The Parables in Matthew Explained with Scripture & Commentary


The editors at Lord’s Library created this list of the parables in Matthew explained with scripture and commentary.

The Gospel of Matthew is compared to the Pentateuch or Moses’ five Biblical books since it is divided into five parts and instructs on Jesus’ teachings. This is a synoptic gospel, one of the three synoptic gospels, including Mark and Luke. Matthew is a Jew who was known as Levi when called by Christ. He was a tax collector, one of the most despised professions at that period for Jews.

Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Because he began recording the book in the lineage of Jesus’ ancestors, it was written for the church in Israel. Matthew instructed them on how to live a godly life and encouraged them to be steadfast in their beliefs during persecution. In the end, one of the high points of this book is Jesus’ famous “Great Commission” to go and make disciples of all nations.

The book of Matthew is the first Gospel of the New Testament, which highlights Jesus’ life and ministry. Matthew discusses the good news of Christ, and what it means to be a part of his Kingdom of Heaven. And given that this book includes 24 Parables of Jesus Christ in total it’s important to have the parables in Matthew explained.

There are 12 unique Parables in Matthew, including the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat, the Parable of the Householder, the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, the Parable of the Net, the Parable of the Heart of Man, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, the Parable of the Two Sons, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Ten Talents, and the Parable of the Growing Seed.

The most searched-for parables in Matthew are the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Talents, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and the Parable of the Mustard seed. Lord’s Library has articles on the Parables in Mark’s Gospel and Parables in Luke listed for further reading as well.

Parables in Matthew List in Order

Parables in Matthew List in Order

Note: This resource features a list of the parables in Matthew in the order in which they appear in the Bible.

The Gospel

Parables in Matthew Explained

The Parable of the Lamp

Also known as the Parable of the Lamp on a Stand, the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids

In the Parable of the Lamp, Jesus teaches the importance of living their faith on their sleeve. He calls his followers “the light of the world.” Believers are to reflect the love of Christ, illuminating the fallen world with the light of God.

Jesus uses a common household item, a lamp, as a metaphor to resonate with His audience. He reminds them that none of them hide a lamp under a bowl. Instead, they are instructed to leave it uncovered so light illuminates the house. In the same way, He calls believers to shine and show the world His love.

The Parable of the Lamp can be found in Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 4:21-25, and Luke 8:16-18:

  • Matthew 5:14-16: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

The Parable of the Speck and the Log

The core message of this parable is simple: Christians are not to judge others. Jesus reminds us that we will be judged in the same manner we judge others. His message here is timeless: who of us is without fault enough to judge others?

We are all sinful as human nature has been corrupted by sin. Jesus reminds His audience of this through this parable. Instead of judging others, Jesus calls us to recognize our own sins and repent of them.

The Parable of the Speck and the Log can be found in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42:

  • Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders comes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount from Matthew, and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke. This parable sees Jesus use an aid, the “solid rock”, as being incomparable to devotion to Christ. As such, one should build their spiritual “foundation” on salvation to Christ, and not to this world.

It’s an effective parable because as humans we see solid rock as a strong foundation on which to build. Christ shatters the notion that even the earth’s hardest framing material doesn’t belong in the same conversation. The narrative structures for the appearance of this parable in the Bible differ slightly. Also, this parable is the theme for the popular hymn “Build on the Rock.”

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders can be found in Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49:

  • Matthew 7:24-27: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

The Parable of New Cloth on an Old Garment

Also known as the Parable of New Cloth on an Old Garment, the Parable of New Wine in Old Wineskins

In this parable, Jesus gives two illustrations: sewing a new piece of cloth on an old, damaged garment and pouring new wine into old wineskins. In both illustrations, the message is the same. If one is to embrace a new life of faith in Christ, they have to leave their old life behind.

Jesus is teaching us that if we simply patch faith into our old life, that it will not be compatible. What we live out will not be a genuine expression of faith. The garment will tear and the wineskins will burst. To truly live out the faith, it’s crucial that one embrace a new identity in Christ.

The Parable of the New Cloth on an Old Garment can be found in Matthew 9:16-17, Mark 2:21-22, and Luke 5:33-39:

  • Matthew 9:16-17: “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

The Parable of the Divided Kingdom

Jesus performed many miracles, including the driving out of demons. Looking to denounce His works, the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of demons! This leads Jesus to deliver a parable to counter their outrageous claims.

