Matthew 13

Jesus tells a story about a farmer who planted seeds

1 On that same day, Jesus left the house and he went to Lake Galilee. He sat down near the edge of the lake to teach people. 2 The crowd that came to listen to him was very large. So he went and sat in a boat that was on the water. The big crowd of people stood on the shore. 3 Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He said to them: ‘Listen to me! A farmer went out to plant seeds in his field. 4 While he was throwing the seeds, some of them fell on the path. The birds came and they ate those seeds. 5 Other seeds fell on ground which had rocks. There was not much soil in that place. The seeds quickly began to grow, because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, it burned the young plants. They soon died because they had not grown down well into the soil. 7 Some other seeds fell among thorn bushes. Those bushes grew up with the young plants. They stopped the seeds from growing into strong plants. 8 But some seeds fell on good soil and strong plants grew from those seeds. Some plants made 100 new seeds. Some plants made 60 new seeds and some plants made 30 new seeds.’ 9 Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’

Jesus explains to his disciples why he teaches with stories

10 Then Jesus' disciples came to him. They asked him, ‘Why do you use stories to speak to the crowd?’

11 Jesus replied, ‘God has let you know what these stories mean. You understand how God rules in the lives of his people. But these other people do not understand what the stories mean. 12 A person who has received some things will receive even more. He will have lots of good things. Some other people have nothing. Those people will lose even the little bit that they do have. 13 The reason I use stories to talk to other people is this:

These people look. But they do not really see clearly.

They hear the words. But they do not really understand.

13:13Jesus is telling his disciples about how to listen to him. They must listen well to what he says. Then they will understand him. They must believe in the message from God. Then they will understand more and more. Some people think that they know all about God. These people do not listen well to him. So they do not understand what he says. God will take away from them what they think that they know.

14 Long ago, the prophet Isaiah spoke a message from God about those people. Now it has become true. God said:

13:14See Isaiah 6:9.

“You will listen and listen. But you will not understand.

You will look and look. But you will not see anything.

15 These people do not really want to understand.

They are like people who have shut their ears.

They are like people who have shut their eyes.

If they did want to look, then they would really see.

If they did want to listen, then they would really hear.

They would understand my message.

They would turn back to obey me.

Then I would forgive them and I would make them well.” ’

16 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘But as for you, be happy because God has helped you to see. He has helped you to hear and understand his message. 17 I tell you this: Many prophets and good people from a long time ago wanted to see these things. But they did not see the things that you are seeing. They wanted to hear the message that you are hearing. But they did not hear it.’

Jesus explains the story about the farmer who planted his seeds

18 Jesus then said, ‘Listen to me now. I will tell you what this story about the farmer means. 19 Some people hear the message about God's kingdom but they do not understand it. Satan comes and he quickly takes the message away from their minds. The seeds that fell on the path show what those people are like. 20 Other seeds fell on soil with rocks in it. This is like some people who hear God's message. These people are happy to believe it for a time. 21 But they are like plants that have not grown down well into the soil. So they only believe for a short time. They may have problems. Or other people may do bad things to them, because they obey God's message. When that happens, these people soon stop believing. 22 Some seeds fell among thorn bushes. This is like people who hear the message from God. But they have many troubles in their minds. They want to get more money and more things. They think that this will make them happy. So they do not let God's message change them. They are like plants that do not grow well and make new seeds. 23 But some seeds fell on good soil. This is like other people who hear the message from God and they understand it. These people are like good plants that grow well. From one seed, some good plants make 100 new seeds. Other good plants make 60 new seeds, and some good plants make 30 new seeds.’

13:23In this story, the seed that falls in different kinds of soil is the message of good news from God. The farmer is like a person who teaches people about that message.

Jesus tells a story about some weeds

24 Then Jesus told the people another story. He said, ‘This is what the kingdom of heaven is like: A farmer planted some good wheat seeds into his field. 25 But one night, when everyone was sleeping, a bad person came to the farmer's field. He did not like the farmer. This bad person planted seeds from weeds among the good wheat seeds. Then the bad person went away again. 26 The good seeds grew and the plants began to make new seeds. But when this happened, the weeds also grew.

27 So the farmer's servants came to speak to him. “Master, you planted only good seeds in your field but now many weeds are also growing there. How did this happen?” they asked him.

28 The farmer said to his servants, “A bad person who does not like me has done this.”

So the servants then asked the farmer, “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?”

