24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 “But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Mat 13:36-43)
I hope you have had a chance to read it through a number of times. When you do that the purpose of the author (each gospel writer) or the speaker (Jesus) comes to the surface.
In Gem 871 I wrote there are between 46 – 57 parables of Jesus recorded in Scripture. The difference in totals is dependent on what one regards as a parable and what one regards as an illustration to a point. With just two out of 57 Jesus includes the answer and both of them are found in this portion of Scripture. Jesus only explains two parables: the Parable of the Soils ( Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:13-20. Luke 8:11-15) and the Parable of the Tares. (Matthew 13:24-30). The explanation of the Parable of the Tares is found in Matthew 13:36-43. Is this coincidence? I don’t think so. Also note that these parables make an important point because Jesus goes to great lengths to make sure we understand them.
As I indicated in the last Gem there are many theories concerning this 30 60 100 – 100 60 30 switch. None of them really satisfy me. I am convinced there is another answer. I will be teaching in deeper levels of Deeper Bible all about the significance of Beth Midrash and the Midrashic way of looking at the Scriptures. Under Midrashic teaching it is all to do with looking for allusions using remez [clues or hints] . Note I said allusions and not illusions. The crux of the matter then, is Jesus or Luke or Matthew alluding to the kinds of things I listed for you in the Gem 880? Does the 30 60 100 link to the ages of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph? Is there significance there and is that what Jesus is meaning? Is that what Matthew or Mark are trying to bring out? If the answer is yes, it is certainly not clear. And furthermore if the answer is yes, then why did Jesus not give a remez to the link, especially when they asked and He told them the interpretation. No I don’t think that is the answer!
I shared with you already the pattern related to 30, 60 and 100 days on the journey from Egypt. Does this have relevance or not? I sense there maybe something in it at a deeper level but I won’t put too much emphasis on that option. The big stumbling block to that theory is the lack of connection to the Word of God. It lies more in the fanciful thoughts of those who preach prosperity and wealth which accrue from such a harvest. Also the same principle applies as in the paragraph above. If Jesus meant that to be understood by the parables then when He gave the “answer” or explanation surely He would have made the link by pointing us to the OT passage which holds the idea. That is the practice with Midrashic teaching but there is no link here.
There are others who focus on the numbers involved and create grand explanations from the gematria of such numbers, in other words using Bible numerics. 10 is the number of perfection. 3 is the number for the Godhead. 6 is the number for man. This is fanciful at best and not rooted in reality.
Now for Ian’s input. It is the beginnings of my musings on this matter, my embryo ideas. Feel free to challenge them and give me your input. But here is my thinking for what it’s worth. The answer must lie in the Parable of the Soils itself and in Matthew’s case the combination of the Parable of the Soils and the Parable of the Tares. Remember the Good Soil is only good because the hard ground, rocks and weeds have been removed. It’s the absence of the hard ground, rocks or weeds which make for good soil. We have already looked at the significance of that as it applies to us as readers or hearers of the Word. Matthew appears to focus more on the weeds and the problems than the high yield. For that reason perhaps he arranged the yield in the reverse order. But there is more I suspect.
Mark and Luke’s account is very strongly focused on the quality of our hearing the Word of God. Matthew doesn’t have the same focus. Is that the reason why he has used the verses between Mark 4:21-15 but has dispersed them to other places. He is not so intent on using the verses related to the light of the revelation of the Word in this place. Even the verse he does use (Mt 13:12) he links to the mysteries, before he begins the Parable of the Soils. Mark and Luke use it to talk about the fact that we are granted more revelation and more insight to the Word of God when we have the right heart and share the light. Notice too the subtle switches or shifts of focus in Matthew on to the person rather than the soil or the heart. By the time we get to Parable of the Tares the seed is no longer the Word, but now the seed has become the sons of God – believers, followers of Jesus. The Tares represent the false believers. Those paying lip service to the things of God. So much so that you can no longer tell the sons of God from the sons of the evil one. You have to wait until their fruit is clear. Tares are plants that look like wheat as they grow but don’t produce any ears of wheat grain. They don’t fruit. Now that is interesting isn’t it! Is there a link to the results from the weedy, thorny ground? – no crop! There are those who look like Christians but they just don’t produce anything. It is like Matthew continues this theme and focuses on the weeds because that is what Tares are.
But clearly the focus here is people, the believers and those who feign belief, rather than the Word of God. As we have seen a 30 fold crop is a GOOD crop. That is a good yield. It is 30 x not 30%. I have heard preachers who talk about the 30% Christians and the 60% Christians rather than the 100% whole hearted Christians. No that is not what this passage is talking about. All yields are good yields but some (the 100 x yield) is outstanding. The preachers who preach that the 30 and 60 are not going to heaven and only the 100% are saved are wrongly interpreting the text. That is not what this passage is saying.
I suspect Matthew has rearranged the order of Mark’s 30-60-100 (an ascending order) to become 100-60-30 (a descending order) because he plans to move straight on to the Tares and Wheat. It seems to link in well to what Jesus goes on to talk about in the Parable of the Tares. The productivity is on a downward slide, ending up with disciples who are feigning belief rather than really showing fruit. The other question we are left with is does the 100-60-30 come from Jesus’ mouth or does it comes from Matthew’s pen? We can’t answer that question at the moment. For sure I will be one in line to talk to Matthew about what he meant and why he changed the order of the yields. I am not suggesting in any way that I have solved categorically the matter of Mathew’s reversal of the numbers. It is food for thought. This is the first time I have noticed it and so will need time to ponder it more. Time for you too to think it over and see what you think about it. Time for us all to ask God for His revelation. For to him who has light already, more will be given. But to him who thinks he has light but in reality doesn’t, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.
We have already spent 19 days on this parable. Could you have imagined that when we started? Nearly three weeks spent on this one passage? And as I have said from time to time I have skipped over things that warranted comment but I didn’t think it wise to look at every little thing. I would lose most of you. But there is one more thing to add before I close this segment and we move on to the next section on Luke. Why does Luke know about Mark’s 30 60 100 comments and choose to use only 100 and only once? In other words both Matt and Mark have the series in two places. It’s repeated twice – in the parable and in the explanation. But for Luke it is only recorded once in the parable and not repeated in the explanation. Not only that but he doesn’t use 30 or 60, only 100. I will leave this as your puzzle to work out. I think I know but I haven’t asked Luke yet. If I have enough of you respond I will make a public statement. If there are not a lot who respond but you wish to look at it and respond personally, I will dialogue with you on it.
You can’t change the world if you are afraid of it.Anon
Nothing worth having comes without sweat.Anon
When you stop making progress, you’ll start making excuses. When you stop making excuses, you’ll start making progress.Gery Ong
Courage is not the absence of fear, but judgment that something else is more important than fear.Ambrose Redmoon
Become so passionately wrapped up in something you forget to be afraid!Rick Godwin