Matthew 13:31-33, 44-53

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

THE PARABLES OF THE MUSTARD SEED,

THE LEAVEN, THE HIDDEN TREASURE,

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE, AND THE

DRAGNET, AND THE TREASURY OF TRUTH

INTRODUCTION:

 

The program of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (11:2 - 12:50), the parables of the kingdom (13:1-52), and the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (13:53).

 

The parables of the Kingdom include the parable of the sower and the soils, the parable of the wheat and the tares, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the leaven, the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl of great price, the parable of the dragnet, and the treasury of truth.

We see –

    I.     THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED – 13:31-32

 

Jesus taught the parable of the kingdom of heaven being like a grain of mustard seed sown in a field which grows into a tree big enough that birds are able to lodge in its branches.

 

Matthew 13:31 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.

 

Another parable is another parable of the same kind (as the parable of the sower and the soils and the parable of the wheat and the tares).

 

Put he forth unto them suggests that in His teaching Jesus put before His audience. His audience consisted of disciples as well as people such as the scribes and Pharisees who rejected Him.

 

Saying introduces how Jesus put this parable before His audience. He spoke it.

 

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed is the kingdom of heaven is similar to a mustard seed.

 

Grain is seed, and mustard is mustard plant. It is a seed of a mustard plant or a mustard seed.

 

Which a man took, and sowed in his field refers to the mustard seed.

 

Took and sowed suggests took and planted.

 

In his field indicates where the man planted the mustard seed.

 

Matthew 13:32 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.

 

Which refers to the mustard seed a man planted in his field.

 

Indeed sets up a contrast between the size of the seed and the size of the plant which grows from it. Indeed may be understood in the sense of on the one hand; whereas, but, which follows, may be understood in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

Is the least of all seeds means is smaller than all the seeds or is smallest of all the seeds.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the mustard seed being the least of all seeds.

 

When it is grown is whenever it grows, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

It is the greatest among herbs suggests it is (the) greatest of the garden herbs (or vegetables).

 

And becometh a tree is and becomes a tree.

 

So that suggests with the result that.

 

The birds of the air is the birds of heaven or the birds of the sky.

 

Come and lodge in the branches thereof is come and are living in its branches.

 

Jesus did not explain the meaning of this parable of the mustard seed. However, it is apparent that the kingdom of heaven starts out very small but experiences tremendous growth. Unfortunately some of the growth is not good. Birds come and lodge in its branches.

 

One should remember that the kingdom of heaven is the realm of profession of salvation rather than the realm of possession of salvation. In verse 4 when the sower sowed the seed, some of the seeds fell on the road; and the fowls (or birds) came and devoured them. In His explanation of the parable of the sower and the soils in verse 19, Jesus explained that it was the wicked one, i.e. Satan, who came and snatched away the seed that was sown in this person’s heart before the seed could germinate. Thus, the kingdom of heaven became a place where Satan and those over whom he rules could come and dwell. Like the parable of the tares and the wheat, the parable of the mustard seed pictures Christendom or professing Christianity with all sorts of unbelievers mixed in with those who have been genuinely saved. Whereas the unbelievers are represented by the tares in the parable of the tares and the wheat, in this parable the unbelievers are represented by the birds.

We also see –

  II.     THE PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN – 13:33

 

In verse 33 Jesus spoke a parable about a woman hiding yeast in three measures of meal.

 

Matthew 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.

 

Another parable is another parable of the same kind.

 

Spake he unto them is He (i.e. Jesus) spoke to them.

 

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven suggests the kingdom of heaven is similar to yeast.

 

Which refers to the leaven (or yeast).

 

A woman took and hid in is a woman took and put into.

 

Three measures of meal indicates where the woman put the leaven or yeast.

 

Three measures are three seahs. A seah is a Hebrew dry measure containing about thirteen liters. Three seahs would equate to about one bushel.

 

Meal is wheat flour which would be used for making bread.

 

Till the whole was leavened suggests until the time when the whole (batch of dough) was leavened.

