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Matthew 13:3-23
(3)  Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying:
 "Behold, a sower went out to sow.  (4)  And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.  (5)  Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  (6)  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.  (7)  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.  (8)  But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 
(9)  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
(10) And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"
(11)  He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  (12)  For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  (13)  Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  (14)  And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;  (15)  For the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.'
(16)  But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;  (17)  for assuredly, 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.
(18) "Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  (19)  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 
(20)  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  (21)  yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 
(22)  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 
(23)  But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Mark 4:1-20
(1) And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 
(2)  Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
(3)  "Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.  (4)  And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.  (5)  Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.  (6)  But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.  (7)  And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.  (8)  But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."
(9)  And He said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
(10) But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 
(11)  And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,  (12)  so that
'Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.
(13) And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 
(14)  The sower sows the word.  (15)  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
(16)  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  (17)  and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. 
(18)  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,  (19)  and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 
(20)  But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."
Luke 8:4-15
(4) And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city,
He spoke by a parable: 
(5)  "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.  (6)  Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.   (7)  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold."
When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
(9) Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?"
(10)  And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
'Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.'
(11) "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  (12)  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 
(13)  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 
(14)  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 
(15)  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."

Parable is from parabole - denotes  "a placing beside".

1. It signifies  "a placing of one thing beside another"  with a view to comparison
2. In the New Testament it is found outside the gospels only in Hebrews 9:9 and 11:19
3. It is generally used of a somewhat lengthy utterance or narrative drawn from nature or human circumstances
4. The object of which is to set forth a spiritual lesson, e. g., those in Matt 13 and Synoptic parallels
5. Sometimes it is used of a short saying or proverb, e. g., Matt 15:15; Mark 3:23; 7:17; Luke 4:23; 5:36; 6:39
6. It is  the lesson  that is of value;  the hearer must catch the analogy if he is to be instructed
7. Christ's  "parables"  most frequently convey truths connected with the subject of the kingdom of God
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Went out to sow

According to Dr. Thomason,  this statement is more literally true than would appear to a hasty reader.
The farmers in Palestine used to  “go forth”  to sow their seed,  the fields being at a considerable distance from their homes,  sometimes six or eight miles.

According to Jewish authorities, there was twofold sowing:

1. By means of cattle A sack with holes was filled with corn and laid on the back of the animal,  so that,  as it moved onward,  the seed was thickly scattered
2. By hand They cast the seed cast in a semi-circle by the hand,  which was called “broadcast” sowing

By the wayside

Dean Stanley,  approaching the plain of Gennesaret, says:  “A slight recess in the hillside,  close upon the plain,  disclosed at once,  in detail and with a conjunction which I remember nowhere else in Palestine,  every feature of the great parable:

1. There was the undulating cornfield descending to the water’s edge
2. There was the trodden pathway running through the midst of it,  with no fence or hedge to prevent the seed from falling here and there on either side of it or upon it;  itself hard with the constant tramp of horse and mule and human feet.
3. There was the  ‘good’  rich soil that distinguishes the whole of that plain and its neighborhood from the bare hills elsewhere descending into the lake,  and which, where there is no interruption,  produces one vast mass of corn.
4. There was the rocky ground of the hillside protruding here and there through the cornfields, as elsewhere through the grassy slopes.
5. There were the large bushes of thorn springing up like trees in the very midst of the waving wheat.”

He who has ears to hear,  let him hear

There are three categories of  "hearers" - Those who:

1. Do not have ears to hear They have no spiritual ears, have not received the salvation offered by Christ, and therefore have no spiritual understanding.
2. Have ears to hear, but do not hear These are believers, and have spiritual ears, but choose to  "tune out"  what the Word would say to them, and are stunted in their spiritual growth.
3. Have ears to hear, and hear The believers who have spiritual ears and choose to listen to and learn from the Word of  God.  They continue to grow and mature spiritually.  They are "salt" and their light shines.  Thus bearing much fruit for the master of the field.

Why do you speak ... in parables?

Some have said Jesus spoke in parables so that the multitudes would understand His words.
But that is contrary to the reason Jesus gave the disciples in answer to their question: "Why do you speak to them in parables?"

The reason Jesus gave:

Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

The parables of Jesus, like the pillar of cloud and fire

turns a dark side towards Egyptians,  which confounds them,
but a light side towards Israelites, which comforts and guides them.

Parables serve the double purpose of  revealing and concealing

Presenting 'the mysteries of the kingdom' to those who know and relish them,
But to those who are insensible to spiritual things yielding only, as so many tales, some temporary entertainment
 (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Matthew 13:13-15  (Amplified Bible)

(13)  This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.
(14)  In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive.
(15)  For this nation's heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them.

