of life came in and choke them out. I believe we fall short as a body of believers greatly in this arena. I do know it is freedom of choice again but checking on your fellow sister or brother is just that FAMILY!!!! No badgering just love so that they know they are not alone and that (hopefully more than one person in the family)we are with them through trials and situations. This passage is a great reminder for us not only to ask if they know Jesus but when they say YES then say do they have a good family of believers surrounding them in their walk. If yes then WOOHOO! but if no then HC is a great place and I would love to help you get started and help you fit in to a great ministry.
God thank You for how You show us all through Your Word of how to walk this world. Give us wisdom and knowledge as we speak to people to meet them where they are at and guide us to give You the Glory and Honor in Jesus name Amen
I majored in Horticulture, so I, too, am equally drawn to anything that relates to gardening in scripture. It’s probably the first texts that caught my attention to want to search through the Bible to understand God—God used horticulture to speak to me.
Tim Keller said it best …he reminds us that we are soil and God’s the gardener. And when there’s rocks, thorns, and weeds in our soil, it’s not our job to make our soil plantable—it’s the Gardener’s job. The soil’s job is to receive the seed—the word. We go to God to ask to pull the weeds, the thorns, and the rocks—and He replies I’ve been waiting for you to come to me. You see…I took the thorns, and worn them on my brow. I took the rocks, and they buried me under one. I’ve taken those things, that’s what I’m here for.
Last Friday, Keller did this whole passage on podcast #795. He explains it’s so richly if you want a deeper understanding along with HC.