Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:31-50

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus Shows His Glory (Matthew 17:1-9)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15

Opening Prayer

Jesus' First Year Approach (Matthew 4:23-25)
    How did Jesus reveal Himself and His Kingdom early in His ministry?
      Matthew 4:23-25 = Teaching in synagogues, preaching good news, healing people
    How difficult was it for Him to get permission to teach in the synagogues?
      Luke 4:15-16 = Everyone praised Him, He was invited to preach as a traveling rabbi
    How was He received by the Jewish leaders early in His ministry?
      John 3:1-2 = They could tell He was a teacher who has come from God

The Reception Changes (Matthew 12:14)
    How did this reception change by His second year?
      Matthew 12:1-2, 9-10, 13-14 = He challenged their law so they wanted to get rid of Him
    How did they explain the great miracles, healings and exorcisms Jesus performed?
      Matthew 12:22-24 = His power is from Satan
    How did Jesus show He was giving up on trying to reach the Jewish leaders? = Matt 12:25-39
      Luke 11:15-16, 29 = He said that this wicked generation would not be given a sign

Jesus Changes His Approach (Matthew 13:1-3, 10-15, 34-35)
    No longer invited to preach in the synagogues, where did Jesus now focus His teaching efforts?
      Matthew 13:1-2 = Out in the open with the regular people
    How did His style change to reveal His Kingdom to believers but not to those who rejected Him?
      Matthew 13:3a = He told them many things in parables - first time for parables in NT
    Is this really the reason He spoke in parables?
      Matthew 13:10-12 = Parables gave the secrets of the kingdom of heaven to believers
    Was Jesus purposely hiding the secrets of the kingdom of heaven from those who rejected Him?
      Matthew 10:13-15 = No, they hid them from themselves w/ calloused hearts, shut eyes

    How dramatic of a change did Jesus make in His teaching style at this time? = Psalm 78:2
      Matthew 13:34-35 = He did not say anything to them without using a parable
    How did He make sure His inner circle of apostles understood these secret truths?
      Mark 4:33-34 = When He was alone with His disciples, He explained everything

Understanding Jesus' Parables (Matthew 13:16-17)
    As Christians, is it a simple matter for us to understand these parables?
      Matthew 13:16-17 = No, it is a blessing; many have longed to understand
    Did the disciples understand the parables when Jesus told them?
      Matthew 13:36 = No, they asked Him to explain them
    Did they understand them after He explained them?
      Matthew 13:51 = They said they did

    How can we hope to understand Jesus' parables while others could not?
      1 Corinthians 2:7-10a = God has revealed it to us by His Spirit
    What should we do to better understand God's great mysteries?
      Ephesians 1:17-18 = Pray that God may reveal His truths to us so we may understand
    What parable did Jesus give to tell us what to do with the understandings God gives us?
      Matthew 13:52 = Reveal them to others; Not just new ones, old may be new to others

Six Points on Parables from Barclay
    Parables make truth concrete = Pictures are drawn to make abstract and complex truths clear
      Matthew 23:27-28 = Don't judge a book by its cover, looks can be deceiving
    Parables use here and now to get there and then = Unknown explained by what is known
      Revelation 21:18-19a, 21 = Magnificence of heaven described by most precious things
    Parables compel interest = People will listen to stories, earthly story with a heavenly meaning
      Luke 6:46-49 = Stories of wise & foolish builders to describe building on Jesus
    Parables compel the hearer to discover truth for himself = Think it out for yourself
      Matthew 21:28-31 = The parable makes the answer clear
    Parables conceal truth from those who don't want it = Self-blinded don't get it
      John 2:18-21 = Jesus said His destroyed temple (body) would rise after three days
      Matthew 26:59-61 = This statement was used as a threat to destroy the new temple
    Parables were spoken = They were not written for in-depth analysis, one stabbing truth
      Luke 14:31-33 = The cost of being a disciple - not "who is the king, the enemy..."

