“The Parable of the Weeds”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
In the Bible’s Book of Mathew, Jesus uses a parable where the underlying story of spiritual or moral teaching may not always be immediately clear. The parable of the weeds in 13:24-30; and 13:36-43 emphasizes the contrast between present coexistence of the wheat and the weeds and future separation. The parable of the weeds appears only in Matthew’s gospel.
The wheat field represents the world. The good seeds mean the righteous souls of the kingdom. The weeds are the sinful souls of the wicked one. The enemy is Satan, the enemy of God and all the people of God. The harvest represents the end of the kingdom age in its temporary form. The time will be when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory to reign as King.
There is evil among us. There is evil within us. There is evil in the Church. Most certainly there is evil in the world. Do we sit around waiting for the end of the world leaving it to God to sort it all out, or do we fight against evil and injustice? Certainly, as Christians, we must face the evil within. We do this individually and within our own support systems; but what are we to do about evil in the world?
Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven, the world, is like a wheat field where a saboteur has sown weeds among the grain. The farmer says: let them grow together and we’ll separate them at harvest, because if you pull them out now you will uproot the good with the bad. Jesus explains: the good seed represents the children of the kingdom, the bad the children of the Devil. Like the weeds and the wheat, the children of the evil one are indistinguishable from the children of the kingdom except that the children of the kingdom will bear fruit while the weeds will not.
While allowing weeds to grow with the crops may not be the preferred solution for a farmer, it is apparently God’s solution to the problem of evil. It is not our solution. It is God’s solution. It is the world. Our solution, our responsibility as Christians, as children of the kingdom, is to bear fruit. That fruit is the lost souls trapped by Satan that we can free and win for Jesus while there is still time. It is not for us to wait around for God to sort everything out. God will sort everything out, and when God does, God will gather the fruitful together.
During the present phase of the kingdom, no forcible separation is made of the wheat and the weeds. They are allowed to grow together. But at the Second Coming of Christ, the angels will round up all causes of sin and all evildoers and throw them into the furnace of fire, where they will weep and gnash their teeth.
The wheat represents the followers of Jesus, while the weeds refer to evil persons in the world. Why did the farmer order this delay in separation? In nature the roots of the grain and weeds are so entangled that it is virtually impossible to pull up one without the other. The servants of Jesus, the church must not attempt to exterminate wicked persons from the earth, since in so doing they may destroy those who would find their way into the kingdom. Satan has a counterfeit for every divine reality.
He sows the world with those who look like, talk like, and, to some extent, walk like disciples. But they are not genuine followers of the words the King. Jesus, through his angels, will separate the evil from the righteous at the end.