Matthew 13 The Parables of the Kingdom Part 3
Then having sent away the multitudes, he came into the house, and his disciples came to him, saying: Expound to us the parable of the cockle of the field. [Matthew. 13:36].
Jesus has sent the multitude away and has gathered His disciples about Him. He is going to interpret the parable of the cockles to them. We have already gone over it, but let's read it as the Scripture states it.
Who made answer and said to them: He that soweth the good seed, is the Son of man. And the field, is the world. And the good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockle, are the children of the wicked one. And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels. Even as cockle therefore is gathered up, and burnt with fire: so shall it be at the end of the world. [Matthew 13:37-40].
This is an exact picture of the condition in Christendom in our day. The Lord never missed His predictions. This has been fulfilled as accurately as anything possibly could be.
The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. [Matthew 13:41].
You see, in the kingdom there will be evil rearing its ugly head. But it will be taken out.
And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [Matthew 13:42-43].
These harsh words of Scripture came from the gentle lips of our wonderful Lord. He is saying that those who are not of the kingdom will be gathered up and sent to a furnace of fire. A place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Church Fathers always understood that this is part of Christ’s explanation of the Parable of the cockles. In these verses Christ gave the literal meaning of the parable. The basic teaching is: the unconverted wicked will be cast into a furnace of fire.
Then Jesus spoke two parables where He explained what it meant to be a disciple.
THE PARABLE OF THE TREASURE HID IN A FIELD
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. [Matthew 13:44].
This is a picture of a person who is willing to give up everything that is precious to him, in order to be a disciple of Jesus- and so possess God's kingdom.
THE PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. [Matthew 13:45-46].
The second parable, emphasizes the same truth. In both cases, notice the expression 'all that he had'. Jesus said, So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be my disciple.[Luke 14:33]. That is the only way to be a disciple and posses God's kingdom.
THE PARABLE OF THE NET CAST INTO THE SEA
Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. [Matthew 13:47-49].
“So shall it be at the end of the world” The word world is the Greek aion, meaning "age". The end of the age or the world simply means the time when Christ will return to establish His kingdom on earth.
And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Matthew 13:50].
Our Lord makes it clear in this section that it is a terrible thing to be lost. You may not know whether there is a heaven or a hell, but you had better make sure that you are going to heaven because even if you happen to be wrong, you'll be all right. But if you are wrong, it is surely going to be bad. And our Lord made it very clear that it is indeed going to be very bad.
It is considered sophisticated in our day to be a suave person. Certainly, you will not be considered a square if you deny the existence of hell. But, my friend, in reality you don't know a thing about it, do you? You may say, "Well, you don't know either." Well, I know what is in this Book that God has given to us through His Church. And since the Bible has been accurate in everything it has predicted, and since in my own life I have proven it true, I take it for granted that it is accurate in its description of hell. And I work on that premise-and it's more than a premise.
If you were told that a hurricane was going to hit your town, what would you do? After you had been given the information, someone might come along and say, "Oh, they warned of a hurricane ten years ago, and no hurricane came." I think you would say, "Well, they might have been wrong ten years ago, but they could be right this time; so I think I'll go to a storm cellar." You would be a fool if you didn't. What about the man who rejects Christ's warning of hell? He says, "I'll take my chance." It will be too bad if he is wrong. Our Lord Jesus Himself makes this fact very clear in this parable when He says, "The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
THE PARABLE OF THE HOUSEHOLDER
Some people call this verse a parable and others do not. Nevertheless, the content of this single verse has an important message for us.
Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old [Matthew 13:52].
This is a very personal verse, I am not a scribe or theologian but I am one teaches and preaches the Word of God. I am to bring forth both the old and new. Some folk say to me, "Oh, I've heard all of that before." Of course they have. But it is my business to bring forth old things, but I do hope to bring forth a few new thoughts, also. Now a scribe is one who carefully studies the Scriptures. In our day it would be the Bible theologians. This verse in Matthew 13 says that the scribe must become a disciple. Then, when he teaches, he can bring forth from his treasure, new truths as well as the old truths with freshness. If you remain a scribe with out being a true disciple, however, your ministry will be dead. I personally think that is what is wrong with most our Catholic Theologians. They pride themselves in all the degrees and knowledge they have but have never become a disciple- One who has forsaken all for Christ! This is why when you pick up many of their books, the words inside are dry and dead. There is know freshness, no life in their words. Don't ever let them convince you that you are a simpleton who can not understand certain things of scripture. They are just covering up the fact that they are not true disciples of Christ by putting up a smoke screen of higher learning.
JESUS RETURNS TO HIS OWN COUNTRY AND IS REJECTED
After teaching these parables, the Lord Jesus departed and headed toward Nazareth, His hometown.
And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? [Matthew 13:54].