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23)
    What well-known parable does Jesus begin with that begins to explain the kingdom of heaven?
      Matthew 13:3-8 = Farmer sowing seeds - 3/4 didn't bear fruit, 1/4 brought great harvest
    How did Jesus conclude this parable that pointed the people toward its meaning?
      Matthew 13:9 = He who has ears, let him hear; "hear" is used 19 times in Matt 13
    How did Jesus make sure the people understood the connection? = He explained it
      Matthew 13:18-23 = When you hear the kingdom's message, take & understand it
    Was Jesus describing a political kingdom that would be founded by the promised Messiah?
      Luke 17:20-21 = No, the kingdom of God is within you as brought by the Messiah
    What key point was Jesus making about the kingdom of heaven in this parable?
      Matthew 22:14 = Many are invited, but few are chosen - many reject the invitation

The Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)
    How did Jesus build on this theme to describe the lives of those in this kingdom?
      Matthew 13:24-30 = Told of weeds (tares) that would threaten the wheat
    Jesus didn't explain this parable to the crowd. Was it because the message was so obvious?
      Matthew 13:36 = No, the disciples were confused - Pushing them to think for selves
    What was Jesus trying to say about the kingdom of heaven?
      Matthew 13:37-43 = Dangers would threaten those in this kingdom, reward at harvest
    How were these parables responding to Jesus' encounters with Pharisees earlier that day?
      Matthew 12:33-37 = He had pointed out their lack of fruit - they were weeds

    Are we to work to uproot weeds of false Christians by shooting holes in their positions?
      Matthew 13:29 = No, because our efforts may hurt the growth of other Christians
    How are we to keep false Christianity from damaging Christians and their faith?
      Matthew 13:7 = Turn the table - make the wheat so strong it chokes the weeds

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32)
    What short parable did Jesus give next without any explanation?
      Matthew 13:31-32 = Mustard seed growing into large plant
    Though not the smallest, Jews referred to the mustard seed when describing something small
      Khardah - Mustard plant grew into a tree-like shrub up to 10-20 ft tall
        Wide fan-like branches were strong enough for birds to roost in fall
    What is the common explanation of the mustard seed parable?
      Acts 1:15; 2:41, 47b = The growth of God's kingdom from its small beginnings
    What is the understanding of the birds in this explanation?
      Ezekiel 17:23 (31:6) = People and nations would find rest and shelter in its branches
    What is another explanation of the meaning behind the mustard seed?
      1 Peter 2:2 = Our faith grows into spiritual maturity

    How do some scholars explain this parable in the context of weeds in the wheat?
      2 Corinthians 11:2-4 = Relaxing doctrine for the sake of growth - false growth
    Shouldn't we accept everyone who wants to become a member? = keep it pure
      Acts 8:9, 18-21 = The Church is not a club or organization, it is Christ's body
    Why should we be careful about how the church grows?
      Revelation 3:15-16 = Weak doctrine is as bad as false doctrine - produce a harvest
    What is the purpose of mentioning the birds under this explanation?
      Matthew 13:4, 19 = The birds are Satan and his evil ones finding homes in the church

The Parable of the Leaven (Matthew 13:33)
    What other short parable did Jesus then give to further His lesson on the Kingdom of Heaven?
      Matthew 13:33 = A little leaven working its way through a large batch of dough
      Three pecks of flour (about a bushel) was as much as a woman could handle - fed 100
    What is the common interpretation of this parable?
      1 Thessalonians 5:23 = God's Word & Spirit permeates & transforms Christian & Church
    With all other Biblical references to leaven denoting evil, how do some explain this parable?
      1 Corinthians 5:6-8 = Warning of keeping false doctrines out of the Church
      Matthew 16:11-12 = Jesus uses yeast to refer to teachings of Pharisees & Sadducees

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and Pearl (Matthew 13:44-46)
    What parables did Jesus give to describe the unmatched value of the Kingdom of Heaven?
      Matthew 13:44-46 = Discovery of great treasure and pearl
    What is one view of the meaning behind these parables? = Truth of Jesus is the Treasure
      Colossians 2:2-3 = Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge
      Matthew 6:19-21 = Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven

    What other interpretation is also given? = We are His treasure
      Luke 19:10 = We don't seek and find Jesus, He seeks and finds us
    What strengthens this explanation?
      Revelation 5:9 = He gave everything, including His life, to purchase us

The Parable of the Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
    What parable did Jesus give to finish His lesson on the Kingdom of Heaven?
      Matthew 13:47-48 = Catching all types of fish, sorting them out on shore, not in water
    How did He make sure this lesson wouldn't be lost by the Bible scholars?
      Matthew 13:49-50 = Though all kinds live in the world, they'll be separated at end

The Parable of the Householder (Matthew 13:51-52)
    Should we be concerned about differing understandings and insights of Jesus' parables?
      Matthew 13:51-52 = No, we should take and reveal what we know & what we learn
    How do we know if what we reveal is God's good intention?
      Luke 6:43-45 = If we are right with God, we will reveal His fruit

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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