The Weeds

(Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43)

The Parable of the Weeds, or more popularly known as “The Parable of the Wheat and Tares,” is only recorded by the Gospel writer, Matthew.  Jesus’ purpose is clearly to teach principles related to “the kingdom of heaven” for He begins with “The kingdom of heaven is like…”  Therefore, Jesus intends to reveal principles related to the “rule of God” as it would soon be manifested in the Person of His Son.   The Parable ExplainedThis parable is one of the few in which we have Jesus’ own explanation.  The explanation was given in response to the disciples’ inquiry (Mt 13:36)The explanation is found in Mt. 13:37-43. In answer to the disciples’ request, Jesus identifies:

THE SOWER – “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man

THE FIELD – “The field is the world

THE GOOD SEED (Wheat) – “The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom

THE TARES – “The tares are the sons of the wicked one

THE ENEMY – “The enemy who sowed them is the devil

THE HARVEST – “The harvest is the end of the age

THE REAPERS – “The reapers are the angels

Having identified the various elements of the parable, Jesus stresses the main points of the parable.  In verse 40, the problem of the “tares” will not be fully addressed until the “harvest.”  This is done out of consideration for the “good seed” (cf. Mt. 13:29).  In verse 41, it is at the end of the age that the Son of Man will finally resolve this problem.  With His angels He will “gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness” (i.e., the sons of the wicked one).  In verse 42, those so gathered out of His kingdom will be properly dealt with!  They are cast into “the furnace of fire”, where there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth!”  In verse 43, the blessedness of the “righteous” (the good seed, the sons of the kingdom) is described. After the harvest they will “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father!”  Jesus ends His explanation of the parable with the admonition: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:9).  The Parable AmplifiedFor those willing to listen, there are several truths to be gleaned from this parable as it relates to the kingdom of heaven, the church, and to our personal lives. ·       Christ is long-suffering, so you can grow! While Christ is certainly desirous that “all” men come to repentance, He has a special interest in those “sons of the kingdom” who are still growing! ·       This parable does not preclude church discipline The point of this parable is that Jesus Himself will not do anything visible until the end of the age when He comes with His angels.  Those in the church, however, have a personal responsibility to withdraw from believers who refuse to repent of sin. ·       The kingdom is both present and future   The kingdom is in existence prior to the end of the age when the Son of Man comes with His angels (v. 41) Upon His return, after the harvest, Christ will turn the kingdom over to His Father. ·       One may be in the kingdom now, but not in the future The angels will gather certain ones “out of His kingdom” who were “in the kingdom” and “cast into the furnace.”  Because of the very real danger of not “entering our heavenly rest,” believers find warnings to persevere in the faith. (Hebrews 3:12-14; 4:1-2, 11). ·       A place of punishment is the reward of the wicked Jesus in his teaching speaks often of a place prepared for the wicked.  Thus, a proper proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom must of necessity include a warning to those who do not receive the kingdom! The Parable Applied         This parable is a warning to all not to allow themselves to be influenced by the wicked one!  We learn from this parable, then, that the kingdom of heaven…    a. Will spread as people become “sons of the kingdom”     b. Will not prevent the efforts and influence of the devil (so expect to see some “tares”)    c. Though inaugurated with the Son of Man’s first coming and the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost will not be fully culminated until…             1) The Son of Man returns with His angels            2) He gathers all things out of His kingdom that offend and practice lawlessness            3) And delivers the kingdom to God

Applicatory Truth: Until the judgment day, it may be difficult to distinguish between real and nominal Christians within the kingdom of God.