Mt. 13:1-53; Mk. 4:1-34; Lk. 8:4-18
As the multitude increased, it became difficult for Jesus to speak to them. He then got into a boat on the Sea of Galilee and spoke to the people on the shore.
One of Jesus’ favorite methods of teaching was in parables. A parable is a story about an ordinary event in which the instructor teaches a spiritual truth.
The first in a series of parables that Jesus taught that day was about a sower who had seed to fall on four different types of soil.
Different types of people who hear the word of God were represented by the types of soil. Some rejected the word, some accepted it but persecutions and/or cares of the world caused them to stumble or to be unfruitful. Individuals represented by the fertile soil accepted the word and became productive servants of God.
In the parable of the growing seed, the farmer does not understand all of the things that take place in a growing plant. Neither are we able to understand all of the spiritual changes in a person’s heart as he either accepts or rejects the word of God.
Jesus taught a lesson about the enemy sowing tares in a wheat field. Tares are weeds similar to cheat, a kind of wild oats. When his servants asked if he wanted them to pull the tares up, the farmer said to wait until the harvest, lest the wheat be pulled up also.
The Farmer is Jesus; the field is the world; the good seed is the gospel; the wheat is Christians; the enemy is the devil; tares are sons of the devil; the harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels.
After the harvest, the Christians will be glorified in heaven and the sons of the devil will burn with everlasting fire.
Jesus concluded teaching the crowd that day with two more parables that explained how the kingdom would grow after it began. The mustard seed is very small, but rapidly grows into a tree large enough for the birds to nest in its branches. The kingdom would start small but would grow very rapidly.
It takes only a very small lump of leaven to quickly, quietly and surely spread throughout a large piece of dough. Likewise, the kingdom would thoroughly spread throughout the world. We know that the church did start small and rapidly grew into a very large body.
After sending the multitudes away, Jesus spoke the next parables to the disciples only. These parables were about a buried treasure, a pearl hunt and a fisherman’s net.
The parables of the buried treasure and the pearl stressed the extreme value of the kingdom of heaven to the disciples. Those individuals who found the treasure and pearl sold all that they had and bought these items. We must place Christ and His church above all else in our lives.
Another picture of the judgment was presented in the parable of the net. All in the net were brought to the shore to be judged. The good fish were saved and the bad ones were cast out and destroyed.