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Matthew 13

13
The Story of the Farmer Scattering Seed
1That same day Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea of Galilee. 2The crowds that gathered around him were so large that he got into a boat and sat down to teach, while all the people stood on the shore to listen. 3Then he taught them many things by telling them stories. He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4As he scattered it, some fell on a path and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some seed fell in rocky places where there wasn’t much soil. Those plants came up quickly because the soil wasn’t very deep. 6But when the sun got hot, it burned the plants and they dried up, because they had no roots. 7Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and crowded out the plants. 8But still other seed fell on good soil and produced a crop that was 100, 60, or 30 times more than what was planted. 9Whoever understands should take this to heart.”
10The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you tell stories when you speak to the people?”
11He answered, “Because they aren’t being given the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven the way you are. 12Whoever has this kind of knowledge will be given more, until they have a great deal of it. But if anyone lacks this kind of knowledge, even what little they have will be taken away from them. 13I tell stories when I speak to the people so that:
“They’ll look, but they won’t see.
They’ll listen, but they won’t hear or understand.
14These people are making the words of the prophet Isaiah come true.
“ ‘You’ll hear but never understand,
you’ll see but never know what you’re seeing.
15The hearts of these people have become stubborn.
They can barely hear with their ears
and they’ve closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts.
Then they might turn to the Lord, and he would heal them.’
16But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and blessed are your ears, because they hear. 17Truly I tell you, many prophets and godly people wanted to see what you’re seeing, but they didn’t see it, and they wanted to hear what you’re hearing, but they didn’t hear it.
18“Listen! Here’s what the story about the farmer means. 19When people hear the message about the kingdom, but they don’t understand it, the evil one comes and steals what was planted in their hearts. Those people are like the seed that landed on the path. 20The seed that fell on rocky places stands for other people who hear the message and receive it right away with joy. 21But because they have no roots, they last only a short time. When trouble or suffering comes because of the message, they quickly fall away from the faith. 22The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear the message but then have it crowded out by the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth, which keep it from producing fruit. 23But the seed that fell on good soil stands for those who hear the message and understand what it means. They produce a crop that’s 100, 60, or 30 times more than what was planted.”
The Story of the Weeds
24Jesus told the crowd another story. He said, “Here’s what the kingdom of heaven is like. A man planted good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came, planted weeds among the wheat, and then slipped away. 26The wheat began to grow and form grain, but at the same time, weeds appeared.
27“The owner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then where did these weeds come from?’
28“ ‘An enemy must have done it,’ he replied.
“The slaves asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’
29“ ‘No,’ the owner answered, ‘because while you’re pulling up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat too. Let them both grow together until the harvest. 30Then I’ll tell the workers, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned. Then gather the wheat and put it in my barn.” ’ ”
The Stories of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31Jesus told the crowd another story. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in a field. 32It’s the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows, it becomes the largest of all garden plants. It turns into a tree, and birds come and rest in its branches.”
33Jesus told them one more story. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast,” he said. “A woman mixed it into 60 pounds of flour, and the yeast worked its way through all of that dough.”
34Jesus taught the crowd all these things by telling stories. He didn’t say anything to them without using a story. 35So the words spoken by the prophet came true:
“I will open my mouth and tell stories.
I’ll speak about things that have been hidden since the world was created.”
Jesus Explains the Story of the Weeds
36Then Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and asked, “Please explain the story of the weeds in the field to us.”
37He replied, “The one who planted the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people who belong to the kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one, 39and the enemy who plants them is the devil. The harvest is the judgment day and the workers are angels.
40“The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. That’s how it will be on judgment day. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and everyone who does wrong. 42They’ll throw them into the blazing furnace, where people will weep and grind their teeth. 43Then God’s people will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Whoever understands should take this to heart.
The Stories of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure that was hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then he went and gladly sold everything he had to buy that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who was looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one that was very valuable, he went away and sold everything he had so he could buy that pearl.
The Story of the Net
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake. It caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up onto the shore. Then they sat down and gathered the good fish into baskets, but they threw the bad fish away. 49That’s how it will be on judgment day. The angels will come and separate the people who did wrong from those who did right. 50They will throw the bad people into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and grind their teeth.
51“Do you understand all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52He said to them, “Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings new treasures out of his storeroom along with the old ones.”
A Prophet Without Honor
53When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he moved on from there. 54He came to his hometown of Nazareth and began teaching the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and they asked, “Where did this man get so much wisdom? Where did he get the power to do miracles? 55Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us too? Then where did this man get all these things?” 57And they couldn’t believe in Jesus because they were stuck on these questions.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own town and in his own home.”
