A parable is a sort of extended metaphor or story, a comparison that illustrates spiritual truths with familiar objects. Jesus Christ, the Great Teacher, taught His people different parables about the kingdom of God. He spoke in parables because of the spiritual dullness of the people. (Mathew 13:10-15; Luke 8: 4), and to fulfill the prophecy of Prophet Isaiah which says, “I will use parables when I speak to them; I will tell them things unknown since the creation of the world.” We select three parables for study out of seven recorded by Mathew.
1. The parable of Good Seed and the Wheat (Mathew 13: 24-26)
The parable of the weeds among the wheat is the second parable Jesus told in this chapter. He likened the kingdom of heaven to a man who sowed a good seed on his field. While everyone was asleep at night, the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.
The two plants sprouted, and both the weeds and the wheat became recognizable. In Jesus’ explanation of the parable, the one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man, that is, Jesus Himself. The field in the parable means the world while the good seed sown symbolizes the people of the kingdom. The weeds are people of the world, and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the Devil.
The application of this parable is that believers are kingdom people and are bound to live in this world with sinners and wicked people. However, we must live as citizens of heaven in the kingdom of this world, sprouting as good seeds with godly fruit of righteousness (1 John 2: 15-17).
Just as the wheat and weeds were distinct in their appearance, the world should be able to identify Christians by their fruits, which should be void of hypocrisy. We must ask for the grace to co-exist with evil in the world, especially in our immediate society and workplace while we maintain the goodness of the godly nature in us without being contaminated or corrupted in the world.
Applying this grace must also be done with the understanding that our chief enemy who placed the weeds around us is the Devil. We must, therefore, resist him so that he will flee from us.
The parable is meant to teach that the children of the evil one, which symbolizes the weeds, are destined for damnation with no opportunity to change their destiny. The phrase “while everyone else was asleep,” shows the determination of the enemy to frustrate the good plans and purpose of God for His people.
Ultimately, while the weeds would be gathered in bundles and burnt, the wheat would be stored safely in the barn for future use. The harvest refers to the end of the age, which will be executed by angels (harvesters).
The important lessons are: the good seed symbolizes the righteous; the reaping of the unrighteous symbolizes the judgment of God that will be meted out by fire, which will result in writing, and the co-existence of believers and unbelievers will end.
2. The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast (Mathew 13: 31-33)
Jesus did not relent in His effort to make known the nature of the kingdom of heaven to the people. As He continued in His teaching, He used different analogies to illustrate and drive home His point for the sake of clarity. As it is seen in the passage, He told them another parable.
Just like the parable of the weeds, Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a man who planted a mustard seed in his field. The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds but it usually turns out to be the biggest of all plants and its branches accommodate the birds of the air.
Furthermore, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven and likened it to a woman who mixes some quantity of yeast until the whole dough of flour rises. The ancient equivalent of yeast was a lump of leavened dough saved from the previous baking of bread whereby a small quantity will easily make a large quantity of flour rise.
Though the word yeast in the Scripture is most times used to mean corruption or evil that pervades the whole, it here represents the secret way the kingdom of God will spread. Jesus was particularly interested in making people understand the nature of His kingdom and what it takes to enter into it.
Some people, however, believe that this parable teaches about the combination of evil and righteousness in the church while others see it as a vivid image of the starting growth and spread of God’s kingdom.
However, this parable certainly explains the small beginning of Christ’s kingdom, its gradual and unnoticeable growth in the individual, and eventually the transforming power of the Gospel in individual lives and nations, which is God’s purpose and plan for the church.
Even though the spread of the Gospel may seem slow, it will spread through the world. In addition, the reference to birds perching on the tree may indicate that people of different social, ethnic, racial, economic, and religious backgrounds will find rest in it.
3. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Mathew 13: 44-46)
The parable here pointed us to the kingdom of God as Jesus told the disciples that the kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. (v 44). When the man found the hidden treasure, he was joyous.
The teaching of the hidden treasure points us to the joy that will fill the heart of people who has found Jesus Christ. Those who have found Jesus Christ have found the Kingdom of God because, through Him, we can enter the kingdom of God.
If you have not tasted Jesus, you may not know how sweet it is. The hidden treasure and goodly pearls are symbols of Jesus Christ that everyone must leave what he/she has and find Him.
Jesus Christ is the way to the Kingdom of God and the pillar of your joy. If anyone has not experienced Him, he/she has lost many good things. He is the joy and the way to heaven. We should forsake everything hindering us from finding Him.
4. The Parable of the Net (Mathew 13: 47-52)
What Jesus was teaching about the kingdom of God is that at the end of the world, the angel shall come forth and separate the wicked from the just. The Bible says that the angels shall cast the wicked into the furnace of fire while there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (vv. 49-50 KJV).
Everyone either Christians or non-Christians should try as much as possible to be thirsty for the kingdom of God. What we do on earth will determine what will be our result in heaven whether good or bad. Everyone will be judged accordingly.