Again Jesus began to teach by the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was very large. So he got into a boat. He sat down in it out on the lake. All the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
He taught them many things by using stories. In his teaching he said,
"Listen! 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. So the plants did not bear grain.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted."
Then Jesus said, "Those who have ears should listen."
Later Jesus was alone. The Twelve asked him about the stories. So did the others around him.
He told them, "The secret of God's kingdom has been given to you. But to outsiders everything is told by using stories.
In that way, " 'They will see but never know what they are seeing. They will hear but never understand. Otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' " (Isaiah 6:9,10)
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this story? Then how will you understand any stories of this kind?
The seed the farmer plants is God's message.
What is seed scattered on a path like? The message is planted. The people hear the message. Then Satan comes. He takes away the message that was planted in them.
And what is seed scattered on rocky places like? The people hear the message. At once they 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.
And what is seed scattered among thorns like? The people hear the message.
But then the worries of this life come to them. Wealth comes with its false promises. The people also long for other things. All of those are the kinds of things that crowd out the message. They keep it from producing fruit.
And what is seed scattered on good soil like? The people hear the message. They accept it. They produce a good crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted."
Jesus said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a large bowl or a bed? Don't you put it on its stand?
What is hidden is meant to be seen. And what is put out of sight is meant to be brought out into the open.
Everyone who has ears should listen."
"Think carefully about what you hear," he said. "As you give, so you will receive. In fact, you will receive even more.
If you have something, you will be given more. If you have nothing, even what you have will be taken away from you."
Jesus also said, "Here is what God's kingdom is like. A farmer scatters seed on the ground.
Night and day the seed comes up and grows. It happens whether the farmer sleeps or gets up. He doesn't know how it happens.
All by itself the soil produces grain. First the stalk comes up. Then the head appears. Finally, the full grain appears in the head.
Before long the grain ripens. So the farmer cuts it down, because the harvest is ready."
Again Jesus said, "What can we say God's kingdom is like? What story can we use to explain it?
It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed planted in the ground.
But when you plant the seed, it grows. It becomes the largest of all garden plants. Its branches are so big that birds can rest in its shade."
Using many stories like those, Jesus spoke the word to them. He told them as much as they could understand.
He did not say anything to them without using a story. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything.
When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake."
They left the crowd behind. And they took him along in a boat, just as he was. There were also other boats with him.
A wild storm came up. Waves crashed over the boat. It was about to sink.
Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up. They said, "Teacher! Don't you care if we drown?"
He got up and ordered the wind to stop. He said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down. And it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Don't you have any faith at all yet?"
They were terrified. They asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"