 

Jesus does not explain the meaning of the parable of the leaven. However, it should be noted that in the Bible leaven is always representative of evil. For example, in their celebration of the Passover, the LORD instructed Moses and Aaron in Exodus 12:15 that leaven was not to be used,

 

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

 

Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees by which He meant that the disciples should beware of the false teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

 

Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

Matthew 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

Immorality was found in the church in Corinth, and the people seemed proud of it. Paul advised the church to put the person guilty of this immorality out of the church. He referred to this immorality as leaven.

 

I Corinthians 5:6-8 – (6) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 

According to the Book of Galatians, the Judaizers were teaching that converts to Christianity must submit themselves to the entire law of Moses including circumcision. It would mean that to be saved a person would not only have to believe the gospel but that he would also have to become a Jew. Thus, leaven in Galatians 5:9 refers to false teaching.

 

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

 

The parable of the leaven is best understood as indicating that evil and false teaching will permeate the kingdom of heaven just like leaven or yeast permeates a batch of dough. The kingdom of heaven is equivalent to Christendom, which today is filled with false teaching and bad behavior.

 

This is consistent with the kingdom of heaven being the realm of profession of salvation which includes both the tares and the wheat and which also includes the good fish and the bad fish.

Next, we see –

 III.     THE PARABLE OF THE HIDDEN TREASURE – 13:44

 

In verse 44 Jesus teaches the parable of the treasure hidden in a field.

 

Matthew 13:44 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 suggests once more.

 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field is the kingdom of heaven is similar to treasure hidden in the field.

 

The tense of hid indicates that it was hidden previously and remains hidden, thus indicating a state of being.

 

The which is simply which and refers to the treasure which had been hidden in the field.

 

When a man hath found suggests after he found or after finding.

 

He hideth is he hid.

 

And for joy thereof suggests from his joy (i.e. from his rejoicing over what he had found) or from its joy (i.e. from the joy of the treasure).

 

Goeth and selleth all that he hath suggests goes and sells all things as much as he has.

 

And buyeth that field means and purchases that field, i.e. the field containing the treasure.

 

Jesus does not explain this parable; so, God expects that believers with the aid of the Holy Spirit will be able to figure out its meaning. A clue is found in Exodus 19:5 , which says,

 

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.

 

Another clue is found in Psalms 135:4 , which says, For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

 

These verses seem to indicate that believing Jews comprise the treasure which has been hidden in the field, i.e. in the world. They are scattered throughout the world. Jesus is the man who discovered the treasure and then sells all that He has to purchase the field. Jesus died on the cross paying for the sins of all humanity including the Jews. Paul wrote that God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Christ, not imputing their trespasses unto them (II Corinthians 5:20 ). John wrote that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2 ). At the second coming of Christ, all Israel will be saved and God will take away their sins (Romans 11:26-27 ).

In addition, we see –

 IV.     THE PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE – 13:45-46

 

In verses 45-46 the kingdom of heaven is likened to a merchant who found one very valuable pearl and then sold everything he owned in order to buy it.

 

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.

 

Again suggests once more.

 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man is the kingdom of heaven is similar to a man who travels by ship for business. He is apparently a wholesale dealer rather than a retailer.

 

This merchant man is seeking goodly pearls, i.e. beautiful (or fine) pearls.

 

Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

 

Who refers to the merchant man.

 

When he had found suggests after he found.

 

What he found is one pearl of great price, i.e. one very precious (or very valuable) pearl or one pearl of great value.

 

Went and sold all that he had, i.e. went and sold all things, as much as he had, which suggests all his possessions or everything he owned.

 

And bought it suggests and purchased the very valuable pearl.

 

Once again Jesus does not explain the meaning of this parable; so, it is apparent that God expects believers to be able to figure out its meaning. Inasmuch as God has two programs, one for His chosen people, Israel, and one for the church, the bride of Christ, and inasmuch as the parable of the hidden treasure seems best understood as referring to Israel, the pearl of great price seems best understood as referring to the church. Jesus is the merchant, and the hidden treasure is the bride of Christ, i.e. genuinely saved people from the church age. Again, Jesus gave everything He had in order to purchase the believers for Himself.

