|IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 1, Number 25, August 16 to August 22, 1999|
The parable itself is separated from the explanation, the latter being reserved until Jesus and the disciples are away from the crowds, v. 36. It will be convenient to take the two sections together.
This is self-evidently a companion to the parable of the weeds. Here, as there, (1) the worldwide outreach of the kingdom is in view (on the "sea" as the world, see Gundry 279), (2) the church is represented as a mixed company (the angels "separate the wicked from [ek mesou] the righteous"), and (3) the accent is upon the separation at the end (a separation based on discerning existing conditions).IX. THE CHRISTIAN SCRIBE. 13:51-52.
Verse 52 refers initially to Matthew himself (see the INTRODUCTION). It also refers, by extension, to true disciples generally who at this juncture of their education are able to produce treasures old (what they knew before these parables) and new (what they know now, since Jesus has both told and explained the parables). Cf. Gundry 281-82.X. UNBELIEF AT NAZARETH. 13:53-58.
In emphasizing this (especially v. 58; on differences from Mk 6:5-6, cf. Gundry 284), Matthew provides a fitting climax to the chapter, which has stressed the disciples' understanding versus the crowds' lack of understanding (the Nazarenes strikingly illustrate the latter). As persons impressed by Jesus' wisdom and miraculous powers (v. 54), but who persist in asking about their source (vv. 54, 56) and in "taking offense at him" (v. 57), they come close to adopting the stance of the Pharisees stated in 12:24.