Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 12:41-13:53

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>

Someone greater – Matthew 12:41-42

Someone greater than (Jonah/Solomon) is here. Jesus claimed to be greater than the prophet Jonah and the King Solomon. The point is that if people listened to God's representatives on earth in Jonah and Solomon, the Pharisees in Jesus' day will be under judgment because Jesus is even greater than them. The point is deepened by the fact that even Gentiles recognized the greatness of Jonah and Solomon but the Jewish leaders in Jesus' day don't recognize him.

Parable of the Unclean Spirits – Matthew 12:43-45

This parable is a strong word of warning about rejecting Jesus and the judgment the Pharisees will face as a result. Jesus' work was one of cleansing and casting out demons (Matt. 8:16, 28-34) but once he is gone the situation will be worse for those who reject him.

The will of my Father - Matthew 12:50

Whoever does the will of my Father. In Jesus' day one's family was their prime identity. Here Jesus radically redefined his family to be his disciples, the ones who do God's will. This also connects to Jesus' teaching that the people of God are not defined by ethnic descent but by those who do God's will from a good heart (Matt. 3:8-10; 7:21-27).

The Parables Discourse - Matthew 13:1-53

This chapter contains the third of Matthew's five major teaching blocks (chapters 5–7, 10, 13, 18, 23–25), and consists of a collection of seven parables about the kingdom of heaven. This is not the only place Jesus taught with parables in Matthew, but several of his parables are collected here, along with the explanation of why Jesus' changed his teaching style from direct teaching as in the Sermon on the Mount to these potentially confusing parables. The explanation is because the religious leadership had set themselves to oppose Jesus (Matt. 12:14), he had decided to teach in such a way that only those to whom God reveals himself will understand the teaching (Matt. 13:11-16; cf. 11:25-27); these are mysteries that have been hidden but are now fully revealed only through Jesus (Matt. 13:16-17, 34-35).

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.

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>