Matthew 13New Testament for Everyone (NTE)
The Parable of the Sower
13 That very day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the sea. 2 Large crowds gathered around him, so he got into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore.
3 He had much to say to them, and he said it all in parables.
‘Listen!’ he said. ‘Once there was a sower who went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seed fell beside the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some seed fell on rocky soil, where it didn’t have much earth. It sprang up at once because it didn’t have depth of soil. 6 But when the sun was high it got scorched, and it withered because it didn’t have any root. 7 Other seed fell in among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 8 And other seed fell into good soil, and produced a crop, some a hundred times over, some sixty, and some thirty times over. 9 If you’ve got ears, then listen!’
The Reason for Parables
10 His disciples came to him.
‘Why are you speaking to them in parables?’ they asked.
11 ‘You’ve been given the gift of knowing the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,’ he replied, ‘but they haven’t been given it. 12 Anyone who already has something will be given more, and they will have plenty. But anyone who has nothing – even what they have will be taken away! 13 That’s why I speak to them in parables, so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand or take it in. 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is coming true in them:
You will listen and listen but won’t understand,
16 But there’s great news for your eyes: they can see! And for your ears: they can hear! 17 I’m telling you the truth: many prophets and holy people longed to see what you see and didn’t see it, and to hear what you hear and didn’t hear it.’
The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 ‘All right, then,’ Jesus continued, ‘this is what the sower story is all about. 19 When someone hears the word of the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This corresponds to what was sown beside the path. 20 What was sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with delight, 21 but doesn’t have any root of their own. Someone like that only lasts a short time; as soon as there’s any trouble or persecution because of the word, they trip up at once. 22 The one sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but the world’s worries and the seduction of wealth choke the word and it doesn’t bear fruit. 23 But the one sown on good soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. Someone like that will bear fruit: one will produce a hundred times over, another sixty, and another thirty times over.’
The Parable of the Weeds
24 He put another parable to them.
‘The kingdom of heaven’, he said, ‘is like this! Once upon a time a man sowed good seed in his field. 25 While the workers were asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds in among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the crop came up and produced corn, then the weeds appeared as well.
27 ‘So the farmer’s servants came to him.
‘ “Master,” they said, “didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?”
28 ‘ “This is the work of an enemy,” he replied.
‘ “So,” the servants said to him, “do you want us to go and pull them up?”
29 ‘ “No,” he replied. “If you do that you’ll probably pull up the wheat as well, while you’re collecting the weeds. 30 Let them both grow together until the harvest. Then, when it’s time for harvest, I will give the reapers this instruction: ‘First gather the weeds and tie them up in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” ’
31 He put another parable to them.
‘The kingdom of heaven’, he said, ‘is like a grain of mustard seed, which someone took and sowed in his field. 32 It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows it turns into the biggest of the shrubs. It becomes a tree, and the birds in the sky can then come and nest in its branches.’
33 He told them another parable.
‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven,’ he said, ‘which a woman took and hid inside three measures of flour, until the whole thing was leavened.’
34 Jesus said all these things to the crowds in parables. He didn’t speak to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came and joined him.
‘Explain to us’, they said, ‘the parable of the weeds in the field.’
37 ‘The one who sows the good seed’, said Jesus, ‘is the son of man. 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one; 39 the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.
40 ‘So: when the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, that’s what it will be like at the close of the age. 41 The son of man will send out his angels, and they will collect together out of his kingdom everything that causes offence, and everyone who acts wickedly. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. If you have ears, then hear!’
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven’, Jesus continued, ‘is like treasure hidden in a field. Someone found it and hid it, and in great delight went off and sold everything he possessed, and bought that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who was looking for fine pearls, 46 and who found one that was spectacularly valuable. He went off and sold everything he possessed, and bought it.
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea, and collected every type of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen brought it to shore. They sat down and selected the good ones, which they put into a bucket; but they threw out the bad ones. 49 That’s what it will be like at the close of the age. The angels will go off and separate the wicked from the righteous, 50 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ asked Jesus.
‘Yes,’ they answered.
52 ‘Well, then,’ he said to them, ‘every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his storeroom some new things and some old things.’
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there.
Opposition in Nazareth
54 Jesus came to the town where he had been brought up. He taught them in their synagogue, and they were astonished.
‘Where did this fellow get this wisdom, and these powers?’ they said.
55 ‘Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judah? 56 And aren’t all his sisters here with us? So where does he get it all from?’ 57 They were offended by him.
So Jesus said to them, ‘No prophet lacks respect – except in his own town and his own house!’
58 And he didn’t perform many mighty works there, because they didn’t believe.
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