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A Story about a Farmer

The next time Jesus taught beside Lake Galilee, a big crowd gathered. It was so large that he had to sit in a boat out on the lake, while the people stood on the shore. He used stories to teach them many things, and this is part of what he taught:

Now listen! A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked out the plants. So they did not produce any grain. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants grew and produced thirty or sixty or even a hundred times as much as was scattered.

Then Jesus said, “If you have ears, pay attention.”

Why Jesus Used Stories

10 When Jesus was alone with the twelve apostles and some others, they asked him about these stories. 11 He answered:

I have explained the secret about God’s kingdom to you, but for others I can use only stories. 12 The reason is,

“These people will look
    and look, but never see.
They will listen and listen,
    but never understand.
If they did,
    they would turn to God,
    and he would forgive them.”

Jesus Explains the Story about the Farmer

13 Jesus told them:

If you don’t understand this story, you won’t understand any others. 14 What the farmer is spreading is really the message about the kingdom. 15 The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message. But Satan soon comes and snatches it away from them. 16 The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. 17 But they don’t have any roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.

18 The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. 19 But they start worrying about the needs of this life. They are fooled by the desire to get rich and to have all kinds of other things. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 20 The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and welcome the message. They produce thirty or sixty or even a hundred times as much as was planted.

Light

21 Jesus also said:

You don’t light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don’t you put a lamp on a lampstand? 22 There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. 23 If you have ears, pay attention!

24 Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated—and even worse. 25 Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don’t have anything will lose what little they have.

Another Story about Seeds

26 Again Jesus said:

God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27 The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. 28 It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29 Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.[a]

A Mustard Seed

30 Finally, Jesus said:

What is God’s kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31 It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32 But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.

The Reason for Teaching with Stories

33 Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

A Storm

35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” 36 So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. 37 Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.

38 Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”

39 Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.

40 Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”

41 Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

A Man with Evil Spirits

Jesus and his disciples crossed Lake Galilee and came to shore near the town of Gerasa.[b] When he was getting out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit quickly ran to him from the graveyard[c] where he had been living. No one was able to tie the man up anymore, not even with a chain. He had often been put in chains and leg irons, but he broke the chains and smashed the leg irons. No one could control him. Night and day he was in the graveyard or on the hills, yelling and cutting himself with stones.

When the man saw Jesus in the distance, he ran up to him and knelt down. He shouted, “Jesus, Son of God in heaven, what do you want with me? Promise me in God’s name that you won’t torture me!” The man said this because Jesus had already told the evil spirit to come out of him.

Jesus asked, “What is your name?”

The man answered, “My name is Lots, because I have ‘lots' of evil spirits.” 10 He then begged Jesus not to send them away.

11 Over on the hillside a large herd of pigs was feeding. 12 So the evil spirits begged Jesus, “Send us into those pigs! Let us go into them.” 13 Jesus let them go, and they went out of the man and into the pigs. The whole herd of about two thousand pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

14 The men taking care of the pigs ran to the town and the farms to spread the news. Then the people came out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had once been full of demons. He was sitting there with his clothes on and in his right mind, and they were terrified.

16 Everyone who had seen what had happened told about the man and the pigs. 17 Then the people started begging Jesus to leave their part of the country.

18 When Jesus was getting into the boat, the man begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus would not let him. Instead, he said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how good he has been to you.”

20 The man went away into the region near the ten cities known as Decapolis[d] and began telling everyone how much Jesus had done for him. Everyone who heard what had happened was amazed.

A Dying Girl and a Sick Woman

21 Once again Jesus got into the boat and crossed Lake Galilee.[e] Then as he stood on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. 22 The person in charge of the Jewish meeting place was also there. His name was Jairus, and when he saw Jesus, he went over to him. He knelt at Jesus' feet 23 and started begging him for help. He said, “My daughter is about to die! Please come and touch her, so she will get well and live.” 24 Jesus went with Jairus. Many people followed along and kept crowding around.

25 In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse.

27 The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. 28 She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” 29 As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well.

30 At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” 32 But Jesus turned to see who had touched him.

33 The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story.

34 Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from Jairus' home and said, “Your daughter has died! Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Jesus heard[f] what they said, and he said to Jairus, “Don’t worry. Just have faith!”

37 Jesus did not let anyone go with him except Peter and the two brothers, James and John. 38 They went home with Jairus and saw the people crying and making a lot of noise.[g] 39 Then Jesus went inside and said to them, “Why are you crying and carrying on like this? The child isn’t dead. She is just asleep.” 40 But the people laughed at him.

After Jesus had sent them all out of the house, he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples and went to where she was. 41-42 He took the twelve-year-old girl by the hand and said, “Talitha, koum!”[h] which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got right up and started walking around.

Everyone was greatly surprised. 43 But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

Footnotes

  1. 4.29 sickle: A knife with a long curved blade, used to cut grain and other crops.
  2. 5.1 Gerasa: Some manuscripts have “Gadara,” and others have “Gergesa.”
  3. 5.3 graveyard: It was thought that demons and evil spirits lived in graveyards.
  4. 5.20 the ten cities known as Decapolis: A group of ten cities east of Samaria and Galilee, where the people followed the Greek way of life.
  5. 5.21 crossed Lake Galilee: To the west side.
  6. 5.36 heard: Or “ignored.”
  7. 5.38 crying and making a lot of noise: The Jewish people often hired mourners for funerals.
  8. 5.41,42 Talitha, koum: These words are in Aramaic, a language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus.