Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“Parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:1-58)” pp. 174-185.
Mitch sees a sudden shift in the emphasis of Jesus’ style when, in Matthew 13 no less than eight parables occur (Mitch 2010, 174). The parables continue the theme of division which was introduced in the past two chapters. The setting is the same as that of chapter 12, when Jesus engaged the Pharisees, near Capernaum (Mitch 2010, 175). The gathered crowd caused Jesus to get into a boat and speak from the water. Here, Matthew reports teaching at length in parables, as opposed to prior isolated use of parables (Mitch 2010, 175). The purpose of the parales is to reveal more to Jesus’ followers and to leave it hidden from those who reject him (Mitch 2010, 176). The importance in 13:14-17 is that people should see, hear, believe, and follow Jesus (Mitch 2010, 177).
In the parable of the sower, which Jesus explains, the soils represent various reactions to Jesus’ word (Mitch 2010, 178). In verses 24-43 there are three parables which all deal with growth (Mitch 2010, 178). The kingdom of God grows in such a way that even its enemies have a purpose in the end (Mitch 2010, 180). Despite seemingly unimpressive origins God’s kingdom increases and thrives (Mitch 2010, 180).
Matthew interrupts the parables briefly to provide a fulfillment quotation from Psalm 78 (Mitch 2010, 181). The chapter concludes with three additional parables (13:44-53) (Mitch 2010, 182). The treasure, the pearl, and the good fish are all hidden among other things. They must be rightly discerned (Mitch 2010, 183). Mitch, counter to many authors, views the disciple as the person who would be the actor in these parables. Amid the distinctions between good and evil in the parables, Jesus also asks his hearers if they understand, distinguishing between those who hear and who do not (Mitch 2010, 184).