This is the great parable chapter in Matthew. A parable is a simple illustration of spiritual truth. Look only for the main comparison. A parable is not to be pressed for details.
The parable of the sower is one of the most effective, for Jesus takes time to explain both the purpose of parables and explains the parable itself. Parables were used by Jesus to make difficult concepts simpler to those who truly wanted to understand. Those with hard hearts refuse to understand even simple truths. This parable teaches that God’s word comes to people with different mindsets. The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11). The soils are human hearts. Will we resist the word, receive it only superficially, or allow the world to choke it out of our heart? Or will we prepare our heart to hear whatever God says to us? Do we really want to understand the Bible? What if it challenges our tradition? What if it challenges our shortcomings? What if it makes great demands of us? The Gospel is God’s power to save us, but it will save only those who receive it and obey it (Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
The parable of the weeds teaches that judgment is God’s business. We dare not spend our time and energy tying to weed out all the pretenders. We are not qualified for this. God will take care of everything in his own time. Those who act as judges will face heavier judgment.
The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast both demonstrate the amazing power of the Gospel. Small beginnings may have great results. Teach the young. Be kind to neighbors. Answer enquirers from the Bible. Then let God exercise his great power to save. Our efforts for God are not insignificant.
The parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl teach the same principle. God’s kingdom is worth whatever sacrifice we must make or whatever price we must pay. The blessings of God cannot be bought, but we must prize them above any earthly treasure. Remember that Jesus said we should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and earthly necessities will be supplied as well (Matt. 6:33).
The parable of the net demonstrates that God calls everyone through the Gospel, but not all will be saved. A great judgment and separation will take place.
If Jesus had come in our time, would we have welcomed him? Would we take time to listen? Would we defend our traditions or obey his teaching? Would he be welcome in his church? The choice remains. He has come. He has established his church. He has given us his word.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.