THE KEY PARABLE – “Introductions”

Let’s look at the Introductions. We find the Introductions in Matthew 13:1-3a, Mark 4:1-2, and Luke 8:4. Now, what I am going to do is to take you through the three different texts and then we’re going to come down to the “Harmony” of the Introductions. I suggest that you write these out for yourselves and underline those things that are not found in all three. And so I’m going to read the Harmony.

That day Jesus went out of the house…

You find that “went out of the house” in verse 1 of Matthew 13. You might not think it’s significant and it does not seem to have a lot of significance, but it does set the scene. You do not find the fact that Jesus had spent some time in a house in Mark 4 or in Luke 8. He evidently stayed in somebody’s home which was, incidentally, by the sea. You can infer all sorts of things from this little bit of information. Things like that house “by the sea” could have been the home of Simon and Andrew or it could have been the home of a man called Zebedee who was the father of James and John. Both families had their homes by the Sea of Galilee because both families got their living as fishermen from the sea.

That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him.

You do not find the information about people from “various cities” coming to hear him in Matthew and Mark. You only find that mentioned in the Luke passage.

…and those from the various cities were journeying to Him.

And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land.

In the last part of verse 4 in the Luke text we find: He spoke by way of a parable. This is important, because if you were to read this same passage in Mark chapter 4, verse 2, you will see that it says that, He was teaching them many things in parables, plural. Not only does He teach this parable in particular but on this occasion He teaches a number of other parables too.

Turn to Matthew chapter 13, verses 34 and 35.

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open My mouth in parables;

I will utter things hidden since the

Foundation of the world.”

This is very important. You will find teaching in the Gospels that is not in parables but when there was a crowd, He always taught by way of parables. And, as we will see more clearly in a few minutes, He taught by way of parables to hide it from most in the crowd.

Have you heard the teaching, on the radio, the TV or directly from pastors over the years, that Jesus taught in parables referring to natural things in life, simple things in life, to make it understood, to make it easy to understand? Well, that is a lie from the enemy! Jesus taught in parables to hide the truth. He taught in parables whenever there were those in His presence to whom it was not granted to understand.

There were always two kinds of people in the crowds. And He spoke in parables because there was always this kind of people or there was this other person or persons present. And it was for their sakes; it was by way of grace that He hid it from them. And this is the way of Jesus.

It seems as if there were some things that we would like to know but there are occasions where Jesus said, “I would like to speak to you, but you are not able to bear it. You can’t handle it.”

He hides it because, for whatever reason, it cannot be handled yet. There are things that you or I just cannot handle. There are things that I know I cannot handle or He would be explaining them to me. He would tell me because He wants me to know His ways and His heart in matters. But if He does not tell me, it’s probably because I cannot handle it, or bear it, or it’s for other reasons too, like if I’m not willing to do it. But there is this reason that He hides things from me: I’m not able to bear it. “Many things I would speak to you but you’re just not able to bear it.” And so there is this second person in the crowd that is not able to handle it, and Jesus in His grace and mercy hides it from them.

The point of Matthew 13:34 & 35 was that parables are both to hide and to reveal. Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds that are on the outside in order to hide and then when He got the disciples alone and all those who were His followers, and they asked Him for clarity, He would then explain the parables.

I’ll do this for you when we finish this section so you can see how to harmonize the Gospel accounts of this parable. It’s a good exercise and I recommend that you do it on your own. These completed harmonies will be done for you and posted in the “Pages” section of the blog.

I suggest that you take the four types of soils Jesus mentions and harmonize each with the three Gospel accounts found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The soil types that the seed is sown in are: 1. soil beside the road, 2. soil in rocky places, 3. soil with thorns, and 4. good soil.

The scripture references will be as follows:

1. Soil Beside the Road: Mt. 13:3-4, 18-29; Mk.4:3-4, 14-15; Lk.8:5, 11-12.

2. Soil in Rocky Places: Mt. 13:5-6, 20-21; Mk. 4:5-6, 16-17; Lk. 8:6, 13.

3. Soil Within Thorns: Mt. 13:7, 22; Mk. 4:7, 18-19; Lk. 8:7, 14.

4. Soil That is Good. Mt. 13:8, 23; Mk. 4:8, 20; Lk. 8:8a, 15.

Write out each section of the parable with only one reference to the passages that are in harmony while underlining those passages that are different in one account. A harmony is the combining of all of the elements to make sure that everything that is said is included. What you will get is a complete picture of what Jesus said to the crowd and to His disciples and what He is saying to us today.


3 Responses to “THE KEY PARABLE – “Introductions””

  1. rjperalta Says:

    Good post. I was thinking along this line the other day. I am reminded when Jesus said, “He that has an ear, let him hear”. Those void of His Spirit are not going to be able to spiritually hear. It takes the Spirit of God to be able to understand the things of God. First things first, “You must be born again”.
    Thanks, Richard

  2. timbob Says:

    Hello. It’s amazing how the Lord is realy the only one who can open the eyes or increase ones understanding. We can ever learn, but unless the Lord opens our eyes, we won’t truly get it. I’ve always loved the account in Luke after Jesus is risen and talks with the two disciples along the road but keeps them from knowing who he is. Then when their eyes are opened and he is suddenly gone, they reply one to another “did not our heart burn within us as he opened to us the scriptures?”

    Indeed Jeremiah 33:3 and James 1:5 remain accurate and should cause us to remember that we cannot open our own eyes to spiritual truths. Thank you for this needed reminder.

    Have a blessed day in Jesus.


  3. Jerald Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Richard. It is being in tune (harmony) with the Holy Spirit that allows us to produce the music of heaven instead of just noise.

    Timbob, you are right – it takes the Spirit to light the way for our understanding.
    I’ve read the Bible through a number of times but each time I do, He reveals something special to me. You’d think I’d get it the first time, or the second, or the third, etc. But sometimes I’m just not ready to see the Truth and so He waits until I’m ready to understand to show me what He wants me to see.

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