Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: Internet Bible Studies

Matthew Menu

















Ball23A0.gif (3556 bytes)


Matthew Chapter 13:31-58

Memory verses for this week:   James 5:17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 

Introduction: In last week’s lesson, we studied the first two of the seven parables concerning the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.   We talked about this new teaching by parables being another fulfillment of prophecy.   We go into the explanation of the third parable on the mustard seed as we begin down in verse 31 of Chapter 13. 

I.   Parable of the Mustard Seed

Mat 13:31  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:

Mat 13:32  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.

Our understanding of this third parable hinges upon us correctly interpreting the three central figures in the parable.   

1. The mustard seed

2. The great tree from which it sprang from

3. The birds of the air which came and lodged in its branches.

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed.  In this parable, the kingdom of heaven speaks of Christendom.   This is the combination of all people who profess to be Christians.  That which is represented by the seed and it becoming a tree is not a people who are strangers and pilgrims down here, but a system whose roots lie deeply in the earth and which aim at greatness and expansion in the world.   We have a lot of religious organizations whose goal seems to be to get bigger and have larger numbers for which they can claim.   Many are tied to ecumenical movements wanting to see the one world church come into existence.   In verse 32, Christ describes a religious system that becomes great on the earth.  (It becomes the tree.)   The mustard seed and tree speak of the spread of Christendom… the so-called one world church that so many preach about today.   Has many terms to describe it, but some of its titles are the ‘universal and invisible one world church.’    There is no such church mentioned in scripture.  Every instance of the church was a local called out body of believers who covenant together to spread the gospel and to worship the Lord.   The birds speak of evil ones.   These evil ones come and lodge in the tree of Christendom.  These are made of up false religious leaders and nations who do not truly believe in God.   But they want to be part of the big picture of religion.

II.   The Parable of Leaven

Mat 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.

Mat 13:34  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

Mat 13:35  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.

There are a lot of false teaching on this parable.   Some teach that the women is spreading the gospel until all come to know Christ.   That is far from the truth.  Anytime leaven is mentioned in the scriptures, it speaks of (or typifies sin.)  This fourth parable reveals the internal aspect and secret corruption of the kingdom.   The leaven is a symbol of corrupting evil, and the meal stands for the pure truth of God.  The leaven certainly does not represent the gospel because the parable is a secret and the gospel has never been a secret.   Even Abraham had the gospel preached unto him.

Gal 3:8  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Gal 3:9  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

When Paul was dealing with Festus and King Agrippa, he pointed out that the things that happened to Christ were not hidden.

Acts 26:24  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

Acts 26:25  But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

Acts 26:26  For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

In this parable, the meal stands for the true doctrine of Jesus Christ.   You notice that the women hides the leaven in the meal.   The meal wasn’t removed, nor did the leaven replace the meal.  There are many churches today that have removed the true doctrines of Christ from their pulpits as I mentioned last week.   But rather than replacing it, they mix in the leaven and corrupt the whole.   If you put leaven (sin) in with the gospel, you do not have the true gospel.

Paul told the Corinthian church that he and his fellow laborers did not corrupt the gospel with false teachings.

2 Cor 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

2 Cor 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

2 Cor 2:16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

2 Cor 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

It is important to pay attention to the woman in this parable.  The woman refers to the Papacy and in general to all those who corrupt God’s Word.    I heard David Jeremiah preaching last week on the importance of staying with the word of God and he used the example over in Jeremiah about the king who didn’t like what Jeremiah prophesied, so he took a little knife and cut out what he didn’t like.

Jer 36:21  So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.

Jer 36:22  Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

Jer 36:23  And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Brother Jeremiah said we may not have people today openly cutting up God’s Word, but by not preaching the whole truth, they are effectively slicing up God’s Word and picking and choosing to preach on just what they like … those things that won’t condemn sin or make them or their people feel bad.    Those people who do this are not worthy to be in the ministry, and it makes you question whether they were truly called by God to preach.

The woman in the parable is acting dishonestly and deceitfully.  She took and hid the leaven in the meal.  Something that should never have been in God’s meal.  Do we have any in today’s world doing this?  Of course we have… you can turn on your tv and perhaps half of the television evangelists use God’s word improperly for personal gain.  Or they preach the soft things that tickle people’s ears as Brother Jeremiah mentioned.   This prosperity Christianity that many preach is not biblical.  God never promised us we’d be rich down here of physical blessings, but he did promise to make us rich spiritually and to be with us every step of our way in our battles here on earth.

