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Matthew 13 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

A Story About Planting Seed

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Large crowds gathered around him. So Jesus got into a boat and sat, while the people stayed on the shore. Then Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He said: “A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Some seed fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t enough dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, the plants dried up because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and choked the good plants. Some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and became grain. Some plants made 100 times more grain. Other plants made 60 times more grain, and some made 30 times more grain. Let those with ears use them and listen!”

Why Jesus Used Stories to Teach

10 The followers came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you use stories to teach the people?”

11 Jesus answered, “Only you can know the secret truths about the kingdom of heaven. Other people cannot know these secret truths. 12 The person who has something will be given more. And he will have all he needs. But the person who does not have much, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I use stories to teach the people: They see, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really understand. 14 So they show that the things Isaiah said about them are true:

‘You will listen and listen, but you will not understand.
    You will look and look, but you will not learn.
15 For these people have become stubborn.
    They do not hear with their ears.
    And they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might really understand
    what they see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears.
They might really understand in their minds.
    If they did this, they would come back to me and be forgiven.’ Isaiah 6:9-10

16 But you are blessed. You understand the things you see with your eyes. And you understand the things you hear with your ears. 17 I tell you the truth. Many prophets and good people wanted to see the things that you now see. But they did not see them. And many prophets and good people wanted to hear the things that you now hear. But they did not hear them.

Jesus Explains the Seed Story

18 “So listen to the meaning of that story about the farmer. 19 What is the seed that fell by the road? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching about the kingdom but does not understand it. The Evil One comes and takes away the things that were planted in that person’s heart. 20 And what is the seed that fell on rocky ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and quickly accepts it with joy. 21 But he does not let the teaching go deep into his life. He keeps it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching he accepted, then he quickly gives up. 22 And what is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching but lets worries about this life and love of money stop that teaching from growing. So the teaching does not produce fruit[a] in that person’s life. 23 But what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and understands it. That person grows and produces fruit, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 30 times more.”

A Story About Wheat and Weeds

24 Then Jesus told them another story. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. 25 That night, when everyone was asleep, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. Then the enemy went away. 26 Later, the wheat grew and heads of grain grew on the wheat plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. 27 Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’ 28 The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’ The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to pull up the weeds?’ 29 The man answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. 30 Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At harvest time I will tell the workers this: First gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’”

Stories of Mustard Seed and Yeast

31 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. A man plants the seed in his field. 32 That seed is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows, it is one of the largest garden plants. It becomes a tree, big enough for the wild birds to come and make nests in its branches.”

33 Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman mixes into a big bowl of flour. The yeast makes all the dough rise.”

34 Jesus used stories to tell all these things to the people. He always used stories to teach people. 35 This is as the prophet said:

“I will speak using stories;
    I will tell things that have been secret since the world was made.” Psalm 78:2

Jesus Explains About the Wheat and Weeds

36 Then Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His followers came to him and said, “Explain to us the meaning of the story about the weeds in the field.”

37 Jesus answered, “The man who planted the good seed in the field is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. And the good seed are all of God’s children in the kingdom. The weeds are those people who belong to the Evil One. 39 And the enemy who planted the bad seed is the devil. The harvest time is the end of the age. And the workers who gather are God’s angels.

40 “The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. It will be this way at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels. They will gather out of his kingdom all who cause sin and all who do evil. 42 The angels will throw them into the blazing furnace. There the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain. 43 Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let those with ears use them and listen!

Stories of a Treasure and a Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field.

45 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls. 46 One day he found a very valuable pearl. The man went and sold everything he had to buy that pearl.

A Story of a Fishing Net

47 “Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was put into the lake. The net caught many different kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled the net to the shore. They sat down and put all the good fish in baskets. Then they threw away the bad fish. 49 It will be this way at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people. 50 The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace. In that place the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.”

51 Jesus asked his followers, “Do you understand all these things?”

They answered, “Yes, we understand.”

52 Then Jesus said to them, “So every teacher of the law who has been taught about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house. He has both new things and old things saved in his house. And he brings out both those new things and old things.”

Jesus Goes to His Hometown

53 When Jesus finished teaching with these stories, he left there. 54 He went to the town where he grew up. He taught the people in the synagogue, and they were amazed. They said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and this power to do miracles? 55 He is only the son of the carpenter. And his mother is Mary. His brothers are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. 56 And all his sisters are here with us. So where does this man get all these things?” 57 And the people refused to accept Jesus.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own town or in his own home.”

58 The people there did not believe in Jesus. So Jesus did not do many miracles there.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:22 produce fruit To produce fruit means to have in your life the good things God wants.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

Matthew 13 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[b] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”[c]

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Net

47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

A Prophet Without Honor

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 13:15 Isaiah 6:9,10 (see Septuagint)
  2. Matthew 13:33 Or about 27 kilograms
  3. Matthew 13:35 Psalm 78:2
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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