One day Jesus told this story to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him:
5"A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds came and ate it. 6Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. This seed began to grow, but soon it withered and died for lack of moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. 8Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted." When he had said this, he called out, "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!"9
His disciples asked him what the story meant.
He replied, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: 'They see what I do, but they don't really see; they hear what I say, but they don't understand.' a11"This is the meaning of the story: The seed is God's message. 12The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then the Devil comes and steals it away and prevents them from believing and being saved. 13The rocky soil represents those who hear the message with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. They believe for a while, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow. 14The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15But the good soil represents honest, good-hearted people who hear God's message, cling to it, and steadily produce a huge harvest.16"No one would light a lamp and then cover it up or put it under a bed. No, lamps are mounted in the open, where they can be seen by those entering the house. 17For everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all. 18So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them."19
Once when Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, they couldn't get to him because of the crowds.
Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you."
Jesus replied, "My mother and my brothers are all those who hear the message of God and obey it."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)