Isaiah 6:9-11  (Amplified Bible)

(9)    And He said, Go and tell this people, Hear and hear continually, but understand not; and see and see continually, but do not apprehend with your mind.
(10)  Make the heart of this people fat; and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn again and be healed.
(11)  Then said I, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until cities lie waste without inhabitant and houses without man, and the land is utterly desolate.

Mark 4:33-34
And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. But without a parable He did not speak to them.  And when they were alone,  He explained all things to His disciples.    (NKJV)

Matthew 13:34, 35
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables;  and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

"I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world."

The Mysteries of the Kingdom of  Heaven

Mysteries - from the Greek “musteria”
In classical Greek,  applied to certain religious celebrations to which persons were admitted by formal initiation,  and the precise character of which is unknown.

A mystery does not denote an  “unknowable”  thing,  but one which is withdrawn from knowledge or manifestation,  and which cannot be known without special manifestation of it.
Hence appropriate to the things of the kingdom of heaven,  which could be known only by revelation.

The word "mystery," in the Bible,  properly means a thing that is  "concealed,"  or that  "has been concealed."
It does not mean that the thing was  "incomprehensible,"  or even difficult to be understood.
The thing might be  "plain"  enough if revealed,  but it means simply that it  "had not been before made known."

Romans 16:25
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations.    (NKJV)

Romans 11:25
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.    (NKJV)

Ephesians 3:3, 4, 9
... how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery  (as I have briefly written already,  by which,  when you read,  you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of  Christ) ... and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery,  which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.   (NKJV)

Do you not understand this parable?  How then will you understand all the parables?

The Parable of the Sower does not begin with  "The kingdom of heaven is like"
because it  describes how the kingdom begins.
It begins with the preaching of the Word,  the planting of the seed in the hearts of people.

10 mysteries of the Kingdom of  Heaven

1. (Romans 11:25) The mystery of the Blindness of Israel, Bringing in Gentiles
2. (1 Cor. 15:52) The mystery of the Rapture
3. (Eph. 1:9) The mystery of His Will
4. (Eph. 3:3) The mystery of the Knowledge of Christ
5. (Eph. 5:32) The mystery of Christ and the Church
6. (Col. 1:27) The mystery of Christ in You
7. (11 Thess. 2:7) The mystery of Iniquity
8. (1 Tim. 3:16) The mystery of Godliness
9. (Rev. 1:20) The mystery of the Seven Stars
10. (Rev. 17:5) The mystery of Babylon

The Scriptures themselves explain why the Kingdom of Heaven is  “mysterious,”  or hidden from understanding except through special revelation:

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not met and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
John 3:3 Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Acts 14:22 We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world….
1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
John 16:13 When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Now the parable is this

Sower Not identified Any source that provides the Word of God
Seed The Word of God Scattered - for all to receive
Birds Satan Snatches the seed before it can take root
Wayside Rebellious hearers Trampled ground, not receptive - active rejection
Rocky Ground Emotional hearers Quit when the going gets tough - active rejection
Thorny Ground Faithless hearers Give in to worry and greed - passive rejection
Good Ground Yielding hearers Seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness

We are responsible for the care and cultivation of our own  field.

Some a hundredfold

From Adam Clark

"For the elucidation of this text,  I beg leave to introduce the following experiment.
In 1816  I sowed,  for a third crop,  a field with oats,  at Millbrook,  in Lancashire;  the grains weighed,  on an average,  3/4 of a grain each.  One grain produced three stalks with three ears:  the largest had 68 grains in it,  the second 26, and the third 25.

Whole number of grains 119
which together weighed 82 grains
The root separately, after washing
and drying, weighed 13 1/2 grains
The stalks and remaining leaves
(for many had perished in the wet season) 630 1/2 grains
Weight of the whole produce of one
grain of oats 726 grains

This was 725 times and one quarter more than the original weight.

The power of grain to multiply itself,  even in the same year,  is a subject as much of curiosity and astonishment.

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

It is significant that three-fourths of the hearts did not produce fruit (they were never truly born again)
And the hearts that were fruitful did not all produce "a hundredfold."
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)


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Matthew 13:24-30;  36-43
(24)  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;  (25)  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.  (26)  But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.  (27)  So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'  (28)  He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'  (29)  But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  (30)  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

(36) Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house.  And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."
(37)  He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  (38)  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  (39)  The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.  (40)  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  (41)  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,  (42)  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (43)  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

A man sowing good seed The Son of God  
The Field The world  
The Good Seed Sons of the Kingdom Faithful children of God
The enemy sowed tares Satan  
The Bad Seed Sons of  Satan Unfaithful, hypocrites
The Harvest End of  the age  
The Servants Angels  


Tares are the annual bearded darnel or rye grass that flourishes in wheat fields.

It is difficult to tell it from wheat or rye until it heads.  (It is known by it's fruit)
After harvest the wheat is fanned,  then put through a sieve.
The smaller darnel seeds left after fanning pass through the sieve leaving the wheat behind.
The darnel is host to an ergot-like smut fungus that infects the seeds.
The fungus is a serious poison if eaten by animals or man.

Roberts states that the counterpart of this nocturnal villainy may be found in India.
A man wishing to do his enemy an injury watches for the time when he shall have finished plowing his field,  and in the night he goes into the field and scatters  “pandinellu,”  or  “picpaddy
“This being of rapid growth springs up before the good seed,  and scatters itself  before the other can be reaped,  so that the poor owner of the field will be some years before he can rid the soil of the troublesome weed.”

An enemy has done it

From this parable we find,  concerning our Archenemy, Satan:

1. (v. 25) This enemy is Vigilant While men sleep he watches
2. (v. 25) This enemy is Hidden After having sown his seed, he disappears
3. (v. 26) This enemy is Deceitful His seed appears as the wheat until it bears its fruit

The Two Seeds

Gen 3:15 Seed of the woman Christ
  Seed of the serpent Satan
This is the first mention of the two seeds in the Bible.
God said that the woman would have a seed (Christ) (Gal 3:16; 4:4),  and the serpent (Satan) would have a seed.
It also states that there would be constant enmity between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed.
(Gen 4:1-16) Cain and Abel  
When Cain murdered Abel he started this enmity between the two seeds.
1 John 3:12 states that Cain was  "of that wicked one" - a child of the devil!
This conflict continues throughout the entire Old Testament.
(12:34; 23:33) The Pharisees and Jesus  
Satan's seed  ("children of the devil")  opposed John the Baptist (3:7)  and did nothing when he was killed by Herod.
They opposed Christ and asked to have Him crucified.
At the cross,  Satan bruised Christ's heel but Christ bruised Satan's head and defeated him forever.
(Acts 13:10) The Apostle Paul and the Judaizers  
Satan's seed opposed Paul when he first started his missionary work and all through his life.
Satan opposed Paul (as he does the church today) with
(Gal 1:6-9) a false gospel
(2 Cor 11:13-26) false ministers
(Rom 10:1-3) false righteousness
(2 Cor 11:26) false brethren
(2 Thess 2) The final result Christ
False Christ
This enmity between the two seeds will finally culminate in a false Christ .
The  "son of perdition"  will oppose the Son of God.
The  "mystery of lawlessness"  will oppose the mystery of godliness.
The harlot religious system  (Rev 17)  will fight the bride  (the true church).
And there will be a  satanic trinity -  the devil, the beast, the false prophet
(Rev 19:20; 20:1-3) - to oppose the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In the end,  all satanic forces will be defeated by the Son of God.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The Scriptures have this to say on the subject:

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the Wiles of the devil.    (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 2:8, 11
Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him ... lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.    (NKJV)

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan,  with all power,  signs,  and lying wonders,  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,  because they did not receive the love of the truth,  that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion,  that they should believe the lie,  that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.    (NKJV)

James 4:7, 8
Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.     (NKJV)

Ephesians 4:26
"Be angry, and do not sin":  do not let the sun go down on your wrath,  nor give place to the devil.    (NKJV)

1 Peter 5:8-11
Be sober,  be vigilant;  because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,  seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him,  steadfast in the faith,  knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace,  who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,  after you have suffered a while,  perfect,  establish,  strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.    (NKJV)


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Matthew 13:31, 32
(31)  Another parable He put forth to them, saying:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,  (32)  which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
Mark 4:31, 32
(31)  It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth;  (32)  but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."
Luke 13:18, 19
(18)  Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 
(19)  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

A grain of mustard seed
When it is planted Is the smallest of seeds
When it is grown Is greater than all herbs

Mark gives the most detailed account of this parable:

QUESTION (v. 30) To what can we compare the kingdom of God?
ANSWER (v. 31) It is like a grain of mustard seed.
HOW? (v. 31) When it is sown in the earth, it is less (mikroteron – smallest in size) than all the seeds that be are the earth:
  (v, 32) But when it is sown, it grows up, and becometh greater (meizon – larger in size) than all herbs (lachanon – edible garden herb)
  (v. 32) And shoots out great branches
RESULT (v. 32) So that (hoste – insomuch – as a result, not as a reason)  the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. (Luke 13:19 – lodge in the branches of it)

