Again Jesus began to teach by the lake.1 The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
He taught them many things by parables,2 and in his teaching said:
3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.34As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."49
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."510
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God6 has been given to you. But to those on the outside7 everything is said in parables12so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'a "813
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?14The farmer sows the word.915Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan10 comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth11 and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?1222For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.1323If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."1424"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.1525Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."16
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like.17 A man scatters seed on the ground.27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."18
Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like,19 or what parable shall we use to describe it?31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."33
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.2034
He did not say anything to them without using a parable.21 But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.