Philippe R. Sterling
VII. Parables Discourse: Through the parables of the Kingdom the Messiah-King teaches that disciples must
remain faithful and bear fruit in the present evil age until He returns and establishes the kingdom
dispensing justice and reward (13).
A. The Parable of the Soils (1-23)
1. Jesus teaches with parables at the lake (1-3a).
2. Jesus tells a simple story about a farmer sowing seeds (3b-9).
3. Why did Jesus use parables? In this context He used parables to veil the truth concerning the
kingdom from those who would not receive it and reveal it to those who seek it (10-17).
4. Jesus explains the Parable of the Soils to the disciples. Each soil represents one of our responses to
the kingdom message (18-23).
We benefit from seeing bits of ourselves in all four soils. Like the wayside, sometimes we allow the word no room at all in our lives. Like the stony places, we sometimes have a burst of enthusiasm in receiving the word but it takes no firm hold in our lives. Like the soil among thorns, the world is constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness. Like the good ground, the word bears fruit in our lives.
B. Parables to the Multitude at the Lake (24-43)
1. Parable of the Wheat and Tares (24-30)
2. Parable of the Mustard Seed (31-32)
3. Parable of the Leaven in the Meal (33)
4. Jesus’ teaching in parables is a fulfillment of prophecy (34-35).
5. Jesus explains the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares to the disciples in the house (36-43).
The point of the Parable of the Mustard Seed is the contrast between an unusually small beginning and a large mature plant. Jesus’ ministry was despicably small in the eyes of many Jews, nevertheless from this small beginning would come the worldwide kingdom predicted in the Scriptures. The kingdom message itself will have great influence in this inter-advent age in preparing people for the coming kingdom. The seed has been planted, metaphorically speaking, in the First Advent. The Second Advent will bring a large tree to which all the world will come seeking refuge. The Parable of the Leaven in the Meal stresses the extensive ultimate consequences of the kingdom that would be out of all proportion to its insignificant beginning.
C. Parables to the Disciples in the House (44-53)
1. Parable of the Hidden Treasure (44)
2. Parable of the Costly Pearl (45-46)
3. Parable of the Dragnet (47-50)
4. Parable of the Householder (51-52)
5. Jesus finishes these parables and departs from there (53).
The point of the Parable of the Hidden Treasure is that disciples should be willing to pay any price to have a significant role in the coming kingdom. The kingdom has not yet been revealed in history. Disciples recognize its worth and make any sacrifice necessary for it. The Parable of the Costly Pearl shows us the value of the kingdom from the perspective of the King himself. The kingdom, and us in it, was something so precious and valuable to Him that He Himself willingly gave everything for it.
In the Parable of the Dragnet Jesus shows that the world will remain divided right up until the end of the age; and disciples will not reform the world, ushering in the kingdom. Instead, there will be both the wicked and the just until the end of the age (as also demonstrated in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares). Disciples are simply to be fishing for people, leaving it to the Lord to render judgment at the end of the age.
In the Parable of the Householder Jesus compares His disciples to the scribe. They had just said they understood what Jesus had taught them (v. 51). Therefore they now had a responsibility to teach others. Every disciple must be a scribe, a teacher of the law, because he or she understands things that must be communicated to others (see 10:27; 28:19; Heb. 5:12).
VIII. Rebellion: In the face of continuing opposition and rejection from the Jews, Jesus prepares his disciples
for a mission to the nations (13:54–17:27).
A. The Hometown Rejection – Even those who know Him best may reject the King and his kingdom (13:53-58).
B. The Martyrdom of John – The faithful disciple will live by the truth although it costs him his life (14:1-12).
C. 5000 Jewish Men Fed – Jesus first supplies for the needs of His people Israel before he meets the needs
of Gentiles through multiplying what his disciples provide (14:13-21). Disciples go and give people
something to eat — both natural and spiritual food.
D. Walk on Water – Jesus appreciates a disciple’s baby steps of faith, but as he grows He expects more
than baby steps (14:22-33).
E. Healing the Sick – The Lord graciously rewards any expression of faith (14:34-36).
F. Tradition and Commandment – Disciples do not replace the letter and spirit of God’s word with traditions
like the Pharisees but focus on inner spiritual growth over external rituals. (15:1-20).
G. The Syrophoenician Woman – Jesus went into Gentile territory and did a miracle for a Gentile woman
who had greater faith than the Jews who were rejecting and challenging Jesus’ claims (15:21-28).
H. Healing of Gentiles – Gentiles come to Jesus for healing and praise the God of Israel (15:29-31).
I. 4000 Gentile Men Fed – Jesus supplies for the needs of the Gentiles as He did for His people Israel
through multiplying what His disciples provide (15:32-39).
J. Demand for a Sign – The world as represented by the Pharisees and Sadducees will remain blind and
critical to the obvious truth (16:1-4).
K. Obtuseness of the Disciples – Disciples need to grow in their understanding of spiritual truth so as
not to overlook dangers from the world (16:5-12).
