The Secrets of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:1-17)

Representation_of_the_Sower's_parable.JPEGMatthew 13 contains eight parables about the nature of the kingdom. This is the first time that Jesus uses parables to teach about the kingdom. The reason is due to the increasing opposition of Israel’s religious leaders. Matt. 12:2 reads, “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:2, NKJV; cf. 13-14, 22-24, 38-39; 13:1)![1]

On the same day they opposed Jesus, Jesus began teaching in parables. Yet what is a parable? The Greek word, parabole, means, “illustration.” (Gingrich) But the Hebrew word is mashal, which refers to a riddle or an enigmatic statement. The meaning of the riddle is not readily apparent. It must be explained further. Hence, a parable is more than just an illustration. It is more like a riddle that challenges the mind to think, rather than a simple illustration that gives a simple idea.[2]

The parables in Matthew 13 are rightly called, kingdom parables. Through the kingdom parables, we learn about the nature of the kingdom. At this point, we will look at the dynamics of the secrets of the Kingdom through an overview of the purpose of the parables.

Matt. 13:3-9 reads,

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”


[1] All Scripture in this article is taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

[2] Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew (Int.; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993), 146.

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