The Sower Explained
“Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”
Weeds among Wheat
Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed [a]weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the weeds appeared also. The servants of the owner came to him and said, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have weeds in it?’ He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them out?’ But he said, ‘No; because as you pull out the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First gather the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
The Mustard Seed
He gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and of all the seeds [planted in the region] it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air find shelter in its branches.”
All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables, and He said nothing to them without [using] a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things [unknown and unattainable] that have been hidden [from mankind] since the foundation of the world.”
- Matthew 13:25 Lit tares.
- Matthew 13:33 This is the first time leaven is mentioned in the New Testament. See Ex 12:15 for the first mention of leaven in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word (seor) refers specifically to the leavening agent (as opposed to dough containing it), which today is thought of as yeast, a type of fungi. In Jewish thinking, leaven was symbolic of impurity and corruption. Jesus used it as a symbol for the corrupt and hypocritical teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (see especially Luke 12:1; cf Matt 16:11; Mark 8:15), but He also used leaven’s ability to permeate a mass of dough many times its own size as an illustration of the spread of the kingdom of heaven as here and in Luke 13:21.
- Matthew 13:33 A measure was about a peck and a half, which would be enough bread to feed a hundred people.