The parable is of a divided Kingdom that can no longer stand because of its division. Jesus explains that if Satan and his forces of evil fight amongst themselves that they will only weaken themselves. Jesus continues to explain that by casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived. This parable thus confirms Satan’s grip on our world but also the breaking in of the Kingdom of God to drive Him out and reclaim God’s children.

The Parable of the Divided Kingdom can be found in Matthew 12:24-30 and Mark 3:23-27:

  • Mathew 12:24-30: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

The Parable of the Sower

Also known as the Parable of the Soil

In this parable, Jesus tells the story of a farmer planting seeds. Some of the seed falls on a path and is eaten by birds. Other seeds fell in rocky places where there was not enough soil to nourish and give them roots. The rest of the seed fell on good soil where it prospered and provided a bountiful crop!

This parable describes how the receiving of the Gospel blooms in the lives of different people. Some will hear the message of the Gospel but not understand it. Before it can take root, evil snatches it away. Then there are those who reacted positively to the message but don’t keep with it because it has not taken root in their heart. There are those who develop strong roots in the Gospel and it blooms into a massive crop within their hearts as well.

The Parable of the Sower can be found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15:

  • Matthew: 13:1-23: “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired 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. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat

Also known as the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, the Parable of the Weeds, the Parable of the Weeds Among Good Plants, the Parable of the Tares in the Field

This parable tells the story of a farmer planting wheat. When he is sleeping, an enemy of his comes and plants weeds among the crop. The farmer’s servants ask if he wants them to pull the weeds, to which he replies not to. He says if they do, they run the risk of pulling up the wheat with the weeds. Instead, he chooses to let them grow together until the harvest when the weeds can be collected and burned without harming the wheat harvest.

This parable serves as an allegory to the current state of the world. God lets the righteous live among unbelievers until the time of Jesus’ return. At that time, Jesus will separate God’s children from those who have rejected Him. The righteous will come with Him to eternity while the others will be uprooted and live in eternal separation from God.

The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat can be found in Matthew 13:24-30:

  • Matthew 13:24-30: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. Though it is the smallest among all seeds, it grows to become a large tree that houses families of birds. In the same way, the Gospel starts as a small seed within the heart and blooms into a life-giving and transformative catalyst in the lives of many.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed can be found in Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-34, and Luke 13:18-21:

  • Matthew 13:31-32: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

The Parable of the Leaven

In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to yeast baked into bread. Just as a little bit of yeast spreads throughout a large amount of dough, so too does the Gospel spread through human hearts, changing the world one person at a time. The Kingdom of Heaven is built through the spread of the Gospel.

The Parable of the Leaven can be found in Matthew 13:33-34 and Luke 13:20-23:

  • Matthew 13:33-34: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:”

The Parable of the Householder

Also known as the Parable of the Homeowner, the Parable of the Scribe

In this parable, Jesus is asking His disciples if they’ve understood the things He was telling them. This came after Christ explained several other parables to them just before. It is once they give an affirmation of “Yea, Lord” that Jesus shares one short, additional parable.

By asking the disciples if they have understood “all these things”, Christ is connecting all the previous parables from Matthew together. This was an impressive feat considering the depth of the storytelling and lesson explanation Jesus provided.

The Parable of the Sower can be found in Matthew 13:51-53:

  • Matthew 13:51-53: “Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.”

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

In another parable comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to something else, Jesus compares it to treasure hidden in a field in a place where only he would know where it was. Then, he sold all his possessions so he could buy that field and claim the treasure as his own.

In this parable, Jesus is teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is the most valuable thing one could ever attain in this life. It is worth leaving everything else behind to follow it. One should treasure nothing more than the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure can be found in Matthew 13:44:

  • Matthew 13:44: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

Also known as the Parable of the Valuable Pearl

In another comparative parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to an expensive pearl. When a merchant finds this great pearl, he sells all he has to attain it. Again, this parable is meant to teach the otherworldly value of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price can be found in Matthew 13:45-46:

  • Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

The Parable of the Net

Also known as the Parable of the Fishing Net

In the Parable of the Net, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a net used for fishing. Fishing was a common occupation at this time, so everyone was familiar with how it was done. When the fisherman brought their nets in, they separated the good fish into baskets but threw the bad ones away.

