Last night at the West Citrus Church, where we’re now members, Tom Quinn taught a wonderful lesson about Jesus’ parable of “The Wheat and the Weeds.” It was interesting. Insightful. Thought-provoking. And supplied fodder for today’s post.
If you’re not familiar with the parable it’s found in Matthew 13:24-30, as one of several parables that begin, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” Later the disciples asked Jesus for its explanation. So, it’s one of the few that we actually have Jesus’ own interpretation (Matt. 13:36-43).
The story is about a farmer who sowed wheat in a field. It’s good seed free of weeds. But under the cover of darkness, an enemy came and sowed weeds, called tares, unbeknown to the farmer or his servants.
When the grain sprouted, the servants alerted the farmer to the problem. “What should we do?” They asked. “Remove the weeds?”
“No,” the farmer replied. “Let them both grow together until the harvest, then you can gather the wheat, and burn the tares.”
What does this all mean? And how does it relate to the Kingdom?
In a few words, here’s the synopsis.
- “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.”
- “The field is the world.”
- “The good seed stands for the sons of the Kingdom”
- “The weeds are the sons of the evil one.”
- “The enemy who sows them is the devil.”
- “The harvest is the end of the world.”
- “The harvesters are the angels.”
It’s important to note as Smith’s Bible Dictionary points out that the “weeds” (tares) “was a kind of darnel” that closely resembled wheat in appearance. Only when the wheat began to head at harvest time could you tell the difference.
Jesus makes 4 main points from the parable.
#1 The problem of the weeds, dealing with evil, will not be resolved until judgment day, at the end of time.
#2 Those gathered out of his Kingdom will be dealt with as well.
#3 The righteous will be blessed. And the wicked punished.
#4 Take heed, hear and apply the message of the parable.
What lessons can we learn from this today?
#1 God is longsuffering so that you have time to grow. The Lord is not acting hastily or vengefully to punish evil people so that Christians have time to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18).
#2 The Kingdom is both present and future. Sometimes we hear men pray about “the upper and better Kingdom.” Well, there’s just one kingdom. And we’re in it now (Col. 1:13). Christ is the ruling King (1 Tim. 6:15). And one day He will present the Kingdom to His Father (1 Cor. 15:23-26).
#3 Error is serious. It’s subtle. It doesn’t always appear evil in the beginning. In fact, it may closely resemble Truth. Those lacking discernment, may not even be able to see the difference. Eventually, however, the fruit of error will become apparent.
#4 The parable isn’t teaching that church discipline is wrong, as some have suggested. Remember the field is the world. In fact, Jesus taught in Matthew 18:15-20, how to deal with a sinning brother in the church.
#5 It’s not the Christian’s place to punish the Devil’s children. Holy wars, religious crusades, and presumed righteous retaliation against sin are not our role or responsibility. While we have the right to teach the truth and oppose sin, it’s not our place to punish evildoers.
For example, those who burn abortion clinics, deface public or private property, and execute those who engage in evil practices are also guilty of wrongdoing. It’s not our prerogative to exercise punishment on sinners. We’re not going to alleviate all social ills, sinful practices, or unrighteous laws. Christians need to return to the power of the gospel to change hearts, instead of relying on the power of political persuasion to change our culture.
#6 One may be in the kingdom now, but not in the future. Jesus will not only remove the weeds but will remove some from His kingdom. Who? Those who cause stumbling. Those who practice lawlessness. Those whose motives are impure. Those who are hypocritical. To name a few.
#7 Ultimately, there will be a separation between good and evil. The righteous will shine as the sun. They will be blessed. They will inherit heaven. They will live with God.
The wicked? Jesus said “cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
This parable warns and reminds us not to be deceived by the Devil. Don’t allow Satan to divert our focus and distract us from our real work. Leave the ultimate judgment to Jesus. And be faithful until the end (Rev. 2:10).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman