Jesus Teaches in Parables
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting beside the sea [of Galilee].(A) 2 But such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat there [positioning Himself as a teacher], while the whole crowd stood on the shore.
3 He told them many things in [a]parables, saying, “Listen carefully: a sower went out to sow [seed in his field]; 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell beside the road [between the fields], and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil; and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. 8 Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty. 9 He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.”
10 Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” 11 Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the [b]mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.(B) 12 For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him.(C) 13 This is the reason I speak to the crowds in parables: because while [having the power of] seeing they do not see, and while [having the power of] hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand and grasp [spiritual things]. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘You will hear and keep on hearing, but never understand;
And you will look and keep on looking, but never comprehend;
For this nation’s heart has grown hard,
And with their ears they hardly hear,
And they have [tightly] closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart, and turn [to Me]
And I would heal them [spiritually].’(D)
16 But blessed [spiritually aware, and favored by God] are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.(E) 17 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, many prophets and righteous men [who were honorable and in right standing with God] longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Sower Explained
18 “Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:(F) 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; 21 yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. 23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”(G)
Weeds among Wheat
24 Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed [c]weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the weeds appeared also. 27 The servants of the owner came to him and said, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have weeds in it?’ 28 He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them out?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; because as you pull out the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First gather the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
The Mustard Seed
31 He gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;(H) 32 and of all the seeds [planted in the region] it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air find shelter in its branches.”(I)
34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables, and He said nothing to them without [using] a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things [unknown and unattainable] that have been hidden [from mankind] since the foundation of the world.”(K)
The Weeds Explained
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, “Explain [clearly] to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and [as for] the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend [those things by which people are led into sin], and all who practice evil [leading others into sin], 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger]. 43 Then the righteous [those who seek the will of God] will shine forth [radiating the new life] like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.(L)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a [very precious] treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field [securing the treasure for himself].
A Costly Pearl
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 and upon finding a single pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was lowered into the sea, and gathered fish of every kind, 48 and when it was full, they dragged it up on the beach; and they sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw the wicked into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].
51 “Have you understood all these things [in the lessons of the parables]?” They said to Jesus, “Yes.” 52 He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household, who brings out of his [f]treasure things that are new and fresh and things that are old and familiar.”
Jesus Revisits Nazareth
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, He left there. 54 And after coming to [Nazareth] His hometown, He began teaching them in their synagogue, and they were astonished, and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers [what is the source of His authority]?(M) 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not [living here] among us? Where then did this Man get all this [wisdom and power]?” 57 And they took offense at Him [refusing to believe in Him]. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.
- Matthew 13:3 A short story that illustrates a moral or religious principle.
- Matthew 13:11 Things which humans cannot know or discover on their own unless God reveals it to them.
- Matthew 13:25 Lit tares.
- Matthew 13:33 This is the first time leaven is mentioned in the New Testament. See Ex 12:15 for the first mention of leaven in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word (seor) refers specifically to the leavening agent (as opposed to dough containing it), which today is thought of as yeast, a type of fungi. In Jewish thinking, leaven was symbolic of impurity and corruption. Jesus used it as a symbol for the corrupt and hypocritical teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (see especially Luke 12:1; cf Matt 16:11; Mark 8:15), but He also used leaven’s ability to permeate a mass of dough many times its own size as an illustration of the spread of the kingdom of heaven as here and in Luke 13:21.
- Matthew 13:33 A measure was about a peck and a half, which would be enough bread to feed a hundred people.
- Matthew 13:52 God’s precepts, both the old and the new, contain truths to be treasured.