Verse 34 and 35 speak of how this teaching of parables by Christ was a fulfillment of scripture which we read last week over in Isaiah.


III.  The Second Mystery Explained

Mat 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.

Mat 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Mat 13:39  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Christ’s disciples come to him and want the second parable explained.  He identifies the sower (Christ), the field (the world), and the tares (which are the lost) and the enemy which is Satan.

Matthew Henry said this about the disciples request to have the parable explained.

The disciples’ request to their Master was, Declare unto us the parable of the tares. This implied an acknowledgement of their ignorance, which they were not ashamed to make. It is probable they apprehended the general scope of the parable, but they desired to understand it more particularly, and to be assured that they took it right. Note, Those are rightly disposed for Christ’s teaching, that are sensible of their ignorance, and sincerely desirous to be taught. He will teach the humble (Ps. 25:8, 9), but will for this be enquired of. If any man lack instruction, let him ask it of God.  [i]

Mat 13:40  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

Mat 13:41  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;

Mat 13:42  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The tares and the wheat are allowed to grow together in the same field until the time of the end  when Jesus will send forth his angels to gather out His own from the world.  The wicked (the tares) will be gathered together and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

IV.  The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Mat 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.

The treasure in this parable pictures Israel hidden in the world.  The field pictures the world as it did in the earlier parables.  The man pictures Jesus Christ.   He found Israel to be God’s choice.  He hid Israel and watched over them in a special way.   Then Christ went and sold all that he had, and bought the field with the treasure in it.  I tell you Jesus paid a very costly payment for our sins.   No gift has ever been given like the one God gave when he gave Christ to die on that old rugged cross.

1 Cor 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Cor 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.


Rom 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Rom 5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.


V.  The Parable of the Pearl

Mat 13:45  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Mat 13:46  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

The merchant man in this parable is of course Jesus Christ.  The pearl is the church, and the great price that he paid was His own blood.   The merchant man desired the goodly pearl and regarded the pearl as being of great price.   He sold all that he had and purchased the pearl of great price.  He sought the pearl, and then he bought it.   No one ever paid a higher price than what Jesus paid for the redemption of our souls.  God loves the church, and it will be through the church that Christ will receive honor forever more.

Rev 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 1:6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Eph 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


Eph 1:20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.


VI.  The Parable of the Net

Mat 13:47  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

Mat 13:48  Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

Mat 13:49  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

Mat 13:50  And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 13:51  Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

Mat 13:52  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.

The mention of ‘they’ in verse 48 speaks of how God intends for his servants to work in his vineyard.  We are to become fishers of men as Christ told Peter and Andrew to come and follow him and he would make him fishers of men.

Mat 4:18  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mat 4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Mat 4:20  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Some of the important points in this parable:

1.  There is a net

2.  Secondly, there is a the sea in which the net is cast

3.  There are the fishermen themselves – they gather in. (verse 48)

4.  There are the fish that are caught in the net.

The net symbolizes the gospel.   The sea stands for the nations of the world.    The fishermen are the ministers of the Word.  The work of the fishermen did not end when they brought the net to the shore.


VII.  Jesus Returns to Nazareth

Mat 13:53  And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

Mat 13:54  And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

Mat 13:55  Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Mat 13:56  And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

Mat 13:57  And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Mat 13:58  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

 These Jews question who Christ was.  Why did he have such wisdom?  Why could he perform these mighty works of God.   They inquire whether he was Joseph and Mary’s son.    Mary was his mother truly, but Joseph certainly was not his father.   But they were offended by Christ, and because of this, many mighty works were not done due to their unbelief.   God wants us to be people of faith.   When we bring our petitions to Him, we should expect Him to answer those prayers.

Adam Clarke in his commentary said this about verse 58.

Unbelief and contempt drive Christ out of the heart, as they did out of his own country. Faith seems to put the almighty power of God into the hands of men; whereas unbelief appears to tie up even the hands of the Almighty. A man, generally speaking, can do but little good among his relatives, because it is difficult for them to look with the eyes of faith upon one whom they have been accustomed to behold with the eyes of the flesh.



Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


e-mail at:



Practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.




[i]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.