A Story About Planting Seed
1Again Jesus began teaching by the lake. A great crowd gathered around him, so he sat down in a boat near the shore. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water. 2Jesus taught them many things, using stories. He said, 3“Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4While he was planting, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some seed fell on rocky ground where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. 6But when the sun rose, the plants dried up because they did not have deep roots. 7Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. So those plants did not produce a crop. 8Some other seed fell on good ground and began to grow. It got taller and produced a crop. Some plants made thirty times more, some made sixty times more, and some made a hundred times more.”
9Then Jesus said, “Let those with ears use them and listen!”
Jesus Tells Why He Used Stories
10Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve apostles and others around him asked him about the stories.
11Jesus said, “You can know the secret about the kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by using stories 12so that:
‘They will look and look, but they will not learn.
They will listen and listen, but they will not understand.
If they did learn and understand,
they would come back to me and be forgiven.’ ”#Isaiah 6:9–10
Jesus Explains the Seed Story
13Then Jesus said to his followers, “Don’t you understand this story? If you don’t, how will you understand any story? 14The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people. 15Sometimes the teaching falls on the road. This is like the people who hear the teaching of God, but Satan quickly comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them. 16Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy. 17But since they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives, they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly give up. 18Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, 19but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives. 20Others are like the seed planted in the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce fruit—sometimes thirty times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes a hundred times more.”
Use What You Have
21Then Jesus said to them, “Do you hide a lamp under a bowl or under a bed? No! You put the lamp on a lampstand. 22Everything that is hidden will be made clear and every secret thing will be made known. 23Let those with ears use them and listen!
24“Think carefully about what you hear. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give you even more. 25Those who have understanding will be given more. But those who do not have understanding, even what they have will be taken away from them.”
Jesus Uses a Story About Seed
26Then Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who plants seed in the ground. 27Night and day, whether the person is asleep or awake, the seed still grows, but the person does not know how it grows. 28By itself the earth produces grain. First the plant grows, then the head, and then all the grain in the head. 29When the grain is ready, the farmer cuts it, because this is the harvest time.”
A Story About Mustard Seed
30Then Jesus said, “How can I show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? 31The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”
33Jesus used many stories like these to teach the crowd God’s message—as much as they could understand. 34He always used stories to teach them. But when he and his followers were alone, Jesus explained everything to them.
Jesus Calms a Storm
35That evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Let’s go across the lake.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him in the boat just as he was. There were also other boats with them. 37A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that it was already full of water. 38Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!”
39Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.
40Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41The followers were very afraid and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”