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The Illustration of the Planter

(Chapter 13, verses 1-9)

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       (1) That very same day Jesus left the house and was sitting by the sea. (2) So many people gathered to hear him speak that he boarded a boat and sat in it. Everyone else stood on the beach. (3) He then related to them many things by illustrations, saying: "Listen up! A man went out to plant seeds, scattering them as he walked. (4) As he sprinkled the seeds, some fell alongside the road, only to be eaten by birds. (5) Others landed on gravel where there wasn't much topsoil. Not surprisingly, they sprang up right away since the soil was so shallow. (6) But at sunrise they were burned dry because the root couldn't extract enough moisture from the shallow soil. (7) Other seeds bounced into thorn patches where the thorns came up and strangled them. (8) Some of the seed, though, found their way to fine soil where they grew and bore fruit; one a hundredfold, another sixty, still another, thirty. (9) Let those with spiritual ears discern the meaning and respond."

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Getting the Sense of Illustrations

(Chapter 13, verses 10-17)

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       (10) His disciples now approached him and asked: "Why do you use illustrations when speaking to the crowds?" (11) Jesus replied: "As my disciples, you have been endowed with comprehending the holy mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens. The uninitiated haven't been gifted with such understanding. (12) For whoever has will be given more, and he'll flourish as a result. But whoever doesn't have, even what's his will be confiscated. (13) That's why I speak to them in illustrations, because, although they are looking they see nothing at all; and although they're hearing, they really don't hear with the correct understanding. (14) They actually fulfill the prophecy written by Isaiah when he said, 'Even though you're hearing, the correct understanding isn't registering. And even though you're looking, you really don't see what's being said. (15) For the heart of this people has gradually become unresponsive; and although they have ears, they haven't acted on what they've heard. They've shut their eyes and closed their ears to the truth. Hence, they never give themselves a chance to discern the truth with their eyes, or really hear it and act accordingly. If they had a heartfelt appreciation for truth, they would take a different course of action, and I would certainly heal them.' (16) However, you have godly serenity and are cheerfully content because you see the truth with your eyes and hear it with your ears. (17) For I'm here to tell you truthfully, Many prophets and righteous men yearned to see the things you're seeing, and hear what you're hearing, but never got the opportunity.

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Understanding the Illustration of the Planter

(Chapter 13, verses 18-23)

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       (18) "Listen, all of you, while I explain the meaning of the illustration of the planter. (19) When someone hears but doesn't really understand the kingdom message, the wicked one comes and swipes what has been planted in his heart. This is the seed that fell alongside the road. (20) As for the one that fell on the gravel, this is the one that hears the truth and joyfully accepts it. (21) Yet, he's not really rooted in the truth. So when he faces hardship or is victimized because of it, he immediately falters. (22) As for the one that bounced in the thorn patch, this one hears the truth, but the stress and uneasiness of living in this world, coupled with the futility of trying to make more money, strangle and suffocate the truth, and he becomes unfruitful. (23) Now, the one planted in the good soil hears and understands the truth, and thereafter bears fruit; a hundred times more in one case, sixty times more in another case, and thirty time more in yet another case."

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The Illustration of the

Wheat and the Weeds

(Chapter 13, verses 24-30)

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       (24) He presented another agricultural illustration to them (since they were mostly farmers), saying: "The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that planted good quality seed in his field. (25) While he and his male servants slept, another man, his enemy, came and planted weeds among the wheat, and then disappeared stealthily into the night. (26) Sometime later when the seeds sprouted and produced fruit, the weeds made their debut also. (27) So the householder's servants approached him and said, 'Master, didn't you plant good quality seed in your field? Why are weeds showing up also?' (28) He replied: 'A saboteur, an enemy of mine, did this.' They asked him, 'Do you want us to remove the weeds?' (29) He said: 'No, not yet. You guys might accidentally uproot the wheat. (30) Leave both of them as they are until the harvest. At that time I'll tell the gatherers, First single out the weeds, bundle them up and burn them. After that, gather the wheat and be sure to put it in the storage facility.'"

