Summary: Applying the Word of God to our own lives.
CONVEYING THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL
1. THE DISCOVERY OF TREASURE (Matthew 13:44-46)
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a man discovering treasure in a field, and selling all that he has to buy that field; or like a merchant man who discovers a pearl of great price and sells all that he has to buy it.
These two parables begin from different perspectives, but have the same result.
The first man merely stumbled upon the treasure, sold all, and bought the field in which it was thus accidentally found.
The second was at pains to seek out goodly pearls. With his expert eye he attained his goal, perhaps beyond his wildest dreams. He also sold all his belongings to buy it.
Whether we have merely stumbled upon the way of life offered by Jesus, or have sought it out, we must make it our priority to attain peace with God through His sacrifice - no matter what it may cost us in terms of reputation.
2. THE PARABLE OF THE NET (Matthew 13:47-50)
Like the parable of the wheat and the tares, the parable of the net leads us from what would have been a familiar concept to the early disciples, to the very end of time.
A boat heads out onto the Sea of Galilee and casts a net. There are weights at the bottom of the net, and floats at the top. As the boat heads for shore, the fishermen drag in whatever happens to be caught in the net.
Once the catch is ashore, the fishermen sort out what is good, and what is bad: what is ceremonially clean, and what unclean; what is fit to eat, and what is not.
The coming of God's kingdom is compared to the casting of that net.
Just as it is Jesus Himself who sowed the good seed in the earlier parable (Matthew 13:37), so it would appear here that He is the One who let the net into the water.
The sea represents the world, just as in the earlier parable Jesus stated, ‘The field is the world’ (Matthew 13:38).
When Jesus spoke these words, there are thought to have been 54 different types of fish in the sea of Galilee. These represent all men, both good and bad, called forth for judgment at the end of the world.
Jesus equates the fishermen with the angels - and it is their task to separate the wicked from the just (Matthew 13:49).
Bad fish are cast aside, perhaps even cast back into the sea: but at the final judgment the wicked are cast into the “furnace of fire” where shall be, in Jesus' own words, “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
3. THINGS OLD AND NEW (Matthew 13:51-52)
After presenting His disciples with seven wonderful parables, Jesus in Matthew 13:51 asked, “Have ye understood all these things?” - to which they answered in the affirmative.
It is important that we apply the Word of God in our own lives. As our knowledge of the Bible grows, we must make the effort to understand what application it has for ourselves. We must engage our minds to grapple with the truth, and to see what God is saying to us today. It is a living Word, not some dead letter.
Jesus continues in Matthew 13:52: “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.”
Here the disciples are named Scribes. They were being instructed in the kingdom of heaven by Jesus Himself, and it was their calling to convey His message to others. They must bring forth the new treasure of the Gospel, but not fail to apply the truths found in the writings of the Old Testament.
4. BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF (Matthew 13:53-58)
For one last time we see Jesus teaching in a synagogue, in His home town. The people were astonished, but remained unchanged in their hearts. Familiarity breeds contempt, and they were offended in Him.
It has ever been the same, and drew forth the observation of Jesus that “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57).
It is amazing that those who were eyewitnesses to what Jesus was doing and teaching were so hardened in unbelief. It was not that they did not know what to believe, but rather that they refused to believe.
The sin of infidelity carries its own indictment:
“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58).