Let me call your attention again to the fact that in Christ's day they never questioned whether or not He could perform miracles. Their question was, "How came this man by this wisdom and miracles?" Where does He get His wisdom, and how can He do these mighty works?
Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude: [Matthew 13:55].
"Is not this the carpenter's son?" That was what confused them. They did not recognize who He really was. 'To them He was just a carpenter's son. And that is all He is to some folk in our day. They think He was a great teacher, a great man, a wonderful person, but to them He was only a carpenter's son.
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?[Matthew 13:56].
It is obvious that the Lord Jesus had brothers and sisters---or is it? Did Mary have more children after Jesus virgin birth? Were they his step brothers and sisters? Or were they cousins?
The evidence may seem clear, but scripture scholars and theologians had been debating these and other passages for a long time nearly, arguing whether those brothers and sisters were in fact biological siblings, step-siblings, or not even siblings at all, but cousins.
One of the recorded arguments we had was between St. Jerome and another fourth-century theologian, Helvidius, who had written that after the virgin birth of Jesus, Mary had other children with her husband, Joseph. St. Jerome disagreed, indicating that by the fourth century at least some of the church community believed that Mary had stayed a virgin for the rest of her life. These children of Mary, Jerome said, were from Mary of Clopas, Jesus’ aunt and his mother’s sister, making them cousins. He claimed that the Greek word adelphios could refer to cousins, not just biological siblings. Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis and a contemporary of Jerome and Helvidius, threw another possibility into the hat. He argued that the siblings weren’t cousins, but Joseph’s children from a previous marriage, making them the step-siblings of Jesus. Joseph isn’t mentioned outside of the birth of Jesus, causing some to believe that he was much older than Mary and died before Jesus’ public ministry. So what is the answer?
Well we can rule out that Mary had other children after the virgin birth of Jesus. Pope Martin I, who reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655, dogmatically proclaimed at the Lateran Council (Can. 3): “If anyone does not properly and truly confess in accord with the holy Fathers, that the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin and immaculate Mary in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Ghost without seed, namely, God the Word Himself specifically and truly, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and that she incorruptibly bore [Him?], her virginity remaining indestructible even after His birth, let him be condemned.”
Another thing to understand is that the Greek term for brother can have a broader meaning than biological brothers or sisters. It can also mean an extended relative, or even a spiritual brother or sister.
Take Genesis 13:8 for example. Here the word brother is being used to describe the relationship between Abraham and Lot, who were not biological brothers but uncle and nephew:
“So Abram said to Lot, “Abram therefore said to Lot: Let there be no quarrel, I beseech thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen: for we are brethren.” (Genesis 13:8; see also 14:12).
Because of the Bible’s broad semantic range of “brother,” we can rest assured that although St. Paul writes, in the first letter to the Corinthians 15:6, “That [Jesus]was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once”, we need not infer from this verse that Mary gave birth to more than 500 children!
These “brothers” are never once called the children of Mary, although Jesus himself is (John 2:1; Acts 1:14).
James and Joseph (also called Joses), who are called Jesus’ “brothers” (Mark 6:3) are indeed the children of Mary—Just not Mary, the mother of Jesus.
After St. Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, he writes:
“And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:56; see also Mark 15:40).
The earliest explanation of the “brothers” of the Lord is found in a document known as the Protoevangelium of James, which was written around A.D. 150. It speaks of Mary as a consecrated virgin since her youth, and of St. Joseph as an elderly widower with children who was chosen to be Mary’s spouse for the purposes of guarding and protecting her while respecting her vow of virginity. Though this document is not on the level of Sacred Scripture, it was written very early, and it may contain accurate historical traditions.
Allow me to limit myself to three quotes from the early Church:
Athanasius of Alexandria
“Therefore let those who deny that the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh of Mary Ever-Virgin [A.D. 360].
“You say that Mary did not continue a virgin: I claim still more that Joseph himself, on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born. [A.D. 383].
Pope St. Leo I
“The origin is different but the nature alike: not by intercourse with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remained [A.D. 450].
So theses relatives, whether half siblings or cousins, did not understand until after His resurrection that He was truly the Son of God. “And they were scandalized in his regard. But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” [Matthew 13:57].
You see, His hometown folks were so familiar with Him and with His family that they were "scandalized in regard to them" That is, they took offense at Him. I suppose they said, ''We know His family. He grew up among us. Where does He get the things He teaches?"
And he wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief. [Matthew
This is a tremendous revelation. Note what it was that limited the power of God when He was here. It was unbelief! "And he wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief. " It was not that He was unable to do them; but because of their unbelief, He did very few miracles there. My friend, the great problem with you and me is that we do not have faith to believe-and I'm talking about faith for the salvation of men and women. We need the kind of faith that believes Christ can save the lost. He is limited today in your own community, in your church, in your family, and in your own life by unbelief. And this is certainly true of me also. Our Lord states a great truth here. Let's not bypass it.