New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Tares Among the Wheat

This parable of good seed in a field of weeds is surprising in a number of ways.

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Tares among the Wheat

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place 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.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This is the same crowd that heard the parable of the sower. Matthew 13 was a busy day of pouring truth out to the crowds through the medium of parables. Many in the crowds were receiving teaching that would challenge men and women for millennium, and that for past saints, had been precious truth they based their lives on. But for the most part, the audience were deaf to the message being provided on this day.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Check out my previous post.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Check out my previous post.

Why did the Lord give this message?

Aw – the big question! Initially, a story of bad seed after the story of the sower seems a bit confusing, but the topic is different. The seed is not a metaphor for truth, or the gospel, but of how the kingdom of God would grow.

The kingdom would grow, but with enemies within it. It seems the reason for the existence of the enemies is due to the servants sleeping, and how true this is of the modern church. So many enemies of the gospel, parading about as representatives of the Messiah, growing, and seemingly thriving in the church, sucking the life out of it. But alas – I digress.

What was the message for the original audience?

Your expectations for an earthly kingdom is wrong.

Many of His audience were looking for Messiah ben David, a Messiah that would conquer the Romans and bring Israel to dominance in the world. An earthly kingdom, where all those gentile “dogs” would be dominated and ruled over, controlled and taxed, with revenge and power being available to every Israelite.

Wow Did I get carried away there for a minute? But you get my point.

Jesus was continually bringing a message that challenged the “earth bound” mindset. Jesus is Messiah ben David, the ruling King, but His subjects have to understand His Kingdom, and this kingdom would have enemies within it that are allowed to exist alongside them. Jesus ben Joseph, the suffering King was on display for all to see and to follow, if they could hear His message

How counter intuitive.

What is the message for us today?

Our expectation for the end may be incorrect – Notice that the weeds are gathered first. How does that jive with the common teaching of the saints being gathered first, that is with the common teaching of the pre-tribulational rapture. I don’t get it! But that is such a minor issue, for it does not impact a greater, a somewhat troubling truth.

The enemy has a purpose within the Kingdom. What do you say Carl?

Notice the Land owner’s concern over the wheat, the good seed and how He restricts any damage to their existence. And yet the enemy, the weed, is within their presence, their very life is effected by the weed. Now I have always been told to never make a parable walk on a hundred legs, but their may be some truth to the concept of the enemy being in the church for the sake of keeping us alert, of winnowing out the false believer, of showing to the world the difference of a true believer with the hypocrite.

Consider your own walk with Him.

Are their “weeds” in you life, weeds that fight against you in your Christianity? By this I mean folks that are a hindrance, or are blatantly against you in your faith.

We need these “enemies” amongst us, for we are not to be “out of the world”, where we could not rub shoulders with those who know not the Master.

No. We need to be amongst them, loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us and praying for those who persecute us.

Matthew 5:44, 45

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Those weeds will get pulled soon enough, but until then, we got some loving to do!

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