Jesus explains that this is how it will be at the final judgment. The wicked will be separated from the righteous on that day. The righteous will come to eternity with God while unbelievers experience eternal damnation.

The Parable of the Net can be found in Matthew 13:47-50:

  • Matthew 13:47-50: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

The Parable of the Heart of Man

In this parable, Jesus explains how it’s not what goes into our mouth that defiles us, but rather what comes out of it. In Jesus’ time, the reputation of the Pharisees held much weight among the people. They were known for their teaching, strict adherence to the law, and acts of piousness. Part of that adherence to the law was following a very strict set of eating habits to remain undefiled.

Jesus is combating hypocrisy here, saying that their extreme acts of piousness do not make them righteous because the false teachings they were spreading defiled them. Jesus is teaching that one must be careful with their words, spreading only correct doctrine. Editor’s note: Doctrine matters! Knowing and speaking the truth of God’s Word correctly is much more important than extreme acts of religious sacrifice.

The Parable of the Heart of Man can be found in Matthew 15:10-20:

  • Matthew 15:10-20: “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Also known as the Parable of the Wandering Sheep

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is one of the most famous in the entire Bible. It tells the story of a shepherd with 100 sheep. One of the sheep wanders off. Then, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep behind to look for the single lost sheep.

Jesus tells us that the shepherd is happier about finding the one lost sheep than about the 99 that didn’t wander off. This is parallel to the joy of God when a single lost person returns to Him in faith. The righteous endure the struggles of this life so as many as possible can come to repentance before the day of the final judgment.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep can be found in Matthew 18:10-14 and Luke 15:1-7:

  • Matthew 18:10-14: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Also known as the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, the Parable of the King and His Servant

In this parable, Jesus tells the story of a king who wished to settle the accounts of his servants; the king generously forgave a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. Then that same servant who was forgiven went to collect a debt that another owed him. The person couldn’t pay up. Instead of practicing forgiveness as it was shown to him, he had the debtor thrown in prison until he could pay him back.

Jesus explains at the end of this parable that this is how we will be dealt with at the final judgment. We will be forgiven if we forgive others genuinely and lovingly. But if we refuse to, like the wicked servant, we will not be forgiven and face judgment.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant can be found in Matthew 18:23-35:

  • Matthew 18:23-35: “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou lowest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

Also known as the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

This parable tells the story of a landowner who hired laborers to work in his vineyard. People came throughout the day, all starting work at a different time but ending the work together. Even though some people worked longer, they all got paid the same. This caused outrage from those who had worked the longest amount of time, as they thought they should be paid more than the people who worked less.

This story parallels how some feel about salvation. Those who have been faithful their whole lives can often find resentment in their hearts over those who have led a mostly sinful life only to accept grace through faith later in life. But we all reap the same rewards in Christ, and we should be happy for those who come to faith at any point in life.

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard can be found in Matthew 20:1-16:

  • Matthew 20:1-16: “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

The Parable of the Two Sons

Here Jesus tells the story of a father who had two sons. He asked both to go work in their vineyard. The first told him no but later changed his mind and decided to obey his father. The second said he would but never went. Jesus points out that the first son was the one who actually ended up listening to his father.

Jesus then tells those not truly walking in the faith that the tax collectors and prostitutes who came to believe the Gospel would enter the Kingdom of God ahead of them. Why? Because they believed the message of the Gospel with all their hearts genuinely. The others simply practiced religious sacrifice without their hearts truly in the right place.

The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28-32:

  • Matthew 21:28-32: “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”

The Parable of the Tenants

Also known as the Parable of the Tenant Farmers, the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, the Parable of the Wicked Husbandman, the Parable of the Landowner

The Parable of the Tenants is one Jesus used to show the Pharisees their sin, but one that also teaches an important lesson today. In it, a landowner plants a vineyard and rents it to tenant farmers to take care of. When he sends people to collect the fruit, the tenant farmers kill them. The landowner sends his son, thinking they’ll respect him, but they kill him as well. Then the landowner comes and puts an end to them, giving the farm to other tenants.

