Matthew 13J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Jesus tells the parable of the seed
13 1-9 It was on the same day that Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the lake-side. Such great crowds collected round him that he went aboard a small boat and sat down while all the people stood on the beach. He told them a great deal in parables, and began: “There was once a man who went out to sow. In his sowing some of the seeds fell by the road-side and the birds swooped down and gobbled them up. Some fell on stony patches where they had very little soil. They sprang up quickly in the shallow soil, but when the sun came up they were scorched by the heat and withered away because they had no roots. Some seeds fell among thorn-bushes and the thorns grew up and choked the life out of them. But some fell on good soil and produced a crop—some a hundred times what had been sown, some sixty and some thirty times. The man who has ears should use them!”
10 At this the disciples approached him and asked, “Why do you talk to them in parables?”
11-15 “Because you have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven,” replied Jesus, “but they have not. For when a man has something, more is given to him till he has plenty. But if he has nothing even his nothing will be taken away from him. This is why I speak to them in these parables; because they go through life with their eyes open, but see nothing, and with their ears open, but understand nothing of what they hear. They are the living fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them’.
16-17 “But how fortunate you are to have eyes that see and ears that hear! Believe me, a great many prophets and good men have longed to see what you are seeing and they never saw it. Yes, and they longed to hear what you are hearing and they never heard it.
18-23 “Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a man hears the message of the kingdom and does not grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is like the seed sown by the road-side. The seed sown on the stony patches represents the man who hears the message and eagerly accepts it. But it has not taken root in him and does not last long—the moment trouble or persecution arises through the message he gives up his faith at once. The seed sown among the thorns represents the man who hears the message, and then the worries of this life and the illusions of wealth choke it to death and so it produces no ‘crop’ in his life. But the seed sown on good soil is the man who both hears and understands the message. His life shows a good crop, a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Good and evil grow side by side in this present world
24-30 Then he put another parable before them. “The kingdom of Heaven,” he said, “is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the crop came up and ripened, the weeds appeared as well. Then the owner’s servants came up to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did all these weeds come from? ‘Some blackguard has done this to spite me.’ he replied. ‘Do you want us then to go out and pull them all up?’ said the servants. ‘No,’ he returned, ‘if you pull up the weeds now, you would pull up the wheat with them. Let them both grow together till the harvest. And at harvest-time I shall tell the reapers, ‘Collect all the weeds first and tie them up in bundles ready to burn, but collect the wheat and store it in my barn.’”
The kingdom’s power of growth, and widespread influence
31-32 Then he put another parable before them: “the kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which a man took and sowed in his field. As a seed it is the smallest of them all, but it grows to be the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, big enough for birds to come and nest in its branches.”
33 This is another of the parables he told them: “The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, taken by a woman and put into three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen.”
34-35 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, and he did not speak to them at all without using parables—to fulfil the prophecy: ‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world’.
Jesus again explains a parable to his disciples
36 Later, he left the crowds and went indoors, where his disciples came and said, “Please explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37-39 “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,” replied Jesus. “The field is the whole world. The good seed? That is the sons of the kingdom, while the weeds are the sons of the evil one. The blackguard who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of this world. The reapers are angels.
40-43 “Just as weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire so will it happen at the end of this world. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret. Then the good will shine out like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. The man who has ears should use them!
More pictures of the kingdom of Heaven
44 “Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like some treasure which has been buried in a field. A man finds it and buries it again, and goes off overjoyed to sell all his possessions to buy himself that field.
45-46 “Or again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he has found a single pearl of great value, he goes and sells all his possessions and buys it.
47-50 “Or the kingdom of Heaven is like a big net thrown into the sea collecting all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore and sit down and pick out the good ones for the barrels, but they throw away the bad. That is how it will be at the end of this world. The angels will go out and pick out the wicked from among the good and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret.
51 “Have you grasped all this?” “Yes,” they replied.
52 “You can see, then,” returned Jesus, “how every one who knows the Law and becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old.”
Jesus is not appreciated in his native town
53-57 When Jesus had finished these parables he left the place, and came into his own country. Here he taught the people in their own synagogue, till in their amazement they said, “Where does this man get his wisdom and these powers? He’s only the carpenter’s son. Isn’t Mary his mother, and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? And aren’t all his sisters living here with us? Where did he get all this?” And they were deeply offended with him. But Jesus said to them, “No prophet goes unhonoured except in his own country and in his own home!”
58 And he performed very few miracles there because of their lack of faith.