The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 13: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/13?lang=eng
Jesus Teaches in Parables
This chapter begins,
“The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side” (Matt 13:1).
It appears that it is still the same Sabbath day, and that Jesus went home to speak with His family before going to the seaside.
Because of the great multitudes who gathered to be with Him, Jesus taught them from the sea while sitting in a ship, and they were standing on the shore.
Jesus taught the people through many parables. His disciples later asked Him why He taught in parables. Jesus answered,
“Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heart them” (vs. 11-17).
Further thoughts: Can you imagine hearing Jesus teach and seeing His miracles? It would have been an amazing blessing. But do we recognize the miracles and blessings that happen in our own daily lives because of His goodness? If we live by the Spirit, we will see His hand in all things.
Yet Jesus still needed, at that time, to explain The Parable of the Sower.
Further thoughts: It is apparent that it was necessary for them to have a desire to know what it meant and to ask Him. Likewise, when we seek spiritual understanding, we can ask our Father in Jesus’s name, and He will give us light and understanding through the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.
First, He related to them The Parable of the Sower. Following is the parable and its explanation:
The seeds that fell by the way side and were devoured by the fowls (vs. 4) represent “any [who] heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received the seed by the way side” (vs. 19).
The seeds which fell in stony places, and sprung up, were scorched and withered (vs. 5-6) represent those who hear the word with joy, but they do not care for the seed in a manner for it to take root in their lives. So when hard things happen, they are offended by the word instead of defending the word. Without root, they can walk away (vs. 21).
Those seeds that fell among thorns, and were choked by them (vs. 7), represent those who hear the word, but are more concerned with the cares of the world and allow those cares and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word. So they become unfruitful (vs 22).
But some of the seed “fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold (vs. 8).” These represent those who hear the word and understand it and bring forth fruit according to their receptiveness in listening to and living by the word (vs 23).
“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (vs 9).
Further thought: Even now we are invited to let the word be planted in our hearts and accept and live by the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Will we have ears to hear?
“Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:28).
The second parable that Jesus taught them was The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (vs. 24). Next, he taught The Parable of the Leaven (vs. 33). After Jesus had sent the multitudes away and gone into the house with His disciples, they asked Him,
“Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field” (vs 36).
“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field” (vs. 24). “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; The field is the world; and the good seed are the children of the kingdom” (vs. 37-38).
“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also” (vs. 24-25). “… the tares are the children of the wicked one” (vs. 38).
“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in the field? From whence then hath it tares? He saith unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat unto my barn” (vs. 27-30).
Note: The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that the wheat is gathered first into the barn and then the tares are bundled to be burned. Further thought: when Jesus comes again the righteous will rise in the clouds of His glory to meet him, and the wicked will be left to burn with whatsoever is evil.
“The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 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; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (vs. 39-43).
And again, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (vs. 43), we are invited to hear!
The Parable of the Leaven (vs. 33):
Jesus teaching the multitudes in parables was the fulfillment of prophecy. “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (vs. 35).
Jesus taught in more parables in verses 44 through 52. In verse 51, He asked His disciples,
“Have ye understood all these things?”
They answered him, “Yea, Lord.”
After Jesus taught the parables, He departed and went into His own country. When He taught in their synagogues, “they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 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. And he did not many might works there because of their unbelief” (vs. 54-58).
Further thought: Do we have preconceived notions that prevent us from hearing the word of God or accepting His message or His messengers? Do we not receive those who are called of God because we are familiar with their beginnings?