Matthew 13:31-58 The Message Bible

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31  Another story. "God's kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. 32  It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it."

The Parable of the Leaven

33  Another story. "God's kingdom is like yeast that a woman works into the dough for dozens of loaves of barley bread - and waits while the dough rises."

Jesus' Use of Parables

34  All Jesus did that day was tell stories - a long storytelling afternoon. 35  His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world's first day.

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

36  Jesus dismissed the congregation and went into the house. His disciples came in and said, "Explain to us that story of the thistles in the field." 37  So he explained. "The farmer who sows the pure seed is the Son of Man. 38  The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, 39  and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels. 40  "The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. 41  The Son of Man will send his angels, weed out the thistles from his kingdom, 42  pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heaven, but nobody is going to listen. 43  At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?

The Hidden Treasure

44  "God's kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidently found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic - what a find! - and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.

The Pearl of Great Price

45  "Or, God's kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. 46  Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.

The Net

47  "Or, God's kingdom is like a fishnet cast into the sea, catching all kinds of fish. 48  When it is full, it is hauled onto the beach. The good fish are picked out and put in a tub; those unfit to eat are thrown away. 49  That's how it will be when the curtain comes down on history. The angels will come and cull the bad fish 50  and throw them in the garbage. There will be a lot of desperate complaining, but it won't do any good."

Treasures New and Old

51  Jesus asked, "Are you starting to get a handle on all this?" They answered, "Yes." 52  He said, "Then you see how every student well-trained in God's kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it."

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53  When Jesus finished telling these stories, he left there, 54  returned to his hometown, and gave a lecture in the meetinghouse. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. "We had no idea he was this good!" they said. "How did he get so wise, get such ability?" 55  But in the next breath they were cutting him down: "We've known him since he was a kid; he's the carpenter's son. We know his mother, Mary. We know his brothers James and Joseph, Simon and Judas. 56  All his sisters live here. Who does he think he is?" 57  They got their noses all out of joint. 58  But Jesus said, "A prophet is taken for granted in his hometown and his family." He didn't do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference.

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