"I have seen," says Dr. Thomson, "this plant on the rich plain of Akkar as tall as the horse and his rider.  It has occurred to me on former visits that the mustard-tree of the parable probably grew at this spot, or possibly at Tabiga,  near Capernaum,  for the water in both is somewhat similar,  and so are the vegetable productions.  To furnish an adequate basis for the proverb,  it is necessary to suppose that a variety of it was cultivated in the time of our Savior,  which grew to an enormous size,  and shot forth large branches,  so that the fowls of the air could lodge in the branches of it.  It may have been perennial, and have grown to a considerable tree;  and there are traditions in the country of such so large that a man could climb into them;  and after having seen  "red pepper"  bushes grow on year after year,  into tall shrubs,  and the  "castor-bean"  line the brooks about Damascus like the willows and the poplars,  I can readily credit the existence of mustard-trees large enough to meet all the demands of our Lord's parable."  - "The Land and the Book," vol. ii. p. 101.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Birds nested in its branches

In this parable series,  birds are agents of evil  (Matt 13:4,19),  as they are frequently in Scripture (Jeremiah 5:26-27; Rev 18:2).  History confirms the fact that from the smallest beginning,  the church made astounding growth through the proclamation of  Christ's message.  Yet such unusual growth has provided roosting places for those who are enemies of God,  who seek the shade and fruit of the tree for their own interests  (even nations like to be called "Christian").
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Luke 13:19 - Amplified Bible
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the wild birds found shelter and roosted and nested in its branches.


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Matthew 13:33
(33)  Another parable He spoke to them:
"The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."
Luke 13:20-21
(20)   And again He said, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?
(21)  It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

Hidden in three measures of meal
Till it was all leavened - filled with leaven


The usual leaven among the Jews consisted of dough in a high state of fermentation,  though the lees of wine were sometimes employed.
The property of leaven is to change,  or assimilate to its own nature,  the meal or dough with which it is mixed.
It is as our modern  “yeast”  which is a living organism,  and indicates an inward growth.

A Woman Hid 3 Measures of Meal

Genesis 18:1-8
(1) Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of  Mamre,  as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.  (2)  So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,  (3)  and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.  (4)  Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.  (5)  And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant."
They said, "Do as you have said."

(6)  So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said,
"Quickly,  make ready three measures of fine meal;  knead it and make cakes.
(7) And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it.8 So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.     (NKJV)

Leaven in the Old Testament is generally symbolic of evil:

Passover Removed from the Jewish homes during Passover
Ex 12:15,16 ... seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.   (NKJV)
Ex 13:7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.  (NKJV)
Sacrifices Excluded from the sacrifices
Ex 34:25 You shall not offer the blood of  My sacrifice with leaven,  nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.**     (NKJV)
  ** The exception was loaves used at the Feast of Pentecost.

In the New Testament it refers to:

Jesus Evil doctrine of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod
Matt 16:6 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."     (NKJV)
Mark 8:15 Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."     (NKJV)
Paul Regards leaven as evil
1 Cor 5:6-7 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.       (NKJV)
Gal 5:7-10 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.     (NKJV)

The mustard seed illustrates the false outward expansion of the kingdom
The leaven illustrates the inward development of false doctrine and false living.


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Matthew 13:44
(44)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

Hidden in a field
A man found the treasure and hid it
Joyfully sells all he has and buys the field

Hidden in a field
The possession of wealth often became a source of great perplexity because of its insecurity.
Every man being his own banker,  ingenuity was taxed to devise some plan of concealment,  or to find some place where money,  jewels,  and other valuables may remain free from molestation or suspicion.
Sometimes these treasures are hidden in secret closets in the house,  or in vaults under the house;  sometimes buried in the field,  in a spot unknown to all save the owner.  It not so infrequently happened that the owner went away and died before the time of his intended return,  his secret dying with him.
Times of war and pestilence carried off great numbers,  who left treasures concealed,  no one knows where.  There are,  no doubt,  deposits of immense value thus buried.
A man who discovers the place where treasure is hid keeps the discovery to himself,  buys the field,  and the treasure is then his own.

