Matthew 12:38 - 14:36

Matthew 12

:38-45  Seeking a sign

:39  an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign

Do you think this could apply to the churches who have gone seeking after signs?

In contrast, the Bible says:

Mark 16:20-AV And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Don't put the signs out front, seeking them.  Let them come at their own pace, following you.

:40  as Jonas

Jonah becomes an example of Jesus.

He was three days in the whale, Jesus would be in the earth.

Jonah came out, Jesus came out.

Extra extra credit:  Read the book of Jonah!

:41  Nineveh

Jonah was running from God's assignment for him in Nineveh when he got swallowed by the fish.

When Jonah finally gave in to God's desires, he went and preached at evil wicked Nineveh, and much to Jonah's disgust, the whole city repented.

:41  at the preaching of Jonas

Note, they didn't repent at the signs and wonders of Jonah, but at his preaching.

When you read the story of Jonah, there's a spectacular thing that happens though.

I used to teach that Jonah would have made quite a spectacle with the sea weed wrapped in his hair, and being discolored from the fish's stomach.

But in reality, Nineveh was quite a journey from where Jonah might have been beached.  It was several hundred miles inland. Jonah wouldn't have been much different than any other traveler.

And his preaching wasn't all that spectacular, either.

All he said was,

Jonah 3:4-AV And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.


God likes to use the foolishness of preaching:

1Corinthians   1:17-25. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20  Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Preaching doesn't have to be done from a pulpit on Sunday by a professional.

Preaching is simply telling somebody the good news that Jesus loves them and has paid for their sins.

:42  Queen of the south

The Queen of Sheba took a trip to visit Solomon.

Read 1King 10:1-13 for more info.

1Kings 10:1-AV And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

:43-45  the unclean spirit

Jesus is going to tell a parable, or a truth to illustrate a point.

Keep in mind the context - it's a little difficult since we cut the events with ending last week's study.

Jesus started by casting a demon out of a blind, dumb man.

Then the Pharisees accused Jesus of doing miracles by the power of Satan.

Jesus then taught about the unpardonable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.

Now this man who once was demon possessed, blind, and dumb is standing there, and Jesus uses it as a way to teach.

Truths in the parable itself:

the unclean spirit is gone out -

It appears this demon has left voluntarily.  He later describes the house as "my house" (v.44)

RWP:  {Into my house} (eis ton oikon mou). So the demon describes the man in whom he had dwelt. "The demon is ironically represented as implying that he left his victim voluntarily, as a man leaves his house to go for a walk" (McNeile).

This is in contrast to Jesus having bound and cast out the demon.

walketh through dry places

Demons like to inhabit moist, warm bodies - that's probably why the demons wanted Jesus to cast them into the pigs in chapter 8.

findeth it empty -

Jesus hasn't filled it yet with His Spirit.


People who are delivered from demons, or any work of Satan, need to come to the Lord.  They need the Holy Spirit.

Alcoholism.  Not a "higher power", but Jesus!

Your friends can do some kinds of moral reforms, but without Jesus, they're in for a rough time of it.

Point of the parable:

Jesus isn't saying that this particular man is going to have seven demons come back to him, He's talking about the wicked generation as a whole.

v.45  so shall it be also unto this wicked generation

The generation in Jesus' day was like a man whose demonic spirit had left him.

He's possibly talking about some of the reformation that happened under John the Baptist.

But if left unfilled (with Jesus), the last state would be worse than the first.

They would become worse and worse until they ended up crucifying the Lord of Glory.

:46-50  Jesus' Family

:48  who is my mother?


1.  Don't worship Mary

This isn't exactly a flattering view of the "Virgin Mother".

Jesus didn't exactly come out and bow down to His mother.

In fact, Roman Catholic theology states that Mary was a virgin forever, she never was intimate with a man.  So how come she shows up with Jesus' brothers?

2.  Be in Jesus' Family

By following after Him.

John 1:12-AV But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

"We are the family of God"

Matthew 13

:1-8  Teaching in parables

:3  parables

Parables are allegorical stories, based on real life things, meant to teach a lesson.

To best interpret a parable:

Find the main point(s) being taught.

Don't try to find symbolism in every little detail, just the main items.

:9  Let him hear

:9  ears ... hear

This is kind of a critical verse to understanding the next section.

Jesus is simply saying that if you have ears, you should pay attention to what He's saying.

The problem is that people throughout history haven't always paid attention to what God has to say.

Jeremiah's example:

Jeremiah   5:20-25. Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, 21  Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: 22  Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand [for] the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? 23  But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24  Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25. Your iniquities have turned away these [things], and your sins have withholden good [things] from you.

Jeremiah learned that people have to have a proper heart before the Lord to be paying attention to what God is saying.

Now Jesus is making a plea to the people to pay attention to the Lord.

:10-17  Why the parables?

:11  it is given unto you ...

Jesus almost makes it sound like the disciples happened to luck out and get in on the secret, while the rest of the people missed out on it all.

But there's more to it than that.

:14  the prophecy of Isaiah

Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10

:15  this people's heart is waxed gross

or, "grown dull"

This is the reason why Jesus is speaking in parables:

The people are either going to want to hear from God, or they aren't.

If they want to hear from God, they'll pay attention to Jesus, and they'll even hear what the meanings of the parables are.

But the ones that have hard hearts aren't going to pay attention.

The parables tend to separate the believers from the non-believers.

:15  let at any time they should see ... and should be converted

You can read this to make it sound as if God is trying to hide the truth from these people so they won't repent and God then won't have to heal them.