Moreover, we see –

   V.     THE PARABLE OF THE DRAGNET – 13:47-50

 

The kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net which, when cast into the sea, gathered every kind of fish. When the fishing net was full and pulled to shore, the good fish were kept and the bad fish were thrown away. Similarly, at the end of the age, the angels will separate the wicked from the righteous. The wicked will be cast into the furnace of fire resulting in wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind.

 

Again suggests once more.

 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net is the kingdom of heaven is similar to a seine or dragnet. A seine is a large net which hangs vertically in the water, with floats on the top and sinkers on the bottom.

 

That was cast into the sea suggests which was thrown (or let down) into the sea.

 

And gathered of every kind suggests and gathered fish of every kind or and gathered of every kind of fish.

 

Matthew 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

 

Which refers to the net which was cast into the sea and indicates what the fishermen dragged to the shore.

 

When it was full suggests when the net was filled full (of fish).

 

They (i.e. the fishermen) drew to shore, and sat down is they brought (or pulled) (the net) onto the shore and sat down.

 

And gathered the good (i.e. the good fish) into vessels (i.e. into containers).

 

But introduces a contrasting statement.

 

Cast the bad away is threw the bad (i.e. the bad fish) out.

 

Thus, the good fish and the bad fish were separated, but they had both been in the net which is likened to the kingdom of heaven. For this reason, as was also true in the parable of the tares with the angels gathering out of his kingdom those who commit iniquity, the kingdom of heaven is the realm of profession of salvation rather than the realm of possession of salvation.

 

Matthew 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.

 

So shall it be at the end of the world is thus (or in this manner) it will be at the end of the age, which suggests, This is the way it will be at the end of the age.

 

The angels shall come forth is the angels will go out (or come out).

 

And sever the wicked from among the just is and will sever (i.e. will separate, will take away, or will take out).

 

The wicked from among the just is the wicked ones from the middle of the righteous (or upright) ones.

 

Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

And shall cast them is and they (i.e. the angels) will cast them (i.e. the wicked) into the furnace of fire (i.e. into the fiery furnace).

 

There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth is repeated word for word from verse 42.

 

There is in that place, i.e. in the fiery furnace.

 

Shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth is the wailing and the gnashing of the teeth will be in the sense of will occur or will take place.

 

Wailing is weeping or crying.

 

Gnashing of teeth speaks of teeth grinding together because of pain.

We furthermore see –

 VI.     THE TREASURY OF TRUTH – 13:51-52

 

When asked, the disciples said that they understood all the things Jesus taught them. Jesus then stated that every scribe is like a homeowner who brings new things and old things out of his storeroom.

 

Matthew 13:51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

 

Jesus saith unto them is Jesus says to them, i.e. to the disciples.

 

Have ye understood all these things? suggests, Have you comprehended all these things?

 

They say unto him is, They say to Him (i.e. to Jesus), Yes, Lord.

 

Matthew 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.

 

Then said he unto them is then He (i.e. Jesus) said to them (i.e. to the disciples).

 

Therefore is because of this, i.e. because they had understood or comprehended everything He had been saying to them.

 

Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Every scribe suggests every instructor in the teaching which Jesus has been giving.

 

Instructed unto the kingdom of heaven suggests who has been instructed (or taught) about the kingdom of heaven.

 

Is like unto a man that is an householder suggests is similar to a man, a master of the house.

 

Which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old suggests who brings out (or gives out) new (things) and old (things) out of his storehouse (or storeroom).

 

The disciples are scribes, i.e. teachers and instructors, trained by Jesus and able and responsible to pass on what they have learned to others.

Finally, we see –

VII.     THE CONCLUDING STATEMENT – 13:53

 

Matthew 13:53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

 

And it came to pass is and it happened, and it occurred, or and it took place.

 

What happened is that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

 

When Jesus finished these parables, He went away from there.

CONCLUSION:

 

As we make our journey through life, let’s make certain we have been genuinely saved and that we are faithfully living each day for the Lord.