29 The farmer replied, “No, I do not want you to do that. If you pull up the weeds, you may also pull up some of the good wheat plants. 30 Let the good plants and the weeds grow up together. At harvest time, I will tell the workers to cut down the weeds first. Then they will tie them together and burn them. Then they will cut the wheat and bring it into my building. I will store it there.” ’

Jesus tells a story about a small seed

31 Jesus told the people another story. He said, ‘I will tell you again what the kingdom of heaven is like. It is like a very small seed of the plant called mustard. A man took this seed and he planted it in his field. 32 It is the smallest seed that there is. But when it starts to grow, it will become bigger than the largest bush. It will become a tree. The wild birds will come and they will build their nests among the branches of that tree.’

Jesus tells a story about yeast

33 Jesus told the people another story. He said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is also like this. It is like how yeast works. A woman took the yeast and she mixed it into three large bowls of flour. Then the yeast went through all the flour so that it grew big.’

13:33People put yeast into flour and water to make bread. The yeast grows in the flour and it causes the bread to become bigger.

34 Jesus told the crowds of people all these things. But he only used stories to teach them. 35 So what God's prophet had said long ago now became true:

‘I will use stories when I speak to them.

And I will teach them secret things.

People have never learned these things before, since the world began.’

13:35See Psalm 78:2.

Jesus explains the story about the weeds

36 Then Jesus told the crowds of people to go away. He went into the house where he was staying. His disciples also went into the house with him. They said to him, ‘Explain to us the story about the weeds that were growing in the field.’

37 Jesus replied, ‘The Son of Man is like the farmer who planted the good seed in the field. 38 The field is like the world. The good seeds are like the people who belong to God's kingdom. The weeds are like the people who belong to the Devil. 39 The Devil is the bad person who planted the weed seeds in the field. The time for harvest is like the end of time. God's angels are the workers who cut the plants down.

40 In the story, the workers cut down the weeds and they burned them in the fire. When this world comes to an end, it will happen like that. 41 The Son of Man will send his workers, who are his angels. They will remove from his kingdom everything that causes sin. They will take away everyone who does evil things. 42 The angels will throw those bad people into the great fire. There the people will cry and they will bite their teeth together. 43 The people who obeyed God will shine like the sun. They will be in the kingdom of their Father. You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’

13:42Biting their teeth together may have shown that they were angry. Or it may have shown they were in much pain.

Jesus tells a story about a man who found valuable things in the ground

44 ‘I can tell you again what the kingdom of heaven is like,’ Jesus said. ‘The kingdom of heaven is like some valuable things that a man buried in a field. Another man found it, but then he covered it over again with dirt. The second man was very happy and he went away. He sold everything that he had. Then he went and bought the field with the valuable things in it.’

13:44At that time, people usually hid their valuable things in the ground. The kingdom of God is very valuable. A person should give everything to have God rule in his life.

Jesus tells a story about some valuable stones

45 ‘I will tell you again what the kingdom of heaven is like,’ Jesus said. ‘A trader looks for beautiful stones that he can buy. 46 One day he found a very valuable stone that someone wanted to sell. So he went away and he sold everything that he had. Then he went and he bought that very valuable stone.’

47 Jesus also said, ‘I can tell you again what the kingdom of heaven is like. Some men had nets to catch fish in. They threw their nets into the lake and they caught many different kinds of fish. 48 When the net was full of fish, the men pulled it up onto the shore. Then they sat down. Some of the fish were good to eat, and they put these fish into baskets. Some of the fish were not good to eat, and they threw these fish away. 49 This is what will happen when the world's time comes to an end. God will send his angels. They will put wicked people in one place. And they will put God's righteous people in a separate place. 50 The angels will throw the wicked people into the great fire. There those people will weep and they will bite their teeth together.’

13:50Biting their teeth together may have shown that they were angry. Or it may have shown they were in much pain.

51 Then Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Have you understood all these things?’ They replied, ‘Yes, we have.’

52 Jesus said to them, ‘Some teachers of God's Law have now learned about the kingdom of heaven. These men are like the master of a house who takes things out of the room where he keeps them. Some of the valuable things he brings out are new and some of them are old.’

53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he went away from that place.

Jesus goes to Nazareth

54 Jesus returned to his own town. He taught the Jewish people in their meeting room there. The people were very surprised about the things that he taught them. They said to each other, ‘We do not know how this man learned all these things. And we do not know how he does all these powerful things. 55 We know who he is. He is the son of the carpenter here. Mary is his mother. We also know his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. 56 All his sisters also live here in the town among us. So then, where did he learn all these things?’ 57 So the people there did not accept Jesus.

13:55Mary's husband Joseph was a man who worked with wood, or perhaps stone, to make things. The people knew Jesus and his family. They thought that they knew everything about Jesus. But they did not believe that he was the Messiah. The Messiah is the man whom God sent to save people.

Jesus said to them, ‘If a man is a prophet from God, people everywhere will say good things about him. But the people in his own town will not accept him. Even the people of his own house will not say good things about him.’

58 Jesus did not do many powerful things in that town because the people would not believe in him.