Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 13:3-51

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Parables - Matthew 13:3

parables. The word "parable" (Heb. mashal) is a broad term for many types of speech in the OT and NT, including proverbs, riddles, allegories, and illustrating stories. Consistent across all of these is some type of comparison or analogy, explaining one thing in terms of something else.

Mysteries of the kingdom - Matthew 13:11

mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. This idea comes from the OT book of Daniel, which influenced Matthew's language at many points. The "mysteries" refer to things concerning God that are hidden to the world but revealed at the right time to God's people (Matt. 13:34-35). Jesus was saying that his disciples are the chosen people of God who were receiving these mysteries at this crucial stage in history where the final age was arriving (cf. Matt. 4:17). See CD 1.VIII.

Many prophets and righteous men - Matthew 13:17

many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things you see. Jesus claimed to play a unique role in God's work in the world. He is the consummation or fulfillment of the promises God had made through the prophets.

Mustard seed - Matthew 13:31-32

Like a mustard seed. The mustard plant, which can grow very large, comes from a very small seed. Jesus taught that although the kingdom of heaven doesn't appear very large during his day, it will come grow to overtake the whole world. The idea of birds nesting in the branches of a tree comes from Ezek. 17:23 and 31:6 which envision the future when people from all the nations of the world will find rest in the Jewish Messiah.

The harvest and the reapers - Matthew 13:39

The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Christianity has a vision for the end of the present age when God will bring justice to the world, rewarding his people and punishing wickedness. In the parable of the wheat and weeds (Matt. 13:24-30) and its explanation (Matt. 13:36-43) Jesus explained that as God's agent he (the Son of Man, Matt. 13:41) will separate people by sending his angels. This same parable is repeated with the image of good and bad fish in Matt. 13:47-50. Another image for the same truth can be found in Matt. 25:31-46 with the parable of the sheep and goats.

Shine like the sun – Matthew 13:43

Shine like the sun. In his fully glory Jesus shines like the sun (Matt. 17:2), which is a picture of the resurrection. According to Dan. 12:3 all of God saints will also shine like the sun at the resurrection of all people.

Treasure in a field - Matthew 13:44-46

Treasure hidden in a field. This parable teaches the greater value of the kingdom of heaven compared to anything in the world, worth giving up all else to get. The opposite example of a disciple is the rich young man Jesus encounters later (Matt. 19:16-22) who is unwilling to give up everything he has to follow Jesus because he does not perceive Jesus as the greater treasure. Wealth always has the potential to blind people to the value of God's future kingdom (Matt. 19:23-26).

Have you understood? - Matthew 13:51

Have you understood all these things? Jesus taught that the difference between his disciples and those outside is whether God has revealed understanding to them (Matt. 11:25-27; 13:11-16). Because they understand his parables (with his help in explaining them — 13:36) they are scribes of the kingdom of heaven who can teach the truth to others (Matt. 13:52).

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