Wheat and Tares


Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24 Jesus presented another parable to 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 tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘ ” 36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Before we look into this parable, remember that it is a comparison of how the Kingdom of God operates. The man is God, planting good seed among His field while the enemy comes in and plants bad seed. We can look at the seed either as God’s truth and Satan’s lies or people within the church. Either way, we get the idea that God is working in the lives of others and the devil is working to plant the opposite of what He is. As the wheat and tares (which are weeds) grow, they look similar but a keen observer will be able to tell that there are two types of plants growing in the field. Keep in mind they are growing together and equally side-by-side until the day of harvest.

In Daniel 12, we encounter a dream where Daniel was receiving revelation from God about what is to come in the end times:

10 “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.

We learn that there will be a cleansing period of the church and body of believers. This is the same event that Jesus was referring to. In Revelation 6, we see the beginning of what Jesus refers to as the “reapers” who will harvest the field and first remove all that is bad from the true harvest. But what does this have to do with us here and now? Why should we worry about this, other than to find out if we are a wheat or tare?

The challenge presents itself in realizing that until the time comes for the reapers of the harvest to roam the earth, there are bad weeds living among us. This doesn’t mean people we casually come in contact with, but those with whom we are more connected and with whom we share our lives. Those in our families, groups of friends, and dare I say it: even our church! Remember Jesus was talking about the Kingdom of God being likened to a man planting seeds in His field; these tares are also planted in His field. So, within God’s own field are planted bad seeds. He keeps them there so as not to disrupt the growth of the good seeds and when the time is right that the good seeds are firm and mature, He can then pull the weeds without disrupting the good seeds.

This is a struggle for the good seeds. They it is unfair that the weeds should get to grow along with the wheat and enjoy all the same things as the good seed. Remember what Jesus revealed in Matthew 7:

16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

We must recognize that the existence of the bad seeds will be rectified in the appointed time. Let us not get frustrated by the bad seeds around us, knowing that God’s purpose has maintained them to this point in order that the wheat can grow strong into spiritual maturity. The tares, although the “bad seed” help in our spiritual growth and keep the soil firm without choking us out like the thistle in Jesus’ previous parable. It might make things difficult to grow and crowd the space a little, but challenges us to rise above and push on despite the challenges we face. This is why James tells us in chapter 1 of his letter:

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

How do you view the tares in your life?

2 thoughts on “Wheat and Tares

  1. I know that in the farming world wheat and tares aren’t the same thing, but spiritually speaking can a Tare become Wheat? Could we pray for those who are sent in as tares to become wheat?

    1. That’s a brilliant question, and one I think many theologians have been arguing about for centuries. I think this lends itself to the whole “election” debate. I believe the tares can become wheat yes, because anything is possible with God. However it won’t happen and God knows it won’t because He is omnipotent and already sees how the game will play out before the buzzer sounds.

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