Matthew 13:20
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
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(20) Anon with joy receiveth it.—The second type of character stands in marked contrast with the first. Rapid change, strong emotion, a quicker show of conversion than in the case where it is more real.—such results, it need hardly be said, come under the notice of every earnest preacher. In proportion to the tendency of any system—such as the revivalist meetings of one school, the mission services of another—to cause excitement, are those results likely to be frequent.

Matthew 13:20-21. He that received the seed into stony, rather, rocky, places — Where the bed of earth was very shallow, is he that heareth the word — Hears it with attention, and in a spirit of prayer, sincerely desiring that the eyes of his understanding may be opened; nay, and understands what he hears, and even seriously considers it afterward. For he is said, Luke 8:13, to believe for a while, and here to receive it with joy; being struck, doubtless, with the beauty of the truth, and drawn by the preventing grace of God. Yet hath he not root in himself — No deep work of grace in his soul; no real change in the ground of his heart. He is not truly regenerated and made a new creature in Christ. The consequence is, he only endureth for a while — Continues to profess an attachment to the truth, as long as the truth is held in esteem, and proceeds on, apparently, in the way of the kingdom, while the way is smooth, and no stumbling-block, or difficulty, occurs therein. But when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word — When the truth and its professors are exposed to reproach and infamy, and the disciples of Jesus are called to drink of his cup of suffering, by and by, Greek ευθυς, immediately, he is offended, σκανδαλιζεται, he is stumbled. He finds a thousand pretences for leaving so narrow and rugged a way. Luke has it, εν καιρω πειρασμου αφιστανται, In time of temptation, or trial, they fall off, namely, as blossoms from the trees, through a frost in the spring. It has been observed above, that the warmth of the sun’s beams will rather promote than hinder the growth of the corn, if it hath sufficient depth of earth, wherein to take root, and sufficient moisture; in like manner, if a deep work of grace be wrought in a man’s heart, and he be really born from above, tribulation, persecution, and other trials and temptations will be so far from destroying his piety, or even obstructing the growth of grace in his soul, that they will rather promote it, and though not joyous but grievous while they continue, yet will afterward yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness, to those that are exercised thereby; and will tend to perfect their faith and patience, and other graces, and prepare them for heaven, as hot weather before the harvest ripens the corn, when full in the ear, for the sickle.

13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.But he that received the seed into stony places - Jesus explains this as denoting those who hear the gospel; who are caught with it as something new or pleasing; who profess to be greatly delighted with it, and who are full of zeal for it.

Yet they have no root in themselves. They are not true Christians. Their hearts are not changed. They have not seen their guilt and danger, and the true excellency of Christ. They are not "really" attached to the gospel; and when they are tried and persecution comes, they fall - as the rootless grain withers before the scorching rays of the noonday sun.

Anon - "Quickly," or "readily."

With joy receiveth it - They are under deep distress for sin; they are apprehensive of danger; they hear the offer of mercy, and they seem to themselves to embrace the gospel. It offers them peace, pardon, salvation, and religion assumes for a time a lovely aspect. They imagine that they are pardoned, and they have a temporary peace and joy. Their anxieties subside. Their fears are gone. They are for a time happy. "The mere subsiding of anxious feeling from any cause will make the mind for a time happy." They have only to imagine, therefore, that their sins are forgiven, to produce a certain kind of peace and joy. But there is no ground of permanent joy, as there is in true pardon, and soon their joy subsides, and all evidence of piety disappears. There is no strength of principle to resist temptation; there is no real love of the Saviour; and in times of trial and persecution they show that they have no true religion, and fall away.

By and by - Mark, "Immediately." That is, it soon occurs, or this is an effect which may be expected soon to follow.

Is offended - Stumbles or falls, for this is the meaning of the word "offend" in the New Testament. See the notes at Matthew 5:29. Persecution and trial are placed in his path, and he falls as he would over a "stumbling-block." He has no strength of principle - no real confidence in God - no true religion. Mere excited animal feeling is all that he ever had, and that is not sufficient to sustain him when the trial comes.

17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired—rather, "coveted."

to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them—Not only were the disciples blessed above the blinded just spoken of, but favored above the most honored and the best that lived under the old economy, who had but glimpses of the things of the new kingdom, just sufficient to kindle in them desires not to be fulfilled to any in their day. In Lu 10:23, 24, where the same saying is repeated on the return of the Seventy—the words, instead of "many prophets and righteous men," are "many prophets and kings"; for several of the Old Testament saints were kings.

Second and Seventh Parables or First Pair:

The Wheat and the Tares, and The Good and Bad Fish (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50).

The subject of both these parables—which teach the same truth, with a slight diversity of aspect—is:

The MIXED CHARACTER OF THE Kingdom in Its Present State, and the FINAL ABSOLUTE SEPARATION OF THE Two Classes.

The Tares and the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43).

See Poole on "Matthew 13:21".

But he that receiveth the seed into stony places,.... Such a hearer, who is like to the stony ground on which the seed fell, is one that is not an accidental hearer of the word, as the former, but a settled constant hearer of it; and not one that is careless and negligent, but diligent and attentive, and has some understanding of what he hears;

the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: he is one that not only constantly attends upon it, but he receives it; he gives an assent to it, he believes in it historically, makes a profession of his faith in it, and holds it for a while, being under some convictions of the truth of it: and having some speculative notions of it, and light in his understanding and judgment in it, he has some flashes of natural affection for it, and delivers some outward expressions of pleasure and delight in it, like Herod, and the hearers of John the Baptist; but has no heart work, and so is like to the rock in stony ground; the natural hardness of his heart continues, it remains unbroken by the word, without any true sense of sin, and repentance for it, and destitute of spiritual life, and of true faith, love, and joy: hence, as his profession is taken up in haste, immediately, upon a flash of affection, and a little head knowledge, it does not last long, nor prove honourable.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Matthew 13:20. μετὰ χαρᾶς λ.: this is the new feature in the second type added to the hearing of the first; hearing and receiving with joy characteristic of quick emotional shallow natures, but not of them only. Deep earnest natures also have joy in truth found, but with a difference.

20. anon] = immediately; the same Greek word is translated by and by in the next verse. Cp. “Then I will come to my mother by and by.” Shaksp. Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 2.

Matthew 13:20. Ὁ δὲ, κ.τ.λ., but he, etc.) In every individual soul one distinguishing characteristic is especially conspicuous.—εὐθὺς, immediately) Too great haste and joyfulness is not always the best sign, when the whole strength pours itself forth in outward demonstrations, and consumes itself in them.—μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων, with joy receiving) see Galatians 4:14-15.

Verse 20. - And anon; and straightway (Revised Version, καὶ εὐθύς). Matthew 13:20
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