Key Verse | Matthew 13:13

"This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."

Scripture | Matthew 13


The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, 1 let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

15  For this people's heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 2 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds 3 among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants 4 of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Prophecy and Parables

34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 5

“I will open my mouth in parables;
    I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Net

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

New and Old Treasures

51 Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

Footnotes

[1] 13:9 Some manuscripts add here and in verse 43 to hear
[2] 13:21 Or stumbles
[3] 13:25 Probably darnel, a wheat-like weed
[4] 13:27 Or bondservants; also verse 28
[5] 13:35 Some manuscripts Isaiah the prophet

Jesus Taught with Intention



Devo | Matthew 13

What a sweet gift we have in this passage where Jesus uses memorable imagery (parables) to help us understand concepts about the kingdom of God, the character of God, and the Christian life. Parables can penetrate the...

What a sweet gift we have in this passage where Jesus uses memorable imagery (parables) to help us understand concepts about the kingdom of God, the character of God, and the Christian life. Parables can penetrate the heart of a nonbeliever or bring clarity to the believer who doesn't fully understand.

The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9; see also Mark 4:1-9 and Luke 8:4-8) did this for me. My former life was a perfect illustration of the seed thrown onto the thorny soil. As a teen, I understood my sin (Romans 3:23) and accepted Jesus' free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23). However in college, I did not surround myself with people who loved God or pointed me toward Him. Instead, I became consumed with the cares of the world—good grades, inappropriate relationships, and climbing the corporate ladder, to name a few. As a result, there was no evidence of a saving relationship with Christ in my life for almost 15 years. 

It took my husband almost dying in an ATV accident to realize that my roots were not deep. I longed for a richer relationship with Christ but questioned how to get there. In this passage, the disciples trusted Jesus as the Messiah but still had questions—just like me. And Jesus patiently and clearly explained the meaning of the parables to the disciples to help them better understand spiritual truth (Matthew 13:18-23, 36-43). 

Through Equipped Disciple, I learned how to read and understand the Bible, memorize Scripture, and share my faith with others; and my life transformed from "thorny soil" to "good soil" (Matthew 13:23). Today, I have a better understanding of Jesus' teachings and have the privilege of helping others understand it for themselves to grow closer to Him. I am so thankful for "hearing ears" (Matthew 13:16) and a life that bears fruit for Christ now.

Jesus made it a point to explain the parables to His disciples because they were given the gift of spiritual discernment. That gift is available to you today!

Discussion Questions

1. Based on the parable in Matthew 13:1-9, where are your seeds planted? What step can you take today to change it if it's rocky or thorny?

2. The rocky soil receives the seed with joy but withers when trials and tribulations come (Matthew 13:20-21). How can trials and tribulations weaken our faith? Strengthen our faith?

3. If you are looking for a way to plant deeper roots, please join us at Equipped Disciple—the Spring semester kicks off in a couple of weeks! We have classes for ladies, men, and co-ed groups on various days of the week. Also available en Español. Register HERE.

4. Do you have questions or doubts keeping you from a relationship with God? Join us on Monday evenings at Great Questions, a safe place to ask tough questions about the Christian faith, God, and the Bible. No registration required. 

Meet Amber Hapka

Greetings, friends! I have the amazing honor of being wife to my husband Mark, mommy to my 4-year-old son Titus, and daughter to the King who graciously opened my eyes to His truth and never gave up on me. I now have the privilege of sharing God's truth with others through Equipped DiscipleWomen's Bible Study, and Join The Journey. Born and raised in Texas, I love sweet tea; old country music; and a good football or baseball game, especially with my family. 

12 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

1/3

GM Amber! How fortunate are we all at Watermark to have the Hapka family here!

I love your Key Verse as it describes a struggle of mine for many years. I loved the blessing in the message of Jesus, but I was not so crazy about the life to which I was “called”.

Too much sin that was too much fun.

In that way I was like so many of the people in the crowd; “Thanks for the bread, fish, restoring my sight, healing my leprosy and fixing my leg. What’s that? No, I’m good now. Best of luck with your ministry.”

Why is Leviticus a hard read? I think much of it is because its just “reading the directions”.

What if God gave me the same information but, in a way, and manner that made it easier to see and understand?