Jesus tells the Pharisees this is what will happen to them. They didn’t believe the prophets God sent and they killed them. Now, they were about to kill God’s very Son. Thus, God would take away their status as His chosen people and share it with the Gentiles as well. For us, we must ensure that we do not walk the path of the Pharisees ourselves, but rather live life in a genuine and heartfelt relationship with God.

The Parable of the Tenants can be found in Matthew 21:35-45, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-18:

  • Matthew 21:33-45: “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Also known as the Parable of the Great Banquet, the Parable of the Marriage Feast, the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the Parable of the Great Supper, the Parable of the Invitation to a Wedding Banquet

In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet thrown by a king for his son. The king sends out servants to tell the invited guests to come, but they refuse. So instead, the king sends his servants back out to invite everyone off the streets to the banquet, which ended up being filled with guests.

This parable speaks to God’s relationship with His chosen people, the Jews, and His bringing in of the Gentiles. Many of the Jews rejected God, His true message, and His prophets. In light of this, God extended the truth of the Gospel to the Gentiles as well. Now, anyone who accepts the free gift of salvation offered by Christ can come into the faith.

The Parable of the Great Banquet can be found in Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:16-24:

  • Matthew 22:1-14: “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Parable of the Budding Fig Tee

Also known as the Parable of the Fig Tree, the Parable of Signs of the Future from a Fig Tree

Here, Jesus speaks of a budding fig tree. He says when the twigs are tender and the leaves come out, you understand that summer is near. In the same way, when the signs of the times appear, you will know that His return is coming soon. This parable reminds one to keep their eyes and ears open to the world around us so we can be prepared for Christ’s return.

The Parable of the Budding Fig Tree can be found in Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-33, and Luke 21:29-31:

  • Matthew 24:32-35: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant

Also known as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Servants, the Parable of the Watchful Servants

In this parable, Jesus speaks of a master who goes away and leaves his servant in charge of his household. The wise servant feeds everyone at the proper time and takes care of the matters of the house. But the wicked servant uses his freedom to abuse his power and mistreat the other people of the house. When the master comes back, this wicked servant will face judgment!

Jesus is showing us what will happen to those who don’t follow His teachings during this time He is away. If we neglect all that He has taught us while He is gone, we will be in serious trouble when He returns! And He will come back at a time we do not expect, so we best be ready at every moment.

The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant can be found in Matthew 24:45-51, Mark 13:34-37, and Luke 12:35-48:

  • Matthew 24:45-51: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Also known as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

This parable likens the Kingdom of Heaven to ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom, taking their lamps with them. The wise ones brought oil for their lamps, while the foolish ones did not. When the bridegroom arrived, the wise ones were ready to go out to meet him. The foolish ones were not because they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps.

Jesus is teaching through this parable that we must be prepared for His return. The wise virgins are the ones who had been prepared in every way for His coming. The foolish ones were the ones who were not. We must be ready for His return or we will not be ready to go out and meet Him, getting left behind instead.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins can be found in Matthew 25:1-13:

  • Matthew 25:1-13: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. nd five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

The Parable of the Ten Talents

Also known as the Parable of the Talents, the Parable of the Three Servants Given Talents

In the parable of the ten talents, a man goes on a journey, entrusting his wealth to his servants. He gives them different amounts according to their abilities. Two of the servants doubled what they had been given. The other simply buried the money in the ground, hiding it away until his master’s return.

When the master returns, he praises the two who doubled their share. But the one who simply hid it away was punished and cast out, for he squandered what he was given. This parable teaches that everything is a stewardship from God that we’ve been entrusted with. One must develop the skills and resources He has provided. If one doesn’t, they dishonor God.

The Parable of the Ten Talents can be found in Matthew 25:14-30:

  • Matthew 25:14-30: “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Final Thoughts

The parables in Matthew are prevalent in the book’s third and fifth narratives and discourse. In the third discourse, one reads a set of parables that highlight the sovereignty of God and a challenge to the disciples to understand teachings on the Kingdom of Heaven as scribes. Narrative five then brings additional parables about the Kingdom of God and the shortcomings of the Pharisees.

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Timothy Andrew
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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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