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MATTHEW 13, 1-23 A Story about a Farmer

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1 That same day Jesus left the house and went out beside Lake Galilee, where he sat down to teach.[a] 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to sit in a boat, while the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:

A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. 4 While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. 5 Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn't very deep. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. 7 Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. 8 But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. 9 If you have ears, pay attention!

Why Jesus Used Stories

10 Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you use nothing but stories when you speak to the people?"

11 Jesus answered:

I have explained the secrets about the kingdom of heaven to you, but not to others.12 Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don't have anything will lose even what little they have. 13 I use stories when I speak to them because when they look, they cannot see, and when they listen, they cannot hear or understand. 14 So God's promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,

"These people will listen

and listen,

but never understand.

They will look and look,

but never see.

15 All of them have

stubborn minds!

Their ears are stopped up,

and their eyes are covered.

They cannot see or hear

or understand.

If they could,

they would turn to me,

and I would heal them."

16 But God has blessed you, because your eyes can see and your ears can hear!17 Many prophets and good people were eager to see what you see and to hear what you hear. But I tell you that they did not see or hear.

Jesus Explains the Story about the Farmer

18 Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:

19 The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. 20 The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. 21 But they don't have deep roots, and they don't last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.

22 The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 23 The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.

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