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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 13

1 Later that same day, Jesus went out and sat down by the lake.2 Soon, a large crowd of people gathered. The crowd was so large that Jesus got into a boat, sat in it, and moved a little way off shore, while the people gathered along the shore.3Then he taught them many truths, using parables. He said: "A farmer went out to plant seed.4 As he spread the seed, some fell along the road, and birds quickly ate it up.5 Some fell amongst the rocks, where there wasn't much soil, and it sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow;6 but when the sun came up, the plants withered and died because they had no roots.7 Other seed fell among the weeds and thorns which grew and choked the good plants.8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it took root and produced a bountiful crop–a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.9 Those whose minds are open to truth, let them understand."

10 Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you use parables, metaphors and illustrations when speaking to the crowds?"

11 He told them: "The understanding of the secrets of God's kingdom of love is taught to you because your hearts are open to receive it, but their minds are not ready to accept the truth, so parables must be used.12 Whoever embraces the truth and applies it to their life will experience expansion of their understanding and will comprehend more truth. But whoever closes their mind to truth, refusing to embrace and apply it, will lose even the little understanding they have.13 So, why do I speak to them in parables? Because though they see with their eyes, their minds do not comprehend; and though they hear with their ears, they do not understand the meaning.

14 "God's spokesman Isaiah was talking about these people, and others just like them, when he said: 'You hear but you don't understand; you see but you don't comprehend.15 For this reason, people's hearts have hardened and are insensitive to truth; they close their ears to ideas that challenge their traditions and close their eyes to truths that would require a change of their habits. If they didn't, they would see the truth of their condition and hear the promise of the healing Remedy, and understand with their hearts their need of me. They would turn to me in trust, and I would heal them.'

16 "But you are blessed because your eyes are open and your minds understand what you see, and your ears are open and you comprehend what you hear.17 I tell you the plain truth, many of God's spokespersons — and others whose hearts were healed — longed to be where you are, see what you see, and hear what you hear, but they could not.

18 "So pay attention as I explain what the parable of the farmer means:19 The seed represents the truth about God's kingdom of love. Whenever someone hears the truth about God's kingdom of love but doesn't understand it, Satan distracts them, filling their minds with worldly things so that the truth is quickly forgotten — this is the seed that fell on the road.20 The seed that fell amongst the rocks represents the person who hears the truth and immediately accepts it with joy,21 but the truth was only accepted as an idea — it did not take root in the heart, get applied to life, or get incorporated into the character. Such a person doesn't last long when living out the truth results in trials or persecutions, and they quickly abandon it.22 The seed falling amongst the weeds and thorns represents those who hear the truth but allow worries, fears, insecurities about temporal matters, and the false security in wealth to strangle it; and their life remains selfish and fails to bear the fruit of a loving character.23 But the seed falling on good soil represents those who hear, comprehend and apply the truth to their lives. They experience a transformation of character, and love others more than self, yielding a harvest of a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown."

24 Jesus used another parable to teach them. "God's creation is like a man who planted only good seed in his field;25 but while everyone was sleeping, an enemy slipped in, planted weeds among the wheat, and then snuck away.26 When the wheat sprouted and produced heads, the weeds grew up with the wheat.27 The owner's laborers came to him and asked, 'What happened? Didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where did all the weeds come from?'28 He told them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the workers asked, 'Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?'29 'No!' he answered; 'While pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until harvest time. At that time, the harvesters will separate the weeds from the wheat: the weeds will be burned, and the wheat will be brought into my barn.'"

31 Jesus told them another parable: "Consider how the kingdom of heaven is similar to a mustard seed which a someone planted in their field.32 Though the mustard seed is the smallest seed they sow, when it grows, it becomes the largest plant in the garden, growing into a tree that provides shade and comfort for the birds. Consider how the smallest act of love is like that seed."

33 He told them yet another parable: "God's kingdom of love is like yeast mixed into a large amount of flour until it permeates the entire dough."

34 Jesus never spoke to the people without using parables,35 so he fulfilled what God's spokespersons foretold: "I will teach in parables, revealing truths obscured since the creation of the world."

36 After Jesus left the crowd and went into the house, his disciples came to him and said, "Please explain to us the meaning of the parable of the weeds in the field."

37 He said: "The Son of Man is the One who planted the good seed.38 The field represents the world, and the good seed represents those who have accepted the Remedy and have loving characters, and are therefore children of the kingdom of love. The weeds are those who have rejected the Remedy and have selfish characters, and are therefore children of the evil selfish one;39 and the enemy is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and the harvesters are the angels.

40 "Just as the weeds are pulled and consumed in the fire, so too, at the end of time, the wicked will be consumed.41 The Son of Man will send out his angels who will weed out all the terminally ill — those who refused healing — and every source of the infection of evil.42 They will be thrown into the eternal fire of God's love and truth, where all sin and selfishness is consumed, causing overwhelming agony of mind and torment of soul.43 But the righteous will shine brighter than the sun in the eternal kingdom of their Father. Those with minds open to hear and comprehend will understand.

44 "God's kingdom of heavenly love is like a hidden treasure discovered in a field. It is so valuable that the person who finds it becomes so overwhelmed with awe that they sell everything they own in order to possess that field.

45 "Or, the kingdom of heavenly love is like a jeweler looking for the finest pearls.46When they find a perfect one of immense value, they sell everything they own in order to possess it.

47 "Or, God's kingdom of heavenly love is like a dragnet let down into the sea, which caught every kind of fish.48 When it was full, the fisherman pulled it in and collected the healthy fish, but threw away the diseased ones.49 This is how it will be at the end of time: The angels will come and separate the healed from those who remain terminal in sin and selfishness.50 The terminal–those who refused healing–will be thrown into the eternal fire of God's love and truth, where all sin and selfishness is consumed, causing overwhelming agony of mind and torment of soul.

51 "Have you understood the meaning of these parables?" Jesus asked.

"Yes," they replied.

52 So he told them, "Then remember that every effective intern — one who teaches the healing power of God's methods and principles — is like a homeowner who knows the worth and use of both old and new treasures, and brings out the most appropriate valuable at the right time."

53 After Jesus finished telling these parables, he left the area.54 When he came to his hometown, he went to the synagogue and began teaching the people. They were stunned by what he taught. "Where did he learn such wisdom and get such miraculous abilities?" they asked.55 "Didn't he grow up here as the son of the carpenter? Isn't he Mary's son? Aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?56 Doesn't he have sisters who live here? So where did he learn all of this and get these abilities?"57 They were incensed that he would presume to teach them, so Jesus said to them, "Only at home — in his hometown — is a spokesman of God devalued and discounted."

58 He was unable to do many miracles because they were so distrustful and suspicious.