Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ: Learn from the greatest teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel taught in stories.

Parable of the Weeds/Tares

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Parable of the Weeds/Tares: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

The parable of the weeds, also called the parable of the tares, is told by Jesus to depict what the kingdom of heaven is like. In the context of Matthew, this parable of the weeds is one of a series of parables about God's word and the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus has just told the Parable of the Sower and the Four Soils, and he follows this weeds parable with the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Yeast.

Summary of the Parable of the Weeds/Tares

Jesus speaks of a man who sows good seed (wheat) into his field. However, an enemy sows bad seed (weeds). The man's servants notice the weeds growing with the wheat and say, "Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?" (Matthew 13:27)

The master says, "An enemy has done this," and so the servants ask, "Then do you want us to go and gather them?" (Matthew 13:28) However, the man responds by saying, "No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, 'Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:29-30)

Meaning of the Parable of the Weeds/Tares

In Matthew 13:36-43, the disciples of Jesus ask him to explain this parable of the weeds. Jesus says that the Son of Man is the one who sows good seed. The field is the world, and the good seeds are the children of the kingdom of God. However, the weeds are the children of the devil, and it was the devil who sowed these weeds. The harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels.

Accordingly, Jesus has sown good seed into the world, but the devil has also sown bad seed into the world.

If we only consider this parable in terms of the Christian church, then it does not make as much sense since both good and evil existed before humans. However, if we consider the fact that Jesus Christ is God, then the parable makes more sense because it includes the people who existed prior to the new covenant.

Jesus is saying that since the creation of humanity, both the children of God and the children of the devil have been allowed to live together in the world. Both will continue to live together in the world, until the end when the children of the devil will be destroyed.

Jesus says, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42)

Jesus calls the kingdom of God, his kingdom further implying that he is actually God in a human body. Jesus then says, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!" (Matthew 13:43)

Regarding the children of God and the children of the devil, John says in 1 John 3:7-10, "Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God's seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters."

Jesus ends this parable of the weeds with the statement, "Let anyone with ears listen!" (Matthew 13:43) Jesus is forewarning everyone that sin is serious and judgment will come one day. We have all been evil, but God has made a way for us to be saved (Matthew 19:25-26).

When Judgement day does come, "his angels...will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers" for destruction. The good news is that we get to choose whether we grow as good seeds that turn into wheat or bad seeds that turn into weeds.

As the Parable of the Sower teaches, God's word is like a seed planted in our hearts and it has the ability to grow and "bear fruit worthy of repentance." (Matthew 3:8) We have been given the opportunity to determine our destinies. It is our choice to obey or disobey God.

As James says, "No one, when tempted, should say, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15)

For more information on this subject, read about the Meaning of Repentance and Salvation.

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Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ: Learn from the greatest teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel taught in stories.

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Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ: Learn from the greatest teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel taught in stories.

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