October 13th, 2006
Different people react to Jesus’ message in different ways. Some people are like a path: when the message falls on them, it just bounces back off and gets eaten by the birds. Some people are like rocky ground with shallow soil: the message initially grows in them, but it quickly withers and dies when tough times come. Some people are like thorny ground: they let the message get choked out by the weeds of materialism. And some people are like fertile soil: the message takes root and grows vigorously in them, producing an abundant crop. Which soil type best describes you?
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 13
13:1 Later that day Jesus left the house and sat by the sea shore. 13:2 Crowds gathered around him, so he climbed into a boat while the crowd stood on the beach. 13:3 He taught them using parables, “A farmer went out to plant seeds. 13:4 As he scattered the seeds, some fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them. 13:5 Others fell on rocky ground, with shallow soil, and they sprouted quickly, 13:6 but they were scorched and withered away when the sun rose, because they had no root. 13:7 Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked them. 13:8 Others fell on good soil, and thrived: some yielding one hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much grain as had been sown. 13:9 Whoever has ears to hear should hear this.”
13:10 The disciples asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 13:11 He answered, “You get to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others don’t. 13:12 People who already have something will be given more so that their supply will overflow, but people who have almost nothing will lose even what they have. 13:13 That’s why I speak to them in parables. They see but they don’t see; they hear but they don’t hear, and they don’t understand. 13:14 This fulfils the prediction of Isaiah: ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand. Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive, 13:15 because this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and turn again, and I would heal them.’
13:16 “On the other hand, your eyes are blessed because they can see, and your ears are blessed because they can hear. 13:17 I can guarantee that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see the things which you see, but didn’t see them, and to hear the things which you hear, but didn’t hear them.
13:18 “OK, this is the parable of the farmer. 13:19 When someone hears the word of the Kingdom but doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes to snatch away the seeds planted in his heart. These are the seeds falling on the path. 13:20 The seeds falling on rocky ground represent the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 13:21 but it lasts only for a while because the person has no roots, and stumbles as soon as oppression or persecution arises because of the word. 13:22 The seeds planted among the thorns represent someone who hears the word but becomes unfruitful when the stresses of life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word. 13:23 The seeds planted in good ground represent someone who hears the word, understands it, and starts producing grain, sometimes one hundred, sometimes sixty, and sometimes thirty times as much as was planted.”
13:24 He told another parable, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field, 13:25 but his enemy came in the night and sowed weeds amongst the wheat, then went away. 13:26 When the plants sprouted and started to produce grain, the weeds also started growing. 13:27 The farmer’s assistants asked him, ‘Sir, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’ 13:28 He replied, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The assistants asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull out the weeds?’ 13:29 He said, ‘No, in case you pull out the wheat while trying to pull out the weeds. 13:30 They can grow together until the harvest, and during harvesting I will tell the reapers, “First, sort out the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them, but bring the wheat into my barn.”‘”
13:31 He told another parable, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a farmer planted in a field. 13:32 Although it’s the smallest of seeds it grows into a tree larger than other herbs, and birds can come and nest in its branches.”
13:33 He told yet another parable, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast which a woman takes and mixes with three measures of flour until it is mixed throughout the dough.”
13:34 Jesus used parables to teach these things to the crowds. He said nothing without using a parable, 13:35 to fulfil the prophet’s prediction: “I will open my mouth in parables. I will say things hidden since the beginning of time.”
13:36 Then Jesus sent the crowds away, and went indoors. His disciples asked, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field.” 13:37 He answered, “The farmer who plants the good seed is the Son of Man, 13:38 the field is the world, the good seed represents the children of the Kingdom, and the weeds are the children of the evil one. 13:39 The enemy who planted them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 13:40 Just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so it will happen at the end of this age. 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and everyone who does evil, 13:42 and will throw them into the incinerator. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear should hear this.
13:44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is also like a treasure buried in a field. A man finds it and hides it again, then excitedly goes and sells all that he has so he can buy that field. 13:45 The Kingdom of Heaven is also like a merchant looking for high quality pearls, 13:46 who finds one perfect pearl, then goes and sells all that he has so he can buy it.
13:47 “The Kingdom of Heaven is also like a fishing net thrown into the sea, catching fish of every kind 13:48 and when full being dragged up onto the beach. The fishermen sit down, and put the good fish into containers, but they throw away the bad. 13:49 That’s what will happen at the end of the world. The angels will come and remove the wicked from amongst the righteous, 13:50 and cast them into the incinerator. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13:51 Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?” They answered, “Yes, Lord.”13:52 He said to them, “A teacher of religious law who has learnt about the kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who brings both new and old things out of a storeroom.”
13:53 Jesus moved on after telling these parables. 13:54 He arrived back in his home town and taught in their synagogue. They were surprised, saying, “Where did he get this wisdom and these mighty works? 13:55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 13:56 Aren’t all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?” 13:57 They were offended by him. But Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and in his own house.” 13:58 He didn’t do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
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