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Chapter 4

1Then he began again to teach by the seashore. And a crowd gathered around him so great that he got into a boat and sat in it, a little way from the shore, while all the people were on the land close to the water. 2He taught them many lessons in figures, and said to them in the course of his teaching,

3“Listen: A sower went out to sow, 4and as he was sowing, some of the seed chanced to fall by the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some of it fell on rocky ground, and where there was not much soil, and it sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, 6but when the sun came up, it was scorched, and withered up, because it had no root. 7Some of the seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it out, and it yielded no grain. 8And some fell on good soil, and came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.”

9And he said,

“Let him who has ears be sure to listen!”

10When he was by himself, those who stayed about him with the Twelve asked him about the figures he had used. 11And he said to them,

“To you has been intrusted the secret of the reign of God, but to those outsiders, everything is offered in figures, 12so that

“ ‘They may look and look and yet not see,

And listen and listen and yet not understand,

Lest possibly they should turn and be forgiven.’ ”,

13And Jesus said,

“If you do not understand this figure, then how will you understand my other figures? 14What the sower sows is the message. 15The ones by the path are those into whose hearts the message falls, and as soon as they hear it Satan comes and carries off the message that has been sown in their hearts. 16It is so too with the ones sown on the rocky ground; they gladly accept the message as soon as they hear it, 17but it takes no real root in them and they last only a little while; then when trouble or persecution comes because of the message they give it up at once. 18It is different with those sown among the thorns. They are people who listen to the message, 19but the worries of the time and the pleasure of being rich and passions for other things creep in and choke the message out and it yields nothing. 20And the ones sown in good ground are the people who listen to the message and welcome it and yield thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.

21“Do people get out the lamp,” he said to them, “and then put it under the peck-measure, or under the bed, instead of putting it up where it belongs? 22For no one hides anything except for the purpose of sometime bringing it to light again, and people keep things secret only to reveal them some day. 23If anyone has ears let him be sure to listen.

24“Take care what you hear,” he said to them. “The measure you give will be given to you, and even more besides. 25For people who have will have more given them, and from people who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.

26“The reign of God,” he said, “is like a man scattering seed on the ground, 27and then sleeping at night and getting up by day, while the seed sprouts and comes up, without his knowing it. 28The ground of itself is productive, putting forth first a blade, then a head, then fully developed wheat in the head. 29But as soon as the crop will let him, the man goes in with his sickle, for the harvest time has come.

30“How can we find any comparison,” he said, “for the reign of God, or what figure can we use to describe it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown in the ground, though it is the smallest of all the seeds in the world, 32yet once sown, comes up and grows to be the largest of all the plants, and produces branches so large that the wild birds can roost under the shelter of it.”

33With many such figures he told them the message, as far as they were able to receive it. 34He said nothing to them except in figures, but in private he explained everything to his own disciples.

35That same day when it was evening he said to them,

“Let us cross to the other side.”

36So they left the crowd and took him away in the boat in which he was sitting. There were other boats with him. 37And a heavy squall of wind came on and the waves dashed into the boat, so that it was beginning to fill. 38He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him up and said to him,

“Master, does it make no difference to you that we are sinking?”

39Then he awoke and reproved the wind, and said to the sea,

“Hush! Silence!”

And the wind went down and there was a great calm. 40And he said to them,

“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

41And they were very much frightened, and said to one another,

“Who can he be? For even the wind and the sea obey him.”

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