Question: Answer:
What did the man do?
Sold all he had
Question: Answer:
How did he sell all he had?
Question: Answer:
Why did he sell all he had?
To buy the field
Question: Answer:
Why did he want to buy the field?
To get the treasure
Question: Answer:
Who is the man?
Jesus Christ
Question: Answer:
What is the treasure?
We are

Phil 2:5-9
... Christ Jesus ... made Himself of no reputation,  taking the form of a bondservant,  and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man,  He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.     (NKJV)
Acts 20:28
... the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.     (NKJV)


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Matthew 13:45, 46
.(45)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, (46)  who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

A merchant
Seeking beautiful pearls
Found a pearl of great price
Sold all he had and bought the pearl
Question: Answer:
What was the merchant doing?
Looking for beautiful pearls
Question: Answer:
What did he find?
A valuable pearl
Question: Answer:
What did he do when he found it?
Sold everything he had
Question: Answer:
What did he do when he sold all?
bought the pearl
Question: Answer:
Who is the merchant?
Jesus Christ
Question: Answer:
What is the pearl?
We are

In the parable of the hidden treasure, the Kingdom is like the Treasure that was hidden
In the parable of the pearl, the Kingdom is like the Merchant that was seeking
In both, the man (Jesus, the Son of Man) gave up all that he had to purchase that which was most valuable to him.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.   (NKJV)

1 Corinthians 6:20
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.   (NKJV)


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Matthew 13:47-51
(47)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,  (48)  which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.  (49)  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,  (50)  and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(51)  Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?"
They said to Him, "Yes, Lord."

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

A net cast into the sea
Gathered some of every kind
When full, it was brought to shore
The good were gathered into vessels
The bad was thrown away


The word often rendered  “net”  signifies a large drag-net that draws everything after it,  suffering nothing to escape,  as distinguished from a  “casting-net”  in Mark 1:16.

Have you understood all these things?

The Amplified translates this:

Have you understood all these things [parables] taken together?

The word for  “all”  is  “panta”  which is literally “altogether

The Kingdom of  Heaven is like

A Man Sows Good Seed Enemy plants Bad Seed Both Grow Together
A Grain of  Mustard Seed Planted in the Ground Grows to Great Size Birds Seek its Shade
Leaven Hidden in the Meal Grows inside the Leaven Permeates the Dough
Treasure Hidden the Field Found by a Man Purchased by the Man
A Merchant Searching for Pearls Found Priceless Pearl Purchases the Pearl
A Net Cast into the Sea Gathers All Kinds Good Kept, Bad Tossed

Here we have the wonderful and fearsome story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Matthew 13:47-43
Good & Bad Seed
Both the good and bad are left to grow together until the harvest (end of the world) at which time the bad seed (unbelievers, unfaithful, hypocrites)  is tossed into the furnace, and the good seed (faithful believers) are gathered to the Father and shine as the sun.
Matthew 13:31, 32
The Mustard  Seed
The seed was small and insignificant, but after it was planted and grew, it became largest of all herbs and wild birds nested in its branches (Luke 13:19).  Birds having already been identified by Jesus as evil ones (Matthew 13:4 & 19) receive the benefits of , and infest, the church.
Matthew 13:33
The Leaven
The leaven (evil, sin) is in the meal, and permeates the dough.  When sin entered through the first man, Adam, every human from that time on was born is sin.
Rom 5:12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.  (NKJV)
Matthew 13:44
The Hidden Treasure
The treasure had been hidden in the field.
Col 2:13  And you,  being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,  He has made alive together with Him.   (NKJV
This death is the death of sin.
When he found the treasure, he hid it again.
Col 3:3  For you died,  and your life is hidden with Christ in God.      (NKJV
This is the death to sin.
And purchased us with all he had - with his very life blood.
Matthew 13:45, 46
The Merchant
The merchant was seeking beautiful pearls.
Luke 19:10   For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.    (NKJV
He found a pearl that was more valuable to him than all he had.
Again, he purchased us with all he had - with his very life blood.
Matthew 13:47-51
The Draw-Net
It was cast into the sea, and drew in both good and bad.
When it was brought to shore, at the end of the world (age) the wicked were tossed into the fire.

2 Thess 2:7-11
(7)  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;  only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  (8)  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  (9)  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,  (10)  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.    (NKJV)

John 3:16-18
(16)  For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ( unique) Son, so that whoever believes in  (trusts in, clings to, relies on)  Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
(17)  For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world,  but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
(18)   He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment;  for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation];  but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]    (AMP)

He that hath an ear - let him hear

  This warning  is found 16 times in the New Testament:
  Matt 11:15 Mark 4:23 Rev 2:7 Rev 3:6
  Matt 13:9 Mark 7:16 Rev 2:11 Rev 3:13
  Matt 13:43 Luke 8:8 Rev 2:17 Rev 3:22
  Mark 4:9 Luke 14:35 Rev 2:29 Rev 13:9

For more discussion on the parables of Jesus, see The Teachings in Topical Studies.

(End of Lesson Twelve)



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