Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed
1Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
3“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
10Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.
11He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret*4:11 Greek mystery. of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, 12so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they see what I do,
they will learn nothing.
When they hear what I say,
they will not understand.
Otherwise, they will turn to me
and be forgiven.’*4:12
13Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? 14The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Parable of the Lamp
21Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. 22For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. 23Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
24Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given*4:24 Or The measure you give will be the measure you get back. —and you will receive even more. 25To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
Parable of the Growing Seed
26Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
Parable of the Mustard Seed
30Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”
33Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. 34In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
Jesus Calms the Storm
35As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”