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

2/3

I am taught that’s a big part of what the parables are doing. Using images and pictures to give life, meaning and a 3D image to truths AND promises that are harder to see when just reading the words.

I saw this last year when studying Revelation. There is a reason for all the complex and wild imagery, even though some of it seems crazy. They convey truths and promises that are much easier to understand and take in through the eyes than just the ears alone.

In Chapter 13, the big image for me is the soils.

The notes point out that, by implication, the seeds are perfect; there is nothing wrong with them. Period.

Any failure is due to the poor quality of the soil, (my heart).

Again, I have a choice.

Does the parable draw me in?

Do I want to know more?

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

3/3

Or does it just give me some cookies from the lower shelf and then I’m on my way?

Do I sense the “secrets of the kingdom of heaven”?

The agricultural metaphors are very powerful to me. I am taught that a really good harvest was 10 fold. Imagine a farmer’s astonishment when its 30x, 60x or even 100x!

I link to Matthew 9:37-38 and Luke 9:62

George Dalton 5 months ago

Amber you are such a blessing. Those of us who have the privilege of knowing you are so thankful and encouraged by your generous heart, gracious smile and diligent service for the kingdom. Good devo today. Thank you for reminding us to keep the main thing the main thing.

Jermaine Harrison 5 months ago

Thanks for sharing Amber! The parable of the sower is such a thought provoking one. The devil, difficulties of life, and distractions in life are always lurking. Seeking to keep God’s word and way from taking root in our lives…and it works 75% of the time in 75% of people. What a gift that that softens our hearts to be receptive and obedient to His word!

Sue Bohlin 5 months ago

Hi Amber! Thanks for your devo and all the ways you serve, especially JTJ!

I am intrigued by verse 52, where Jesus says, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” I understand this is a charge to believing disciples to be Bible teachers, drawing on our stored-up treasure to share new insights as well as to invoke and explain older truths. I especially love being able to connect the dots between the new and the old spiritual truths and then pass them on to others!

Greg Jones 5 months ago

The parable of the sower references back to Isaiah6-9-10. It is the word, or seed given to Isaiah after saying “here am I send me.”

That seed yields this-But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” Isaiah6:13b

Terebinth and Oak, stumps because of the deep roots that have grown into good soil. Where’s the soil of the Terebinth and Oak stumps?

“Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.”

Ruined city, empty houses, ravaged fields and stumps, not my first idea of where to look for the good soil.

“It took…” the place where we find soil suitable for deep roots. Great devotional.

Patricia Simmons 5 months ago
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Sue Bohlin…great insight on Verse 52…never thought about it as an application for believers. I only saw it connecting the Old Testament (The Law) and the New Testament (The Gospel) like you said. They are both essential to understand who God is and His plan for mankind. The Pharisee’s only wanted The Law with no Gospel. Some only want Grace with no change. God gave us both for a reason.

Linda Green 5 months ago

Thank you for your encouragement to me that kept me in Equipped Disciple when I would have dropped out- and missed the treasure of knowing more of His truth!

Love that Jesus never gives up on a thorn-filled heart. He just keeps drawing us back to Himself. Like Peter, when I was broken by my choices, I came back to Jesus because “You have the words of eternal Life…” (John 6:68-69)

Ryan Moret 5 months ago

Great job amber! I love the question about how can hard times strengthen or weaken our faith.

I have been thinking about How I pray and asking God to align my heart to his vs his actions to my requests. Reminds me of last weeks sermon from John 6 on “where else would you go”

Alan Beam 5 months ago

Great devo, Amber! I relate to your early struggles, but am grateful that by God’s grace He has cultivated good soil in my heart! The treasure parables are good reminders that God isn’t calling me to respond to a message, then continue on my way. He wants my everything. But He promises a treasure greater than everything I’m giving up - Himself (John 17:3)!

Jackie Michael 5 months ago

Thank you for encouraging my heart this morning Amber! Knowing and remembering the Word in the right moment is a true blessing and a gift from Equipped Disciple I will always be thankful for as I use this everyday. The storytelling and parables help me apply the deeper lessons in real life situations when answers would be difficult otherwise. This was helpful in answering questions (how much faith, Freinds we keep and their impact on us etc.) as my daughter was growing up.

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