God On The Net

Parables of Jesus in
Matthew and Mark

Parables on this page are found
in the Gospels of Matthew or Mark.


It is important to realize that Jesus did not simply teach about how to live a 'good' life or be a 'nice person'.  Each of His parables also taught about The Relationship Between God and Man.


Matthew 20:1-15  [1] "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.  [2] He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  [3] "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  [4] He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' [5] So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.  [6] About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?' [7] " `Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.' [8] "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.' [9] "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  [10] So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  [11] When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  [12] `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' [13] "But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?  [14] Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.  [15] Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'


Matthew 13:24  [24] Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  [25] But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  [26] When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  [27] "The owner's servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' [28] " `An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?' [29] "`No,' he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  [30] Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

Matthew 13:36  [36] Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."  [37] He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.  [38] The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, [39] and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  [40] "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  [41] The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  [42] They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.


Matthew 13:31-32  [31] He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  [32] Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."


Matthew 13:33 He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

Note: In the Bible yeast is usually a symbol for evil -- a little bit of evil spreads and changes everything. However, the NIV Study Bible footnote indicates in Matthew 13:33 yeast is a symbol of growth. The kingdom of heaven gradually spreads throughout a person's life and begins to affect everything he does.


Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.


Matthew 13:45-46  [45] "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  [46] When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.


Matthew 13:47-52  [47] "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  [48] When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  [49] This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous [50] and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."


Matthew 13:51-52  [51] "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied.  [52] He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."


Matthew 15:1-2,10-11,15,17-20  [1] Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, [2] "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"  [10] Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand.  [11] What goes into a man's mouth does not make him `unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him`unclean.'"

[15] Peter said, "Explain the parable to us."

[17] "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  [18] But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.' [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  [20] These are what make a man `unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him `unclean.'"


Matthew 21:33-41  [33] "Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.  [34] When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.  [35] "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.  [36] Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.  [37] Last of all, he sent his son to them. `They will respect my son,' he said.  [38] "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' [39] So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.  [40] "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"  [41] "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."

Matthew 21:42-45  [42] Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: " `The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes' ?  [43] "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.  [44] He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."  [45] When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them.

Mark 12:1-12  [1] He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.  [2] At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.  [3] But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  [4] Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully.  [5] He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.  [6] "He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, `They will respect my son.' [7] "But the tenants said to one another, `This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' [8] So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.  [9] "What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.  [10] Haven't you read this scripture: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; [11] the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"  [12] Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.


Matthew 21:28-31b  [28] "What do you [some Pharisees] think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, `Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' [29] " `I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.  [30] "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, `I will, sir,' but he did not go.  [31] "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered.

Matthew 21:31c-32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  [32] For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.


Matthew 22:1-14  [1] Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: [2] "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  [3] He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.  [4] "Then he sent some more servants and said, `Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' [5] "But they paid no attention and went off -- one to his field, another to his business.  [6] The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.  [7] The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  [8] "Then he said to his servants, `The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.  [9] Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' [10] So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.  [11] "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.  [12] `Friend,' he asked, `how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.  [13] "Then the king told the attendants, `Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' [14] "For many are invited, but few are chosen."


Mark 3:22-30  [22] And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."  [23] So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan?  [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  [25] If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  [26] And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.  [27] In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.  [28] I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.  [29] But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."  [30] He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."


Mark 4:21-25  [21] He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?  [22] For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  [23] If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."  [24] "Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you -- and even more.  [25] Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."


Mark 4:26-29  [26] He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.  [27] Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  [28] All by itself the soil produces grain -- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  [29] As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."


Matthew 18:23-35 [23] "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. [24] As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. [25] Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. [26] "The servant fell on his knees before him. `Be patient with me,' he begged, `and I will pay back everything.' [27] The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. [28] "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. `Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. [29] "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, `Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' [30] "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. [31] When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. [32] "Then the master called the servant in. `You wicked servant,' he said, `I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. [33] Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' [34] In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. [35] "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."


Matthew 24:32-33 [32] "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. [33] Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.


Matthew 25:1-13  [1] "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  [2] Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  [3] The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  [4] The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  [5] The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  [6] "At midnight the cry rang out: `Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'  [7] "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  [8] The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'  [9] " `No,' they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you.  Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'  [10] "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And the door was shut.  [11] "Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!' they said. `Open the door for us!' [12] "But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' [13] "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Jesus' parables normally were based around activities His listeners were familiar with. For a better understanding of the activities, see The Marriage of Jesus and The Elect.


Matthew 25:14-30   [14] "Again, it [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. [15] To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. [16] The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. [17] So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  [18] But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.  [19] "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. [20] The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,' he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'  [21] "His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'  [22] "The man with the two talents also came. `Master,' he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'   [23] "His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'  [24] "Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,' he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. [25] So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'  [26] "His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  [27] Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.  [28] " `Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. [29] For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  [30] And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

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See The Sower (in Matthew)



(c) 1998 by Rick Reinckens

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