The Wheat & The Tares

In one sense, all of the Lord’s parables are about the kingdom of heaven, but there are a collection of parables which begin in Matthew 13 that we commonly call the kingdom parables. Each begins with the statement, “the kingdom of heaven is like.”

The first kingdom parable, recorded in Matthew 13:24-30, builds upon the parable of the sower which was just given. The sower spreads the seed in his field, with expectation of a good crop. However, while the workers of the field slept, an enemy slipped in and sowed tares (false grain, Strong’s) among the wheat. As the crop grows, the workers see that tares are growing along with the good grain. They do not doubt the quality of the seed which was sown by the master of the field, but do not know how to explain the presence of the tares. The owner of the field perceives that it was an enemy. But what should be done now?

The servants suggest that the tares be gathered up, but the master advised that they should let the tares grow along with the wheat, lest in their effort to remove the tares, they uproot the wheat also. At harvest time, the reapers would separate the tares from the wheat, burning the tares but gathering the wheat into the barn.

So, what does the parable mean? Last week, we said that more times than not, there is no explanation of the Lord’s parables given. We must do the work. We must read with a mind to understand. We must hear with ears to hear. But that being said, this is one of those rare occasions when the explanation is given.

The disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable to them (Matthew 13:36). Hear what He said:

He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. (Matthew 13:37-40)

When the Lord created the earth and mankind, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Tempting and overcoming Eve, Satan introduced evil to the world. He continues to sow wickedness in the hearts of men to this day. It would have been just for God to simply destroy the wicked and take the righteous out of the world long ago. He did not.

Last week, as we looked at the Sower, we remarked that it is possible for an individual to charge the type of soil which he is—in fact, the Lord wants us to soften our hearts to His word, to become fruitful and inherit eternal life. The Lord continues to be patient with us, delaying the time of the harvest, for He does not want any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). All have been sons of the wicked one, for all have sinned (Romans 3:23). The gospel is given to release those who are in bondage to the devil, that they might become sons of God (John 8:31-32).

The judgment is coming and when it does, the sons of the devil will be gathered up and cast into hell (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:15). The righteous will be received into the heavenly kingdom to live with God eternally.

Friend, where do you fit into the Lord’s parable? Are you a son of the devil, doing the will of Satan in this world? The devil is doomed for hell, and he would like nothing better for you than to have you there with him. Don’t follow his plan! God sent Jesus to be a Saviour to the world. Jesus died to bear the penalty for our sins. Jesus now lives as evidence that God’s promise of eternal life is true. Won’t you obey the gospel, live righteously in this life, and live eternally in heaven?

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