Matthew 13:1-23 (NIRV)
The Story of the Farmer
13 That same day Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea of Galilee. 2 Large crowds gathered around him. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it. All the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things by using stories.
He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4 He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. 5 Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. 7 Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted. 9 Those who have ears should listen.”
10 The disciples came to him. They asked, “Why do you use stories when you speak to the people?”
11 He replied, “You have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. It has not been given to outsiders. 12 Everyone who has that kind of knowledge will be given more. In fact, they will have very much. If anyone doesn’t have that kind of knowledge, even what little he has will be taken away from him. 13 Here is why I use stories when I speak to the people. I say,
“They look, but they don’t really see.
They listen, but they don’t really hear or understand.
14 “In them the words of the prophet Isaiah come true. He said,
“‘You will hear but never understand.
You will see but never know what you are seeing.
15 The hearts of these people have become stubborn.
They can barely hear with their ears.
They have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes.
They might hear with their ears.
They might understand with their hearts.
They might turn to the Lord, and then he would heal them.’ (Isaiah 6:9,10)
16 “But blessed are your eyes because they see. And blessed are your ears because they hear. 17 What I’m about to tell you is true. Many prophets and godly people wanted to see what you see. But they didn’t see it. They wanted to hear what you hear. But they didn’t hear it.
18 “Listen! Here is the meaning of the story of the farmer. 19 People hear the message about the kingdom but do not understand it. Then the evil one comes. He steals what was planted in their hearts. Those people are like the seed planted on a path. 20 Others received the seed that fell on rocky places. They are those who hear the message and at once receive it with joy. 21 But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message. 22 Others received the seed that fell among the thorns. They are those who hear the message. But then the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth crowd it out. They keep it from producing fruit. 23 But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted.”