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.