58He didn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because the people there had so little faith.
13
A story about a farmer
(Mark 4.1-9; Luke 8.4-8)
1That same day Jesus left the house and went out beside Lake Galilee, where he sat down to teach.#13.1 sat down to teach: Teachers in the ancient world, including Jewish teachers, usually sat down when they taught. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to sit in a boat, while the people stood on the shore.#Lk 5.1-3. 3Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:
A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. 4While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. 5Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn't very deep. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. 7Some other seeds fell where thorn bushes grew up and choked the plants. 8But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. 9If you have ears, pay attention!
Why Jesus used stories
(Mark 4.10-12; Luke 8.9,10)
10Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you use nothing but stories when you speak to the people?”
11Jesus answered:
I have explained the secrets about the kingdom of heaven to you, but not to others. 12Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don't have anything will lose even what little they have.#Mt 25.29; Mk 4.25; Lk 8.18; 19.26. 13I use stories when I speak to them because when they look, they cannot see, and when they listen, they cannot hear or understand. 14So God's promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,#Is 6.9,10 (LXX).
“These people will listen
and listen,
but never understand.
They will look and look,
but never see.
15All of them have
stubborn minds!
Their ears are stopped up,
and their eyes are covered.
They cannot see or hear
or understand.
If they could,
they would turn to me,
and I would heal them.”
16But God has blessed you, because your eyes can see and your ears can hear!#Lk 10.23,24. 17Many prophets and good people were eager to see what you see and to hear what you hear. But I tell you that they did not see or hear.
Jesus explains the story about the farmer
(Mark 4.13-20; Luke 8.11-15)
18Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:
19The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. 20The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it straight away. 21But they don't have deep roots, and they don't last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.
22The seeds that fell among the thorn bushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 23The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.
Weeds among the wheat
24Jesus then told them this story:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a farmer scattered good seed in a field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and scattered weeds in the field and then left.
26When the plants came up and began to ripen, the farmer's servants could see the weeds. 27The servants came and asked, “Sir, didn't you scatter good seed in your field? Where did these weeds come from?”
28“An enemy did this,” he replied.
His servants then asked, “Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?”
29“No!” he answered. “You might also pull up the wheat. 30Leave the weeds alone until harvest time. Then I'll tell my workers to gather the weeds and tie them up and burn them. But I'll order them to store the wheat in my barn.”
Stories about a mustard seed and yeast
(Mark 4.30-32; Luke 13.18-21)
31Jesus told them another story:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. 32Although it is the smallest of all seeds, it grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches.
33Jesus also said:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a woman mixes a little yeast into three big batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.
The reason for teaching with stories
(Mark 4.33,34)
34Jesus used stories when he spoke to the people. In fact, he did not tell them anything without using stories. 35So God's promise came true, just as the prophet#13.35 the prophet: Some manuscripts have “the prophet Isaiah”. had said,#Ps 78.2.
“I will use stories
to speak my message
and to explain things
that have been hidden
since the creation
of the world.”
Jesus explains the story about the weeds
36After Jesus left the crowd and went inside,#13.36 went inside: Or “went home”. his disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the story about the weeds in the wheat field.”
37Jesus answered:
The one who scattered the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seeds are the people who belong to the kingdom. The weeds are those who belong to the evil one, 39and the one who scattered them is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and angels are the ones who bring in the harvest.
40Weeds are gathered and burnt. That's how it will be at the end of time. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everyone who does wrong or causes others to sin. 42Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 43But everyone who has done right will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. If you have ears, pay attention!
A hidden treasure
Jesus continued:
44The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field.
A valuable pearl
Jesus continued:
45The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. 46After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.
A fish net
Jesus continued:
47The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. 48When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away. 49That's how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. 50Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.
New and old treasures
51Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, “Yes, we do.”
52So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
The people of Nazareth turn against Jesus
(Mark 6.1-6; Luke 4.16-30)
53When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left 54and went to his home town. He taught in their meeting place, and the people were so amazed that they asked, “Where does he get all this wisdom and the power to perform these miracles? 55Isn't he the son of the carpenter? Isn't Mary his mother, and aren't James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56Don't his sisters still live here in our town? How can he do all this?” 57So the people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.
But Jesus said, “Prophets are honoured by everyone, except the people of their home town and their own family.” 58And because the people did not have any faith, Jesus did not perform many miracles there.