But it's the people that don't want to be healed or converted.

:18-23  Understanding the Sower and the Seed

:20  anon


:21  dureth

"only endures"

The point:

The effectiveness of the seed depends upon the soil

 Just as Jesus was explaining to the disciples why He spoke in parables.

Some would not even "have ears to hear" and wouldn't pay any attention to God's Word.


1.  Not everyone is good soil.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't share with people.

But don't be surprised when people don't pay attention to you, or when people don't bear much fruit in their lives.

2.  Keys to Fruitfulness

Be a deeper Christian.

Lose the worldliness

Hear and understand the Word

Like personal QT's and Bible Study.

:24-30  The Wheat and the Tares

Jesus will interpret this for us later in the chapter.

:25  tares

The Greek word is actually for "bearded darnel"

It is common in Palesine.

In it's earlier stages it is indistinguishable from the wheat stalks and has to remain until harvest.

By the time of the harvest, the grains of wheat turn black.

:31-32  The Mustard Seed

On parables like this one, where Jesus doesn't directly interpret it, you're going to find lots of opinions as to the meaning.

:32  becometh a tree

Some commentators point to the fact that mustard doesn't really become as tall as a tree, and that this must be some kind of unnatural growth.

:32  the birds of the air

Has Jesus already interpreted this?

In Matt.13:4,19, Jesus interpreted the birds as Satan, devouring the seed.


Here's two possible interpretations:

1.  In the kingdom of God, it doesn't take much to make something big.

2.  In the kingdom of God, though it starts out small, it will grow big, big enough that there may be some evil hiding in it as well.

As the "church" grows, there are going to be some "unbelievers" in the midst of things.

:33-35  Leaven in the meal

:33  three measures of meal

The normal amount of flour used to bake.

:33  leaven

On the outset, this parable might seem to say that it doesn't take much to spread the kingdom around the world.

But leaven is often used symbolically in Scripture, with a clear reference to sin and evil.

Leaven is sin.

1Corinthians 5:6-8 AV Your glorying [is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

The question here is whether or not Jesus meant for the leaven to be interpreted as sin.

Not all Biblical symbols carry a consistent meaning throughout Scripture:

1Peter 5:8-AV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Revelation 5:5-AV And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


Two possible, but different interpretations:

1.  The kingdom has an expanding power like leaven.

It can spread rapidly throughout a community as in a revival.

It can invade your life and take you over (Praise the Lord!)

2.  If someone hides sin in the church, it can spread and take it over.

The commentators are about split as to favorites.

:36-44  Understanding the Wheat and the Tares

Jesus interprets:

Sower = Jesus

Field = World

Good seed = believers

Bad seed = unbelievers

Enemy = devil

Harvest = End of world

Reapers = Angels

Lessons: (from vs.36-44)

1.  Unbelievers will face fire

2.  Angels will gather up the world

Lessons:  (from vs.24-30)

1.  The devil mixes bad seed with the believers.

Maybe in the church, at least in the world.

2.  You can't separate the wheat and tares until the judgment.

There is a kind of judgmentalism that can get into the church where we are busy getting people out of the church because we don't think they belong.

That's not to say that we shouldn't have discipline in the church, and that there's not a place for putting people out of the church (Mat.18).

But when we start splitting hairs and getting too critical of each other, nobody profits, in fact, the wheat can get rooted up at the same time.

1Timothy 5:24-AV Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some [men] they follow after.

Some people's sins are obvious and need to be dealt with.

Some people aren't so obvious, and we have to leave it in the Lord's hands.

:44  Hidden treasure


The field is the world.

You are the treasure.

God loves you so much that He gave everything, His only Son, to buy the world.

You are of great value to the Lord.  You are His treasure.

:45  Pearl of Great Price


No, the Pearl of Great Price is not a mormon book.

The interpretation should parallel the last parable.

You are so precious to the Lord.

:47-50  The Dragnet


Jesus does it for us -

The angels will gather people as fishermen pulls in their nets.

The bad people will be cast into hell.

:51-52  The Householder

:51  Have ye understood all

Because they have understood Jesus' teachings, they're going to be adding them to their "treasure house".

:52  scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven

Usually the scribes were seen in a bad light in the New Testament.

They were the experts in the Law, and often they were opposing Jesus.

But here Jesus seems to be referring to His own disciples who have just begun understanding His teachings as being scribes.


A householder was the owner or master of a house.

When you take care of others in your house, sometimes you're going to get things out of the storehouse that have been there a while, sometimes you're going to bring out new things.

Now that these disciples understand Jesus' teachings, they are going to be like householders taking care of their household, sometimes with old things (Like O.T. treasures), and sometimes with new things (N.T. treasures, Jesus' teachings).


1.  If you're a teacher, you ought to be familiar both with Old and New Testaments and teaching from both.

2.  Sometimes there's going to be new things in your teaching, sometimes there's going to be old things.

We can't always have something "new" to teach.  Otherwise we'll start looking for things that aren't there.

:53-58  Without honor

:54  His own country

To Nazareth, where he grew up as a boy.

:57  a prophet is not without honour

These folks from Nazareth had a hard time seeing Jesus as the Messiah.

It's not that He wasn't either.


It's sad to say that many times the people closest to you are just going to have a hard time hearing the Lord through you.

Hopefully it's not because you're a lousy example of being a Christian.

It's hard for them to look at you and see more than just their kid brother or sister.

:58  not many mighty works there

Because they had a hard time believing