EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
13:44-52 Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net ... - This parable does not differ in meaning from that of the tares. The gospel is compared to a net dragging along on the bottom of a lake, and collecting all - good and bad. The gospel may be expected to do the same; but in the end of the world, when the net "is drawn in," the bad will be separated from the good; the one will be cast away, and the other saved. Our Saviour never fails to keep before our minds the great truth that there is to be a day of judgment, and that there will be a separation of the good and the evil. He came to preach salvation; and it is a remarkable fact, also, that the most fearful accounts of hell and of the sufferings of the damned, in the Scriptures, are from his lips. How does this agree with the representations of those who say that all will be saved?
49. So shall it be at the end of the world, &c.—(See on Mt 13:42). We have said that each of these two parables holds forth the same truth under a slight diversity of aspect. What is that diversity? First, the bad, in the former parable, are represented as vile seed sown among the wheat by the enemy of souls; in the latter, as foul fish drawn forth out of the great sea of human beings by the Gospel net itself. Both are important truths—that the Gospel draws within its pale, and into the communion of the visible Church, multitudes who are Christians only in name; and that the injury thus done to the Church on earth is to be traced to the wicked one. But further, while the former parable gives chief prominence to the present mixture of good and bad, in the latter, the prominence is given to the future separation of the two classes.
Ver. 47-50. The scope of this parable is much the same with that of the tares, to teach us, that while the church is in this world there will be in it a mixture of good and bad, a perfect separation of which one from another is not to be expected until the day of judgment.
Again, the kingdom of heaven.
This term signifieth the whole dispensation and administration of the gospel, both the grace dispensed in it, and the means of that grace which is administered under it. I should here interpret it of the preaching of the gospel, which is called
the word of the kingdom,
being the means by which men are gathered in both to the church visible and invisible. This our Lord here compares to
into the sea
of the world, and gathering in of every kind, bringing in many to an outward profession, all of which shall not come to the kingdom of glory, nor are indeed true members of Christ; not members of the church invisible, though they be members of the church visible. When the end of the world shall come, and Christ shall have accomplished his design in the world, then a day of judgment shall come, and there shall be a perfect separation between such as received the gospel in truth, and in the love of it, and others: the former shall be taken to heaven, and the latter thrown into hell; which he expresses by the like phrases which he had before used in the parable of the tares, which need no further explication.
And shall cast them into the furnace of fire,.... See Gill on Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.