Memorize: Matthew 3:2–…“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Read: Matthew 13:1-52
Monday: Matthew 13 includes eight parables, which are designed to represent the kingdom of heaven, the method of planting the gospel kingdom in the world, and of its growth and success. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The Lord Jesus frequently used parables as a means of illustrating profound, divine truths. Stories such as these are easily remembered, the characters bold, and the symbolism rich in meaning.
Tuesday: The Parable of the Sower—Matthew 13:1-9
A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart. The seed is the Word of God. The hard ground represents someone who is hardened by sin; he hears but does not understand the Word. The stony ground pictures a man who professes delight with the Word; however, his heart is not changed, and when trouble arises, his so-called faith quickly disappears. The thorny ground depicts one who seems to receive the Word, but ends up having no time for it. The good ground portrays the one who hears, understands, and receives the Word—and then allows the Word to accomplish its result in his life. The man represented by the “good ground” is the only one of the four who is truly saved, because his actions produce evidence that the Word of God has changed him.
Wednesday: The Parable of the Weeds—Matthew 13:24-30
In the agricultural society of Christ’s time, many farmers depended on the quality of their crops. The enemy in the parable is Satan. In opposition to Jesus Christ, the devil tries to destroy Christ’s work by placing false believers and teachers in the world who lead many astray. Weeds, especially in the early stages of growth, resemble wheat. Likewise, a false believer may resemble a true believer. In Matthew 7:22, Jesus warned that many profess faith but do not know Him.
Thursday: The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great price—Matthew 13: 44-48
The similarities of these two short parables make it clear they teach the same lesson—the kingdom of heaven is of inestimable value. Both parables involve a man who sold all he had to possess the kingdom. The treasure and the pearl represent Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers. Once we have found the treasure, we are willing to give up everything to possess it. Notice that the merchant stopped seeking pearls when he found the pearl of great price. Christ fulfills our greatest needs, satisfies our longings, makes us whole and clean before God, calms and quiets our hearts, and gives us hope for the future.
Friday: The Parable of the Net—Matthew 13:47-50
This parable is similar to the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (Matthew 13:36-43). Both parables concern an end-times sorting when believers will be separated from un-believers once and for all. Just as the net was cast into the sea drawing many fish, the gospel message is spread into the world, drawing many people to it. Just as the net gathered all types of fish, regardless of their value, so the gospel attracts many people who neither repent nor desire to follow Christ. Just as the fish could not be sorted until the net was pulled ashore, so false believers masquerading as true Christians will not be made known until the end of the age.