Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“III. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee, 4:12-13:52” pp. 79-363.
Due to the length of this portion, we will divide notes roughly by biblical chapter.
“Matthew 13” pp. 333-367.
Morris notes a shift in Matthew 13. “Increasingly Jesus will forsake the synagogue and teach the people out of doors. A further change is the use of parables” (Morris 1992, 333). As Jesus used parables the small points are relatively unimportant but the big picture is essential (Morris 1992, 334). The first parable, that of the sower, is explained. Then we are given three parables, an explanation of one, and three more (Morris 1992, 334). While some suggest Matthew collected parables somewhat at random, Morris observes that Matthew 13:53 suggests Jesus had them grouped together (Morris 1992, 334). Morris comments on the parables in turn.
In the parable of the sower, Morris does observe that the sower planted seed in a prepared field, though some portion would fall in worse locations (Morris 1992, 337). Jesus explains to his disciples that those who do not wish to understand will not, while those who desire understanding will receive it (Morris 1992, 338). Specifically, Jesus’ place in the kingdom was not clear to the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders (Morris 1992, 340). Morris points out the deliberate shutting of eyes to the truth (Morris 1992, 343). Jesus explains the parable, pointing to it as “the parable of the sower” and drawing attention to some allegorical elements (Morris 1992, 345). After discussing the elements of the sower and the responses of the different soils, the other parables continue, with that of weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. Here, a crop was vandalized by planting of a similar looking weed (Morris 1992, 349). The good crop is protected and brought to maturity. Morris, with Carson, asserts the parable to refer to activity in the world, not specifically within the church (Morris 1992, 351).
In the parable of the mustard seed (13:31-33) the deliberate planting of one seed in a whole field may well be important (Morris 1992, 352). God’s kingdom grows very large despite seemingly insignificant beginnings. This is illustrated also in the parable of leaven which runs throughout a large amount of dough (Morris 1992, 353).
Jesus interrupts his parables in 13:36-43 to explain the parable of the weeds before continuing. Morris observes Jesus’ eschatological focus in this parable (Morris 1992, 355). The universality of the field and the implications of bringing the grain to maturity are important, pointing to a situation influencing the whole world (Morris 1992, 357).
In the end of Matthew 13 Jesus gives several brief parables about the kingdom of heaven (Morris 1992, 358). Morris views the thrust of these parables as being the fact that man must seek after God’s kingdom (Morris 1992, 359). He observe that in the second parable the person has sold all he has to own one pearl, which cannot be sold in part. He must be satisfied with his one purchase (Morris 1992, 360).
In Matthew 13:53 the text shifts to end Jesus’ ministry in Galilee (Morris 1992, 363). Opposition grows and becomes increasingly bitter. Jesus taught in his home town and was not received by the people, as they assumed he was nobody special (Morris 1992, 364).