The first parable is an ideal one with which to begin, since it deals with the beginning or origins of the Kingdom. Here it is compared to a farmer sowing seed. “A farmer went out to sow his seed” (Matthew 13). Not all of Christ’s parables are explained. In fact, most are not. But this one is, and the explanation Jesus gives is our starting point. The seed is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the soil is the human heart. The emphasis is on the various kinds of hearts and how they reject or receive Christ’s message.
Although Jesus was much more than a storyteller, He was at least that, and as a result, the people of His day flocked to Him and listened to Him gladly.
Recent discussions in Matthew 12 provide good, strong evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity. It shows the accuracy of the Bible, the divine self-awareness and prophetic knowledge of Jesus, and most of all perhaps, the importance of the resurrection as a verification of Christ’s claims. The sign of Jonah is still the greatest of all signs.
The Pharisees must have been smarting from their verbal defeat by Jesus. Jesus had shown that their evil explanation of His miracles – that He was casting out demons by the power of Satan – was both absurd and contradictory. His arguments should have moved them to reconsider their position, but they did not, of course. They hated Jesus, so rather than altering their views, they merely came at Hm from another direction, demanding a miraculous sign.
His steadfast love, His covenantal, loyal, merciful love, His committed love, His complete forgiveness of all our sins is so staggering and so vast that it can only be explained by two illustrations of infinity. These are the most perfect illustrations you could find in human language, which isn’t surprising since the Holy Spirit is the Author.
This has been very good preaching, and since it has been directed at the Pharisees and their particular sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, we are tempted to lean back and merely urge Jesus on. “Preach it, brother!” we might say. But Jesus’ words are not only sobering for the Pharisees and any others who may have sinned in a particularly grievous way. They are sobering for us too, since in the last verses of this section Jesus speaks to people exactly like us.