Matthew 13International Children’s Bible (ICB)
A Story About Planting Seed
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Large crowds gathered around him. So Jesus got into a boat and sat, while the people stayed on the shore. 3 Then Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He said: “A farmer went out to plant his seed. 4 While he was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. 5 Some seed fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t enough dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, the plants dried up because they did not have deep roots. 7 Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and choked the good plants. 8 Some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and became grain. Some plants made 100 times more grain. Other plants made 60 times more grain, and some made 30 times more grain. 9 Let those with ears use them and listen!”
Why Jesus Used Stories to Teach
10 The followers came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you use stories to teach the people?”
11 Jesus answered, “Only you can know the secret truths about the kingdom of heaven. Other people cannot know these secret truths. 12 The person who has something will be given more. And he will have all he needs. But the person who does not have much, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I use stories to teach the people: They see, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really understand. 14 So they show that the things Isaiah said about them are true:
‘You will listen and listen, but you will not understand.
16 But you are blessed. You understand the things you see with your eyes. And you understand the things you hear with your ears. 17 I tell you the truth. Many prophets and good people wanted to see the things that you now see. But they did not see them. And many prophets and good people wanted to hear the things that you now hear. But they did not hear them.
Jesus Explains the Seed Story
18 “So listen to the meaning of that story about the farmer. 19 What is the seed that fell by the road? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching about the kingdom but does not understand it. The Evil One comes and takes away the things that were planted in that person’s heart. 20 And what is the seed that fell on rocky ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and quickly accepts it with joy. 21 But he does not let the teaching go deep into his life. He keeps it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching he accepted, then he quickly gives up. 22 And what is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching but lets worries about this life and love of money stop that teaching from growing. So the teaching does not produce fruit[a] in that person’s life. 23 But what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and understands it. That person grows and produces fruit, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 30 times more.”
A Story About Wheat and Weeds
24 Then Jesus told them another story. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. 25 That night, when everyone was asleep, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. Then the enemy went away. 26 Later, the wheat grew and heads of grain grew on the wheat plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. 27 Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’ 28 The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’ The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to pull up the weeds?’ 29 The man answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. 30 Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At harvest time I will tell the workers this: First gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’”
Stories of Mustard Seed and Yeast
31 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. A man plants the seed in his field. 32 That seed is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows, it is one of the largest garden plants. It becomes a tree, big enough for the wild birds to come and make nests in its branches.”
33 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman mixes into a big bowl of flour. The yeast makes all the dough rise.”
34 Jesus used stories to tell all these things to the people. He always used stories to teach people. 35 This is as the prophet said:
“I will speak using stories;
Jesus Explains About the Wheat and Weeds
36 Then Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His followers came to him and said, “Explain to us the meaning of the story about the weeds in the field.”
37 Jesus answered, “The man who planted the good seed in the field is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. And the good seed are all of God’s children in the kingdom. The weeds are those people who belong to the Evil One. 39 And the enemy who planted the bad seed is the devil. The harvest time is the end of the age. And the workers who gather are God’s angels.
40 “The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. It will be this way at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels. They will gather out of his kingdom all who cause sin and all who do evil. 42 The angels will throw them into the blazing furnace. There the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain. 43 Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let those with ears use them and listen!
Stories of a Treasure and a Pearl
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field.
45 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls. 46 One day he found a very valuable pearl. The man went and sold everything he had to buy that pearl.
A Story of a Fishing Net
47 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was put into the lake. The net caught many different kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled the net to the shore. They sat down and put all the good fish in baskets. Then they threw away the bad fish. 49 It will be this way at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people. 50 The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace. In that place the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.”
51 Jesus asked his followers, “Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes, we understand.”
52 Then Jesus said to them, “So every teacher of the law who has been taught about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house. He has both new things and old things saved in his house. And he brings out both those new things and old things.”
Jesus Goes to His Hometown
53 When Jesus finished teaching with these stories, he left there. 54 He went to the town where he grew up. He taught the people in the synagogue, and they were amazed. They said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and this power to do miracles? 55 He is only the son of the carpenter. And his mother is Mary. His brothers are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. 56 And all his sisters are here with us. So where does this man get all these things?” 57 And the people refused to accept Jesus.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own town or in his own home.”
58 The people there did not believe in Jesus. So Jesus did not do many miracles there.
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