That same day Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea of Galilee.
Large crowds gathered around him. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it. All the people stood on the shore.
Then he told them many things by using stories. He said, "A farmer went out to plant his seed.
He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn't much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn't deep.
When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots.
Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted.
Those who have ears should listen."
The disciples came to him. They asked, "Why do you use stories when you speak to the people?"
He replied, "You have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. It has not been given to outsiders.
Everyone who has that kind of knowledge will be given more. In fact, they will have very much. If anyone doesn't have that kind of knowledge, even what little he has will be taken away from him.
Here is why I use stories when I speak to the people. I say, "They look, but they don't really see. They listen, but they don't really hear or understand.
"In them the words of the prophet Isaiah come true. He said, " 'You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing.
The hearts of these people have become stubborn. They can barely hear with their ears. They have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes. They might hear with their ears. They might understand with their hearts. They might turn to the Lord, and then he would heal them.' #1(Isaiah 6:9,10)#2
"But blessed are your eyes because they see. And blessed are your ears because they hear.
What I'm about to tell you is true. Many prophets and godly people wanted to see what you see. But they didn't see it. They wanted to hear what you hear. But they didn't hear it.
"Listen! Here is the meaning of the story of the farmer.
People hear the message about the kingdom but do not understand it. Then the evil one comes. He steals what was planted in their hearts. Those people are like the seed planted on a path.
Others received the seed that fell on rocky places. They are those who hear the message and at once receive it with joy.
But they have no roots. So they last only a short time. They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message.
Others received the seed that fell among the thorns. They are those who hear the message. But then the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth crowd it out. They keep it from producing fruit.
But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted."
Jesus told the crowd another story. "Here is what the kingdom of heaven is like," he said. "A man planted good seed in his field.
But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came. The enemy planted weeds among the wheat and then went away.
The wheat began to grow and form grain. At the same time, weeds appeared.
"The owner's servants came to him. They said, 'Sir, didn't you plant good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?'
" 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull the weeds up?'
" 'No,' the owner answered. 'While you are pulling up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the workers what to do. Here is what I will say to them. First collect the weeds. Tie them in bundles to be burned. Then gather the wheat. Bring it into my storeroom.' "
Jesus told the crowd another story. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Someone took the seed and planted it in a field.
It is the smallest of all your seeds. But when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants. It becomes a tree. Birds come and rest in its branches."
Jesus told them still another story. "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast," he said. "A woman mixed it into a large amount of flour. The yeast worked its way all through the dough."
Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd by using stories. He did not say anything to them without telling a story.
So the words spoken by the prophet came true. He had said, "I will open my mouth and tell stories. I will speak about things that were hidden since the world was made." #1(Psalm 78:2)#2
Then Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him. They said, "Explain to us the story of the weeds in the field."
He answered, "The one who planted the good seed is the Son of Man.
The field is the world. The good seed stands for the people who belong to the kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.
The enemy who plants them is the devil. The harvest is judgment day. And the workers are angels.
"The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. That is how it will be on judgment day.
The Son of Man will send out his angels. They will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin. They will also get rid of all who do evil.
They will throw them into the blazing furnace. There people will sob and grind their teeth.
Then God's people will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. Those who have ears should listen.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure that was hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again. He was very happy. So he went and sold everything he had. And he bought that field.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who was looking for fine pearls.
He found one that was very valuable. So he went away and sold everything he had. And he bought that pearl.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net. It was let down into the lake. It caught all kinds of fish.
When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and gathered the good fish into baskets. But they threw the bad fish away.
This is how it will be on judgment day. The angels will come. They will separate the people who did what is wrong from those who did what is right.
They will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace. There the evil ones will sob and grind their teeth.
"Do you understand all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied.
He said to them, "Every teacher of the law who has been taught about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house. He brings new treasures out of his storeroom as well as old ones."
Jesus finished telling these stories. Then he moved on from there.
He came to his hometown of Nazareth. There he began teaching the people in their synagogue. They were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom? Where did he get this power to do miracles?" they asked.
"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary? Aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
Aren't all his sisters with us? Then where did this man get all these things?"
They were not pleased with him at all. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not honored in his hometown. He doesn't receive any honor in his own home."
He did only a few miracles there because they had no faith.
After this, Jesus traveled around from one town and village to another. He announced the good news of God's kingdom. The Twelve were with him.
So were some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. One was Mary Magdalene. Seven demons had come out of her.
Another was Joanna, the wife of Cuza. He was the manager of Herod's household. Susanna and many others were there also. These women were helping to support Jesus and the Twelve with their own money.
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.' #1(Isaiah 6:9)#2
"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."
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and left.
As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. A storm came down on the lake. It was so bad that the boat was about to sink. They were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke Jesus up. They said, "Master! Master! We're going to drown!" He got up and ordered the wind and the huge waves to stop. The storm quieted down. It was completely calm.
"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. They were amazed and full of fear. They asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him."
Jesus and his disciples sailed to the area of the Gerasenes across the lake from Galilee.
When Jesus stepped on shore, he was met by a man from the town. The man was controlled by demons. For a long time he had not worn clothes or lived in a house. He lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet. He shouted at the top of his voice, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? I beg you, don't hurt me!"
This was because Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times the spirit had taken hold of him. His hands and feet were chained, and he was kept under guard. But he had broken his chains. And then the demon had forced him to go out into lonely places in the countryside.
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
And they begged Jesus again and again not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. And he allowed it.
When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned.
Those who were tending the pigs saw what had happened. They ran off and reported it in the town and countryside.
The people went out to see what had happened. Then they came to Jesus. They found the man who was now free of the demons. He was sitting at Jesus' feet. He was dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid.
Those who had seen it told the others how the man who had been controlled by demons was now healed.
Then all the people who lived in the area of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them. They were filled with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
The man who was now free of the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him away. He said to him,
"Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away. He told people all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
When Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him. They were all expecting him.
Then a man named Jairus came. He was a synagogue ruler. He fell at Jesus' feet. He begged Jesus to come to his house.
His only daughter was dying. She was about 12 years old. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.
A woman was there who had a sickness that made her bleed. Her sickness had lasted for 12 years. No one could heal her.
She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his clothes. Right away her bleeding stopped.
"Who touched me?" Jesus asked. They all said they didn't do it. Then Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pushing against you."
But Jesus said, "Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me."
The woman realized that people would notice her. Shaking with fear, she came and fell at his feet. In front of everyone, she told why she had touched him. She also told how she had been healed in an instant.
Then he said to her, "Dear woman, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus. Jairus was the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," the messenger said. "Don't bother the teacher anymore."
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just believe. She will be healed."
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let everyone go in with him. He took only Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother.
During this time, all the people were crying and sobbing loudly over the child. "Stop crying!" Jesus said. "She is not dead. She is sleeping."
They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.
But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!"
Her spirit returned, and right away she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Her parents were amazed. But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.