4:1Once again Jesus began to teach by the sea. A large crowd gathered to him, so he got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd was on land facing the sea.4:2He taught them with many parables; for example:4:3“Listen! Out came a farmer to sow seeds.4:4And as he did so, some of them fell along the side of the path, where the birds came and ate them.
4:5“Others fell onto rocky ground where there wasn’t much soil. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.4:6But when the sun came up, it scorched them because they had no root.4:7Still others fell among thorns, which grew up and chocked the plants so that they could not produce.
4:8“Yet others fell into ideal soil where they grew and prospered. By the time they all finished growing and producing, one seed had multiplied by thirty, another by sixty, and yet another by a hundred.”4:9And he added, “Whoever has ears, listen!”
4:10Now when he was alone with the disciples, the Twelve asked him about the parables.4:11And he said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to outsiders, everything is said in parables,4:12such that ’though watching, they do not see, and though listening, they do not hear and understand. If they did, they might someday turn around and be forgiven’.”
4:13Then he continued: “Don’t you perceive this parable? Then how will you grasp the rest of them?4:14The farmer is sowing the Word.14:15The seeds along the side of the path represent those who hear the Word but the Adversary comes and takes it away.
4:16“The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the Word and gladly accept it right away.4:17But there is no root in them; they are shallow. So when oppression or trials come because of the Word, they are easily tripped up.4:18And the seeds among the thorns represent those who hear the Word,4:19but it becomes choked by the anxieties of life, the allure of wealth, and other desires, so the Word is unproductive.4:20But the seeds on ideal soil represent those who hear the Word and gladly accept it. They product thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was sown.”
4:21Then he said to them, “Nobody puts a lamp under a container or bed; don’t they put it on a lampstand instead?4:22For there is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing cloaked that won’t be made obvious.4:23If you have ears, listen!”4:24And he added, “Listen carefully! Whatever measure you use will be used on you— with a bonus!4:25For those who have much will be given more, but those who have little will be deprived of even that.
4:26“The kingdom of God is like this,” he continued. “A farmer plants seeds4:27and goes to bed, then wakes up the next day and the seed has sprouted and grown. The farmer has no idea how this happens;4:28the earth just automatically produces the stalk, then the ear, and then the full head of grain.4:29And when it ripens it is time to get out the sickle, because the harvest is ready.”
4:30And he went on: “To what can we compare the kingdom of God? What parable can we use?4:31It is like a mustard seed, one of the tiniest that gets planted in the ground.4:32After planting, it grows up to become the biggest vegetable, with branches large enough to provide shade for the birds to nest.”4:33And with many such parables he spoke the Word to them, according to what they could grasp.4:34In fact, he never spoke without using parables, though he explained them all to his disciples privately.
4:35Later that day as evening approached, he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.”4:36So they left the crowd and took him, since he was already in the boat. Other boats went along as well.4:37But a storm came up with strong winds, and the waves beat on the boat to the point that it was filled with water.
4:38Now Jesus was sleeping on a cushion at the stern, so they woke him up and were saying, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we are about to die?”4:39And when he was fully awake he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Shut up!” Then the wind died down and there was great calm.
4:40“What cowards you are!” he said to them. “You have no faith!”
4:41Great fear came over them and they said to each other, “Who can this be, since the wind and the sea listen to him?!”
- 1Jesus identifies the farmer as either God or someone spreading the Gospel, while the seed is the Gospel itself. So the soil represents the people who hear it, and the fault of an unproductive crop lies with the condition of their hearts. So when adversity comes, the people are responsible for their reactions.