"The Rest of the Story"- Matthew 13:1-23

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Core Practice: Bible Study-I read the Bible to know God, the truth, and to find direction for my daily life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Scripture:  Matthew 13:1-23 “Later that same day, Jesus left the house and went down to the shore, where an immense crowd soon gathered. He got into a boat, where he sat and taught as the people listened on the shore. He told many stories such as this one: “A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly,  but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?” Then he explained to them, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don’t really see. They hear what I say, but they don’t really hear, and they don’t understand.  This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says ‘You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I assure you, many prophets and godly people have longed to see and hear what you have seen and heard, but they could not. “Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain: The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.

Introduction:  

Everyone loves a good story. Take a child and put him on your knee and make up a story and even if you are not very good at it no sooner do you say “and they live happily ever after” and the little person you are telling the story too, will look up at you into your eyes and will say, “Tell me another” But enjoying a good story has absolutely nothing to do with chronological age. People of all ages of every generation of every socio economic background of every nation have loved and still love a good story. Jesus knew this and I am sure that is why many of His teachings are stories.

The Gospel writers called these stories parables because they were always more than just stories. Jesus parables seemed to grab your imagination to make concrete and clear some truth that would be harder to understand had he not told the story. Someone has defined a parable as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The idea of a parable is to take something that is understood (a simple story) and use it as a means of illustrating something that isn’t understood (a truth).

The Message of this Passage:  

Parable comes from the Greek verb paraballo, which is a combination of two other words: para, meaning “beside, by the side of,” and ballo, meaning “to throw, or to cast.” So a parable is something cast alongside something else. In teaching, a parable is a story cast alongside a truth in order to help illuminate or illustrate the truth.

This parable is drawn from everyday life in an agrarian society. It is a story any farmer understood. Seed is scattered and falls on different kinds of soil. Thus, the result is different. The seed sown on the hardened path produced no fruit, whereas the seed sown on rocky and thorny ground produced some fruit, at least temporarily. But the seed sown on good soil produced from thirty to a hundredfold. In every case the seed sown was the same: it was the condition of the soil that determined the result. Such is the case with the kingdom of God!

Answering Interpretive Questions:

  • What does this parable us about God

  • What is the main Point

  • If I believed it what would I do

  • What motivated the parable

  • How can I live the parable as part of my life

  • How would you define the kingdom of God?

  • Jesus’ words in Matthew 13:13–15 are quotations from the Old Testament, documenting Israel’s spiritual hardness of heart. What do you think it means for the church today?

  • How does one get eyes that see spiritually and ears that hear spiritually? 

  • How do the differing conditions of the soil in the parable, and the different levels of fruitfulness, help your understanding of the closing of spiritual eyes and ears?

  • What is the central truth of this parable and what does it teach about God’s kingdom? (Notice the frequency of the word hear.)

  • How should one who has “ears to hear” respond to this truth?

Grant SchweisthalMatthew, Parables