1 On that [same] day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down on the shore of the lake [i.e., Lake Galilee]. 2 Great crowds gathered around Him so that He went and sat down in a boat [just off shore], while the crowd stood on the beach.
3 And He spoke many things to them in parables [i.e., brief stories to illustrate His teaching], saying, "Once a farmer went out [to his field] to plant grain. 4 And some of the seed he sowed [i.e., scattering it by hand] landed along the side of the road and birds came and ate it. 5 And other seed fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil and immediately it sprouted up because the soil was so shallow. 6 But when the sun came up these tender sprouts were scorched and, since they had such tiny roots, they [quickly] withered away. 7 And other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and [eventually] choked out the tender sprouts. 8 And [still] other seed fell onto fertile soil, where some of it produced a crop of one hundred, some sixty and some thirty times [as much as was planted]. 9 The person who has ears to hear with ought to listen [to this] carefully."
10 Jesus' disciples came and said to Him, "Why are you speaking to them [i.e., the large crowds] by using parables?"
11 He replied, "You disciples are being given an understanding of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but the crowds of people are not. 12 For to the person who [already] has something, [more] will be given, so he will have a larger amount [i.e., of understanding], but from the person who has [almost] nothing, even [the little] he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore, I am speaking to them with parables because [although] they can see, they [really] do not perceive, and [although] they can hear, they [really] do not comprehend, and so they [utterly] fail to understand [what I am trying to get across]. 14 So, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled by them, which says, [Isa. 6:9f] 'You will hear all right, but you will not understand [what you hear]. You will see all right but you will not perceive [what you see]. 15 For these people's minds are dull, and their ears have difficulty hearing, and they have shut their eyes. For if this were not the case, they would perceive what they see with their eyes, and comprehend what they hear with their ears, and understand with their minds and would turn [back to God] again so I would heal them [from their sins].'
16 But your eyes are fortunate for they [really] see, and so are your ears, for they [really] hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people have desired to see the things you are seeing, but did not get to. They desired to hear the things you are hearing, but did not get to.
18 "Listen then to this parable of the farmer [who sowed seed]. 19 When anyone hears the message of the kingdom but does not understand it, the evil one [i.e., the devil] comes to him and grabs away what had been sown in his heart. This is the person who was scattered to the side of the road. 20 And the person who was sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the message and immediately welcomes it joyfully, 21 but since he has such a shallow root, he lasts for [only] a short while. Then when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, immediately he falls away [from God]. 22 And the person who was sown among the thorns is the one who hears the message, but the anxieties of the world [i.e., of life] and the deceptiveness of [material] riches choke the message and he becomes unproductive. 23 But the person who was sown on the fertile soil is the one who hears the message and understands it. Truly, he produces a crop that yields one hundred, sixty or thirty times [as much as was planted]."
24 [Then] Jesus told them another parable, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is similar to a person who sowed seed in his field, 25 but while his workers were asleep his enemy came and scattered weed seeds throughout his wheat field and then left. 26 But when the [green] shoots sprouted up and produced grain, weeds appeared also. 27 The farmer's hired hands came and asked him, 'Did you not plant [only] good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from [then]?'
28 And he said to them, 'An enemy [of mine] has done this [to me].' The hired hands replied, 'Do you want us then to go and gather up the weeds?'
29 But the farmer said, 'No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you might root up [some of] the wheat with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until it is time for the harvest; then at that time, I will tell the harvesters, "Gather up the weeds first, and bind them up into bundles to burn. But gather the wheat into my barn."'"
31 Jesus told them another parable, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is similar to a seed from the mustard tree which a man took and planted in his field. 32 This seed is indeed [one of] the smallest of all seeds, but when it is [fully] grown, it is larger than [other] plants, and [even] becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and roost on its branches."
33 Then He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is similar to yeast, which a woman worked into a batch of dough [i.e., the amount was over half a bushel], until [the dough] was completely leavened [by it]."
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowds with parables. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 [This was] so that what was spoken by the prophet would be fulfilled, when he said [Psa. 78:2], "I will open my mouth [to speak] with parables. I will say things that have been hidden from the beginning of time."
36 He then left the crowds and went into the house. [While there] His disciples came to Him, and said, "Explain to us [the meaning of] the parable of the weeds in the field."
37 And He answered them, "The person who planted the good seed is the Son of man, 38 and the field [represents] the world. The good seed [represents] the children who belong to the kingdom, and the weeds [represent] the children who belong to the evil one [i.e., the devil]. 39 The enemy who scattered the weed seeds is the devil; the harvest time is the end of the world; and the harvesters are angels. 40 Just like the weeds were gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of man will send out His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all those people who cause others to fall away [from God] and those who [continue to] sin. 42 He will throw these people into the fiery furnace where there will be crying and excruciating pain. 43 Then the people who did what was right will shine out like the sun in their Father's kingdom. The person who has ears [to hear with] ought to listen [to this] carefully.
44 "The kingdom of heaven is similar to a person finding a treasure hidden in a field. After finding it, he was so happy he hid it [again], then went out and sold everything he owned so he could buy that field.
45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is similar to a [retail] merchant searching to buy some fine pearls. 46 When he found an extremely valuable one he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.
47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is similar to a drag-net [for fishing] that was cast into the lake and gathered all kinds [of fish]. 48 When it became full, the fishermen dragged it up onto the shore. Then they sat down and, [sorting their catch], placed the good [i.e., edible fish] into containers, but threw out the bad [i.e., inedible ones]. 49 At the end of the world it will be that same way. The angels will come and divide the sinful people from the ones who did what was right, 50 and throw the sinful ones into the fiery furnace where there will be crying and excruciating pain."
51 "Have you understood all these things?" [Jesus asked]. "Yes," they said to Him.
52 Then He said to them, "Therefore every expert in the law of Moses who has been made a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is similar to a [wealthy] homeowner who brought [both] new and old things out of his supply of goods." 53 And it happened, when Jesus had finished [giving] these parables, He went away from that place.
54 And when He came to His home town [i.e., Nazareth], Jesus taught people in their synagogues to their amazement. They said, "Where did this man get [such] wisdom and [the ability to perform] these supernatural deeds? 55 Is not he the carpenter's [i.e., Joseph's] son? [And] is not his mother named Mary, and his brothers [named] James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 And are not his sisters all [here] with us? Where then did he get all these things [i.e., wisdom, knowledge, miracles, etc]?" 57 And they were led to doubt His true identity. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet does not go without being honored, except in His own home town and among His own family members." 58 So, He did not perform very many supernatural deeds in that place because of the people's lack of faith.