Wheat and Weeds

woman picking plant on field
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Reading the Word

Matthew 13:24–30, 36-43 (ESV)

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.” ’ ”

Matthew 13:36–43 (ESV)

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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This parable is divided into two parts. The parable is given in verses 24-30 and its interpretation appears in verses 36-43. There are two other short parables given in between these sections.

The parable describes a farmer sowing seed in his field. Another, an enemy of the farmer, sneaks in later and sows weeds among the farmer’s crops. The weeds became evident only as the crops matured. The farmer instructs his workers to leave the weeds until the harvest so the workers do not unintentionally harm the crops trying to remove the weeds. At harvest time, the weeds will be separated from the harvest and destroyed.

Jesus’ interpretation tells us that the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom (i.e. believers), while the weeds represent sons of the evil one (i.e. non-believers). At the end of the age, God will gather all people and they will be separated into two groups: those who belong to Jesus Christ through faith and those who do not. Those who belong to Christ will be gathered to be with him. Those who do not belong to Jesus will be judged for their sin and condemned for eternity.

The parable depicts final judgment. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned against God and deserve judgment and destruction. However, God has provided a sacrifice for our sins to pay the penalty. The sacrifice is Jesus Christ, who went to the cross on our behalf. All who trust in him will be saved while those who reject God’s provision will stand in their sin for judgment. Our God has graciously provided payment for our sin. Won’t you turn to Christ today?

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