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The Illustration of the Mustard

Grain and the Yeast

(Chapter 13, verses 31-35)

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       (31) Switching to another illustration, he continued, saying: "The kingdom of the heavens is just like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in his field. (32) Although it is the smallest of all the seeds around here, when it reaches maturity it is the largest of the vegetables; and when it becomes a tree, the birds in the sky come and rest on its branches." (33) He started with another illustration: "The kingdom of the heavens is like yeast which a woman took and hid in three large containers of flour until all of it fermented." (34) He said all these things to the crowds by way of illustrations. In fact, he wouldn't talk to them without using an illustration. (35) This was done so that what the prophet chronicled about him could be fulfilled when he wrote: "I'll speak with illustrations when I open my mouth, and when I do, I'll proclaim things hidden from the beginning."

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Understanding the Illustration

of the Wheat and the Weeds

(Chapter 13, verses 36-43)

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       (36) After dispersing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples followed right behind him and requested: "Explain to us the meaning of the illustration about the weeds in the field." (37) He replied by saying: "The planter of the good quality seed is the Son of man; (38) the field is the world at large, and the good quality seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds, though, are the sons of the wicked one, (39) and the enemy that planted them is the Devil himself. The harvest is the closing period of an interdependent global structure, and the gatherers are angels. (40) Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and torched, so it'll be during the closing period of the interdependent global structure. (41) The Son of man will dispatch his angels, and they'll retrieve from his kingdom everything that causes faltering, and people committing wicked­ness, (42) and they'll fling them into the blazing furnace. There is where their crying and bruxism take place. (43) At the same time, the righteous ones radiate God's glory while in the kingdom of their Father. Let those with spiritual ears listen and respond.

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The Illustrations of the Hidden Treasure,

the Valuable Pearl, and the Dragnet

(Chapter 13, verses 44-52)

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       (44) "A man found a treasure and hid it in a field. Well, the kingdom of the heavens is like that hidden treasure. The man is so delighted he sells everything he has and buys that field. (45) Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a traveling salesman looking to buy fine pearls. (46) When he found a very nice expensive one, he immediately left, sold everything he'd previously purchased, and bought the pearl. (47) Yet again, the kingdom of the heavens is similar to a dragnet that has been lowered into the sea. It swept up all kinds of fishes, and that on the first try. (48) After it got full they towed it to the beach, sat down, and got down to the business of separating the fine fish from the unsuitable ones. The fine ones they put into contain­ers, but the ones unfit to eat they discarded. (49) It's going to be the same way during the closing period of the interdependent global structure: the angels will advance forth to separate the wicked from the righteous (50) and will cast the wicked into the blazing furnace. There is where their crying and bruxism take place.

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       (51) "Did you guys fully comprehend the point being made in each illustration?" They said to him: "Yes, we did." (52) Then he said: "That being the case, realize that every scribe or educator who teaches publicly, when taught the truth about the kingdom of the heavens, is like a man, a homeowner, who brings new and old things out of his treasure trove."

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Hometown Crowd Stumbles Over Jesus

(Chapter 13, verses 53-58)

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       (53) When Jesus concluded his array of illustrations he left there and went across country. (54) Upon arriving in his hometown, he went straight to the synagogue and began teaching. People were flabbergasted and asked: "How did this man get to be so wise and perform so many miracles? (55) Isn't that the carpenter's oldest boy? Isn't his mother's name Mary? And aren't his younger brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? (56) The entire family, including his sisters, all live here with us in the community, don't they?" (57) So they looked down on him. But Jesus made this comment about their musings: "A prophet is held in high esteem and is well re­spected everywhere except in his own hometown, and among his family members." (58) Because of this he restricted the number of miracles he performed there. Their lack of faith didn't warrant fuller miraculous expressions.

To Matthew Chapter 14