L. Peter’s Confession and Christ’s Church – A disciple must understand the King’s identity and the
authority derived from Him to build up the church (16:13-20).
M. First Prediction of Death and Resurrection and the Cost of Discipleship – As it cost Jesus to follow
the Father’s will, so it will cost His disciples to do the same (16:21-28). A disciple will follow the King to
victory through suffering and receive a great reward for it.
N. The Transfiguration – Disciples must maintain a vision of the King’s glorious identity and power and heed
His teaching (17:1-13). Jesus is God’s Son and we must listen to him.
O. The Demon-Possessed Boy – Disciples can only do the work of Jesus as the result of a dependent
faith in Him (17:14-21). When the elements of faith and contact with the Lord through prayer combine,
there is no limit to the works we can accomplish in following His will.
P. Second Prediction of Death and Resurrection and the Two Drachma Tax – Even though Jesus’ death
and resurrection exempts His disciples from obligations under the old covenant, disciples can give up
their privileges for the sake of not offending those they serve (17:22-27).
IX. Community Discourse: The Father esteems and protects each of His children even when they sin.
Likewise disciples must esteem and protect them with the same loving mercy (18).
A. The Father highly esteems the most humble of His children (1-4).
B. The Father will judge anyone who causes a child of His to sin (5-9).
C. Even when one of hHs children sins, the Father spares no effort to restore him (10-14).
D. Disciples must take seriously their role as the Father’s agents in pursuing His straying children and
seeking their restoration (15-20).
E. Disciples are obligated, because of the Father’s infinite mercy toward his children, to treat with
unconditional mercy fellow disciples who sin against them (21-35).
X. Rejection: The King journeys to Jerusalem to present Himself officially to the nation and is rejected (19–22).
A. The King gives instruction to the disciples on the way to Jerusalem (19–20).
1. The Marriage Commitment – Lifelong marital faithfulness is God’s intention, requiring his
disciples’ dependence on His supernatural strength (19:1-12).
2. The Blessing of Children – The kingdom of heaven belongs to those with the humble faith of a
3. The Rich Young Ruler – Kingdom entrance is impossible through human effort. Disciples believe
on the Lord Jesus for eternal life and sacrificially follow and serve the Lord for eternal rewards (19:16-30).
4. Laborers in the Vineyard – Disciples serve God faithfully and trust Him to give the proper
5. Third Prediction of Death and Resurrection – The King is the best example of humble service (20:17-19).
6. Correction of Misconception about Kingdom Greatness – Human efforts at earthly greatness
display ignorance and misunderstanding of kingdom greatness. Following Jesus’ example of humble
and sacrificial service is what leads to greatness in His kingdom. (20:20-28).
7. Two Blind Men – Jesus gives His attention to those who sincerely cry out to Him in their deep need
with importunity of faith (20:29-34).
B. The King officially presents himself to the nation (21:1-17).
1. The Triumphal Entry – The King enters His city with triumph and meekness (21:1-11). The King’s
first coming is in meekness to die. The King’s second coming will be in glory to judge and establish
2. The Cleansing of the Temple – The King reclaims His place of worship (21:12-13).
3. The Healing of the Lame and the Praise of the Children -- What had just been a den of robbers
now becomes a holy place where people have their prayers answered and give praise to God (21:14-17).
C. The nation rejects its King (21:18–22:46).
1. The Barren Fig Tree – A personal and abiding faith in Jesus is what makes the difference between
barren religiosity and fruitful spirituality (21:18-22). The cursing of the fig tree is a sign of the judgment
of Israel for rejecting its King.
2. An Authority Question – When unbelief calls the authority of the Son of God into question, the
best answer is a call to repent of the unbelief and believe (21:23-27). Jesus turned the table on this
first group of questioners comprised of the priests and elders of the people by putting before them
3. Parable of the Two Sons – In this parable Jesus illustrates that the great need was not for an answer
to an insincere question but for belief of John’s message (21:28-32).
4. Parable of the Landowner and the Wicked Tenants – Either Jesus is received as the cornerstone of
one’s life, or He becomes the crushing stone at the end of one’s life (21:33-46). Jesus, though rejected
by the Jewish leaders, will become the most valuable part of God’s plan and will judge those who
5. The Parable of the Wedding Feast – The parable illustrates the continual rejection of Jesus by the
Jewish nation and the resulting judgment. The invitation will now go to the Gentiles. Many among
the Gentiles will believe and enter the kingdom and those who prepare themselves with faithful
Christian living will reign with Christ (22:1-14).
6. Trick Questions -- Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees seek to trap Jesus with difficult questions
so as to find some charge against Him. Knowing their intentions, Jesus skillfully answers each one
and then follows with a question of His own concerning the identity of the Son of David. The answer
is that the Son of David is the Messiah and Son of God. No one answered Jesus nor was anyone
willing to question Him further. This is the last confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish
authorities until His arrest in Gethsemane. (22:15-46).