Matthew 13

Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

 1 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

   “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

 10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

   For they look, but they don’t really see.
      They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

   ‘When you hear what I say,
      you will not understand.
   When you see what I do,
      you will not comprehend.
   15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
      and their ears cannot hear,
   and they have closed their eyes—
      so their eyes cannot see,
   and their ears cannot hear,
      and their hearts cannot understand,
   and they cannot turn to me
      and let me heal them.’[b]

 16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.

Jesus, Thank-you for Your Word.  Thank-you for the little understanding I have.  Thank-you for speaking to me through the Bible and through others.  Your mercy and love are amazing. 

I know Jesus that I can be hard hearted.  I know You speak so often to me, and I hear so seldom.  There is so much I do not understand.  Please Lord, don’t let me harden my heart.  Open my ears and my eyes.  Keep me soft, and kind, and gentle and loving, so I can hear You and see You and be changed by You.  Change me Lord, Change me.                

 18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Jesus, I know this is a warning to me.  I know which I am in danger of becoming.  At times in my life, I have been all of these, but right now, the weeds are choking off the good seed.  I see them and I feel them.

What am I to do Lord?  I know my jobs are becoming more and more time-consuming.  I am also becoming obsessed with one of them.  I see it as my future and I enjoy it immensely.  I think I could someday make a lot of money at it, and give a lot of money away.  But is that just an excuse?  Are You calling me to give up the job I love and enjoy to devote myself to prayer?  I can’t hardly believe that, but it could be.

Jesus, you know I don’t have any peace in my prayers this morning.  My mind is wondering to my work.  I feel empty and I’m scared.  Perhaps I am drowning in the “weeds” of my life.  I need You worse than anything else Lord.  If I’m to give up the job I like the most, make it clear.  Or are You calling me to bring You into that job, trust You, and leave the other?

Lord, I would like to say I’ll do whatever You want, but I’m scared.  Yet You have never led me wrong.  OK, I’ll do what You want, but You will need to make it perfectly clear.  Guide me Jesus, and give me faith. 

Parable of the Wheat and Weeds

 24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

 27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

 28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

   “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

 29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Jesus, You have changed me from a weed to wheat.  Not the best stalk of wheat in Your Kingdom, but not a weed.  Please never let me turn away from You to return to being a weed.

Teach me tenderness Lord.  If I can be so blessed as to be one of Your workers, help me to remember not to pull up the weeds now.  You didn’t pull me up.  It is hard to see the difference sometimes between a young wheat plant and a young weed.  You are tender and slow to anger Jesus.  You have patience to wait till harvest so You don’t lose any wheat.  Give me patience Lord.  Help me be more gentle.

Parable of the Mustard Seed

 31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Parable of the Yeast

 33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

Jesus, just a little bit of Your kingdom makes a bid difference, both in the world around me, and in my own life.  It is easy to see how Your love and Your kingdom effects the world.  True Christians feed the poor and help the sick more than anyone else. 

But Jesus, what about Your yeast in the dough of my life?  Have I left You rise in me?  Or every time You start to really change me, do I start to kneed the dough so it doesn’t rise?

I know I have been impatient with the change in my life Jesus.  I know I keep going back to my worries and my grouchiness.  But You really have change me.  You have been with me my entire life, but how You have worked in my lately has been amazing.  Not that long ago I was a proud hypocrite…as judgmental as any Pharisee.  I’m sure I still have a long way to go, but I’m a lot different than I was.  I hope I show others a little bit of the mercy and patience You have shown me.

Jesus, keep changing me.  Please change my life more and more.  Change all of me like yeast changes all of the dough.  Change me.

34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. 35 This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet:

   “I will speak to you in parables.
      I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.[c]

Parable of the Wheat and Weeds Explained

 36 Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”

 37 Jesus replied, “The Son of Man[d] is the farmer who plants the good seed. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. 39 The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world,[e] and the harvesters are the angels.

 40 “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

Jesus, give me a fear of hell.  If You say it is a fiery furnace, that is what it is.  Don’t let me think of it as something less awful than it is, though I probably can’t comprehend how bad it is. 

Then use that fear to motivate me to spread Your good news.  If hell is an awful place, I should be scrambling to make sure as few people as possible end up there.  I seldom speak about You, even to those closest to me.  My prayer time is not intense crying out for the souls around me, as it should be.  I am not a good worker for Your kingdom.  Change me.   

Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

 44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

 45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

Jesus, don’t let me lose that excitement.  Help me be willing to sell all that I have to have Your kingdom alive and well in me.  I cling to my things so much.

Perhaps we need to start by helping me see the value of Your kingdom.  I know I can’t fully comprehend in Jesus, but You can open my eyes.  Give me a heart that values Your Kingdom as a “treasure”.  Help me see how worthless “all that I have” is, when compared to Your Kingdom.  I know this could cost me my “stuff” and my dignity in this world, but I trust You that it will all be worth it.  Change me Lord – and please hurry. 

Parable of the Fishing Net

 47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48 When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49 That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, 50 throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand all these things?”

  “Yes,” they said, “we do.”

Jesus, please catch me and my family in Your net and let us be good fish.  I know I can be wicked Jesus.  I know I can sin.  Sometimes I feel like I am on the edge of falling into total wickedness and abandoning You.  Why do I feel that way sometimes Jesus?  Please don’t let that happen.  Please keep me, my wife, and my children close to You.  Keep us in Your kingdom.D

Do I understand all these things?  Not even close.  I know I am missing so much when I read Your Word Jesus.  Holy Spirit, open my eyes and ears and heart.  Bring to light Your ways and Your Word.  Enliven my understanding.  Change me every day Lord.

 52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”

Jesus, help me bring form some gems for y family and friends from time to time.  Whether it is a wise word, or an act of kindness, or a good example.  I don’t feel like I’ve brought forth anything good at all lately, especially for my family.  When will I be changed Lord?  Help!

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

 53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. 54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph,[f] Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

   Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

Why are we hurt the most by those we love?  Perhaps I should ask, why do I hurt those I love the most?  Lord, how often are You coming to me through someone I see every day, and I reject You?  I’m sure You a trying to touch me through my spouse or children, and I push them aside.

And Lord, what am I to do when I am the one being pushed aside?  I’m not a prophet at all, I know that.  I just wish I and my spouse could share scripture reading time and prayer time, but we don’t.  I’ve completely blown that.  I once thought I knew so much that I was a jerk.  Now I think I know so little, I’m ashamed.

I need to be changed Lord.  I’m doing something wrong, because the change is so slow.  Help Lord, help.  Change me, please hurry. 


  1. Matthew 13:11 Greek the mysteries.
  2. Matthew 13:15 Isa 6:9-10 (Greek version).
  3. Matthew 13:35 Some manuscripts do not include of the world. Ps 78:2.
  4. Matthew 13:37 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  5. Matthew 13:39 Or the age; also in 13:40, 49.
  6. Matthew 13:55 Other manuscripts read Joses; still others read John.