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This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the February 18 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: February 18
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For New King James text and comment, click here.

Matthew 13:1-53; Mark 4:1-34    Listen Podcast
Luke 8:1-18

 

In these passages, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:

 

 

People traveling with Jesus (Matthew 13:1-2; Mark 4:1-2; Luke 8:1-4)

Matthew 13
Mark 4
Luke 8
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

It's more than just his twelve; Luke actually records the names of some women who were following at this point in time as well. And then add to that the "great multitude." Notice the wording of Luke 8:2 here, "And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils." One of these women is Mary Magdalene. It is commonly conjectured that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She was not. That misguided deduction is based upon the fact that she is mentioned here ("out of whom went seven devils") and in Mark 16:9 (see notes), "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Being possessed with devils cannot be linked to prostitution in that verse. Although we are not told the symptoms of her demon possession, in all likelihood it was manifested with severe physical ailments and not a depraved lifestyle. Actually, this reputation-marring accusation came first from Roman Catholic Pope Gregory I who improperly identified the "sinner" woman of Luke 7:36-50 (see notes) as Mary Magdalene in a sermon back in 591 A.D.

Parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:5-8)

Matthew 13
Mark 4
Luke 8
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Jesus gives the parable here, but he gives the interpretation of it beginning in Matthew 13:18, Mark 4:14-20 and Luke 8:11. See the explanation below.

Why speak in parables? (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-13; Luke 8:9-10)

Matthew 13
Mark 4
Luke 8
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Here is an important truth about Jesus' ministry. Why did he speak to the people in parables? Some have suggested that Jesus' parables were given as crystal-clear illustrations to make a point. Well...not really! There is a concept here that needs to be understood first of all. We explained in the introduction of Matthew 5 (see notes) regarding the Kingdom message that Jesus was preaching. Jesus is once again presenting the Kingdom of God/Heaven to the Jews. This message has, as its central theme, Jesus as Messiah over an earthly kingdom. Since the Jews rejected that at His first coming, we understand that this kingdom will not materialize on earth until the second coming of Jesus. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be rejected, that he would suffer and be crucified. So, here Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6:9-10 (see notes), "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." Isaiah prophesied the rejection of the Messiah's message that would take place. Roll the clock forward 700 or so years from Isaiah, and here we are; it's just as Isaiah prophesied. Jesus is presenting the Kingdom message for them to receive, but the jealous Jewish leaders reject it - just like the Jewish leaders to whom Isaiah had prophesied. It was prophesied that they would do so. However, those people with receptive hearts do understand the meaning of the parables; the Jewish leaders are not blessed by his words. Furthermore, when Jesus spoke in parables these Jewish leaders were not able to gather clear statements that would meet their legal standard of blasphemy. Parables were very frustrating to these officials and professional religionists. To state it clearly, parables were designed to keep the hypocritical Jewish leaders frustrated while spiritually feeding those who had receptive hearts.

Parable of the sower - explained (Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15)

Matthew 13
Mark 4
Luke 8
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14 The sower soweth the word.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Here's the meaning of that first parable in Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:4-8 (see above). Let's not make a common mistake that many people make when reading this passage. Jesus is presenting the Kingdom message. Don't go any further without understanding this distinction, explained in the introduction of Matthew 5 (see notes). If it's unclear, read the preceding section of this summary again. Secondly, pay very close attention to the wording of Matthew 13:19, "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom..." You misrepresent this whole parable if you make the sown seed equivalent to a salvation experience. IT IS NOT! It literally speaks of those who were exposed to Jesus' teaching on the coming Kingdom of God/Heaven on earth which had been prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. That understanding should make the rest of the parable fall into place. Only the last category of people (Matthew 13:23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15) actually receive this word of the Kingdom and respond to it. Remember, it's a kingdom message to the Jews. Again, let me say, this parable has NO DIRECT RELEVANCE to the salvation experience of today. While parallels certainly exist, keep in mind the strict application of this passage to the reception (or not) of the Kingdom message.

Let's take a look at the implications regarding the four kinds of ground upon which the seeds fell:

Here's the BIG PROBLEM with equating this parable to salvation by grace as many under-studied people do. They often jump to the false conclusion that the sowing of this seed is the same as receiving Christ as Savior. After they make that interpretive error, they then assume that the first three scenarios represent a loss of salvation. THIS PARABLE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A BELIEVER'S SALVATION BY GRACE! Read the parable and notes above again if that is not clear to you.

Parable of the revealed light (Mark 4:21-25; Luke 8:16-18)

Mark 4
Luke 8
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

Only Mark and Luke give us this parable. This message is simple. If the crowds do not obey what light they receive, they will never receive more. These verses follow nicely behind the parable of the sower. This is a polite warning from Jesus to the multitudes to beware of dismissing this teaching without accepting the truth of the Kingdom message contained herein. They must take the light of the Kingdom message and pursue it as did those in the fourth group in the parable of the sower (see above).

Parable of the fruitful earth (Mark 4:26-29)

Mark 4
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Only Mark recites this parable. The seed, the Kingdom message, has been cast by Jesus. The analogy here is as follows: just as seed is cast onto the ground and the earth uses it to bear fruit for the harvest, so has Jesus cast the seed of the Kingdom message. The good ground (receptive heart) bears fruit worthy of harvest (entry into the Kingdom). This speaks of the Messianic Kingdom of Jesus on earth (Matthew 5, see notes) and not Heaven.

Parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30)

Matthew 13
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Only Matthew shares this one. Jesus is still illustrating his kingdom message (Matthew 5, see notes) with another parable. Here, wheat is good and tares are bad. Let's save the explanation for the section below beginning in verse 36 (see below) where Jesus, himself, gives his disciples the explanation.

Parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-34)

Matthew 13
Mark 4
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

This mustard plant is only about four feet tall in the early spring when birds are nesting. Later on in the summer this plant (bush) may reach as high as 15 feet or so - plenty large for the nesting of birds. Likewise, the Kingdom message will be preached in relative obscurity in the beginning (small mustard seed), but will ultimately result in the world-wide ushering in of the Messiah's Kingdom of God/Heaven on earth. I think this is perhaps strictly a growth analogy - from relative obscurity to a global kingdom - the Messianic Kingdom (Matthew 5, see notes) we know as the Millennium.

Some Bible teachers have read more into this parable than I feel comfortable doing with any certainty. They have suggested evil on the part of the birds that lodge in the mustard tree. Although, Jesus uses this metaphor again in Luke 13:19 (see notes). On that occasion, Jesus had been addressing the insincerity and hypocrisy of the Jewish leadership. I can see how that one might understand the birds in the tree to be these hypocritical Jewish leaders, inasmuch as they are integrated into the growth environment, but not part of the growth. In other words, they are the problem and not the solution.

Parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33-35)

Matthew 13
33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Some have suggested that the mention of leaven in scripture is always bad. Well, not here! This parable indicates that the message of the Kingdom of God/Heaven will grow from within. It will not need to be propped up and cultivated by the insincere religious leaders from without. When this Kingdom is established, it will have happened from the simple message of redemption preached by Jesus himself in the beginning. Leavened dough starts small and ends up large. Likewise, the Kingdom message starts small with the teaching of Jesus and one day will be the global kingdom over all the earth - the Messianic Kingdom (Matthew 5, see notes).

Jesus quotes in verse 35 from Psalm 78:2 (see notes), "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:" In that Psalm, Asaph uses verse 2 as part of his introduction to the history of Israel from Egypt to King David. Matthew must be looking at Jesus' words hear as a fulfillment in the sense that Asaph was considered a prophet and conveyed the mind of God just as Jesus did on this occasion, as well as other occasions.

Parable of the wheat and tares - explained (Matthew 13:36-43)

Matthew 13
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Understanding the kingdom-aspect of these parables is crucial on this one (Matthew 5, see notes). Here's the explanation by Jesus to his disciples of the parable he spoke in Matthew 13:24-30 (see above). As we said, wheat is good and tares are bad. How do we go ahead and hack out the tares (wicked people)? Answer: We don't. Let both grow together until harvest. Now here's the part we need to look at very closely - the harvest. Take a look at the players here in Matthew 13:38-39, "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels." Notice that the harvest is at the end of the world and that the tares are the ones taken away and burned. THIS IS NOT THE RAPTURE! When the rapture takes place, the opposite will be realized: Righteous people will be taken out at the rapture, and wicked people will be left to endure the tribulation. The Greek word for "world" there is actually "aionos," which is to be understood as "age." This wheat/tares parable is fulfilled at the end of the tribulation, immediately preceding the Messianic age we know to be the millennium. That's when the righteous people continue on earth to populate the Kingdom (millennium) while the wicked people are burned up in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes). For a clearer understanding of the difference between the second coming of Jesus Christ and the rapture for Believers, click here to read the notes on Matthew 24:36-51.

Parable of the hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44)

Matthew 13
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

In my opinion, many Bible teachers read way too much into this one as well. Remember, we're talking about the earthly Kingdom message (Matthew 5, see notes) here. I'm convinced that's the treasure. Those who receive this message sacrifice everything (become disciples) for the Kingdom message. It is important to understand the difference between salvation and discipleship in this context. Click here to read the summary on Matthew 16:24-27, Mark 8:34-38 and Luke 9:23-26 regarding the conditions of discipleship.

Parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46)

Matthew 13
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Again, the pearl is the Kingdom message (Matthew 5, see notes). How valuable is it? It was so valuable that he who receives the message sacrifices everything (discipleship) in pursuit of the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Some Bible teachers equate the pearl with the church and the one who sells everything he has to buy that pearl as Jesus. Now, while that preaches - makes a stirring sermon, I'm just not sure that it is that complicated. Nor do I think Jesus wandered out of his Kingdom context with these parables.

Parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47-53)

Matthew 13
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

This parable seems similar to the parable of the wheat and tares (see above). The net gathers all kinds of sea creatures, clean and unclean. They are separated out at the end; the good remain while the bad are cast away. The last three verses indicate the same immediate judgment scenario as the tares executed by the angels. This can only be the judgment that follows the tribulation, just as with the tares. Based upon that scenario, this cannot be the rapture. For a clearer understanding of the difference between the second coming of Jesus Christ and the rapture for Believers, click here to read the notes on Matthew 24:36-51.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner