A large crowd gathered together. People came to Jesus from town after town. As they did, he told a story. He said,
"A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. People walked on it, and the birds of the air ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky places. When it grew, the plants dried up because they had no water.
Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up with it and crowded out the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 100 times more than the farmer planted." When Jesus said this, he called out, "Those who have ears should listen."
His disciples asked him what the story meant.
He said, "You have been given the chance to understand the secrets of God's kingdom. But to outsiders I speak by using stories. In that way, " 'They see, but they will not know what they are seeing. They hear, but they will not understand what they are hearing.' (Isaiah 6:9)
"Here is what the story means. The seed is God's message.
People on the path are those who hear. But then the devil comes. He takes away the message from their hearts. He does it so they won't believe. Then they can't be saved.
Those on the rock are the ones who hear the message and receive it with joy. But they have no roots. They believe for a while. But when they are put to the test, they fall away from the faith.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear the message. But as they go on their way, they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures. So they do not reach full growth.
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with an honest and good heart. They hear the message. They keep it in their hearts. They remain faithful and produce a good crop.
"People do not light a lamp and then hide it in a jar or put it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand. Then those who come in can see its light.
What is hidden will be seen. And what is out of sight will be brought into the open and made known.
"So be careful how you listen. If you have something, you will be given more. If you have nothing, even what you think you have will be taken away from you."
Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him. But they could not get near him because of the crowd.
Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside. They want to see you."
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and do what it says."