Matthew 13:1 MEANING

Matthew 13:1

(1, 2) The same day . . . out of the house.--In St. Mark the parable of the Sower follows the appearance of the mother and the brethren, as in St. Matthew, but in St. Luke (Luke 8:4-15; Luke 8:19-21) the order is inverted. In this case the order of the first Gospel seems preferable, as giving a more intelligible sequence of events. The malignant accusation of the Pharisees, the plots against His life, the absence of real support where He might most have looked for it, the opposition roused by the directness of His teaching--this led to His presenting that teaching in a form which was at once more attractive, less open to attack, better as an intellectual and spiritual training for His disciples, better also as a test of character, and therefore an education for the multitude.

That our Lord had been speaking in a house up to this point is implied in the "standing without" of Matthew 12:46. He now turns to the crowd that followed, and lest the pressure should interrupt or might occasion--as the feeling roused by the teaching that immediately preceded made probable enough--some hostile attack, He enters a boat, probably with a few of His disciples, puts a few yards of water between Himself and the crowd, and then begins to speak.

Verses 1-9. - The parable of the sower. Parallel passages: Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8. Verse 1. - The same day; on that day (Revised Version). Although day is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense, so as to include what is, in fact, a long period of time (e.g. Luke 6:23; Mark 2:20; cf. also John 14:20; John 16:23, 26; and possibly even Acts 8:1), yet we are not justified in assigning this sense to it unless the context clearly requires us to do so. This is not the case here, so that we must assume that a literal day is intended. But which day? Naturally, the day that has just before been mentioned, either in the original source from which our narrative is taken or in the narrative as it now stands. Since, however, Matthew 12:46-50 and our vers. 1-23 appear to have been already connected in the framework (as is seen from their being in the same relative position in Mark), these supposed alternatives really represent the same thing, the phrase probably referring to the day on which our Lord's mother and brethren sought to speak to him (Matthew 12:46). Went Jesus out of the house. Where he had been when his mother came (Matthew 12:46, note), and presumably the one to which he returned in ver. 36. Possibly it was St. Peter's house at Capernaum (Matthew 8:14). And sat (Matthew 5:1, note). By the seaside. Until the crowds compelled him to enter the boat.

13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.The same day Jesus went out of the house,.... Where he had been preaching, and working miracles: where this house was, is not certain; it seems to have been in one of the cities of Galilee, probably Capernaum, since that was by the sea coast: the reason of his going out of the house was, either to converse with his mother and brethren, as they desired; or to withdraw himself from company, and take some refreshment by the sea side; or because it would not hold the people, and therefore he quitted it for a more convenient place. The time he went out of it, was the same day he had cast the devil out of the man blind and dumb, and had delivered himself so freely concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, who had blasphemously ascribed that miracle to the assistance of Satan; and the same day his mother and brethren came to see him, and speak to him.

And sat by the sea side; either as weary, and for his refreshment, or in order to preach to the people; for, Mark says, "he began again to teach by the sea side", Mark 4:1. This was the sea of Galilee, sometimes called the sea of Tiberias.

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