The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Explained)

In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a man who sowed good seed in his field. However, an enemy came secretly at nighttime and “sowed weeds among the wheat.”

When the weeds were finally detected, the farmer prevented his servants from eliminating the weeds lest they “root up the wheat along with them.” He said, “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” (Mt. 13:24-30).

Parable of Wheat and Tares – Meaning

Jesus explained that the “Son of Man” is the one who sows the good seed. “The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.”

At the end of time, he continues, “the Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:36-43).

When commenting on the Sermon on the Mount, Sinclair Ferguson says, “It is not a sermon about an ideal life in an ideal world, but about the kingdom life in a fallen world.”

The parable of the wheat and tares emphasizes the same troubling but stark reality. In spite of millennial speculations to the contrary, the kingdom of Christ does not exist on earth in a utopia. Good and evil coexist side by side, and we must choose to do what is right in very messy circumstances. The full and complete separation of the forces of wickedness and the forces of holiness will not transpire until the end comes.

In the meantime, there will be challenges, adversity, temptations, persecution, and misery.

Nothing will come easily for the people of God during this probationary period of life on earth. The kingdom comes with great blessings, even in the here and now, but we must still operate in less-than-ideal conditions… until the end comes, when the glories of heaven replace the sufferings of the present time (Rom. 8:18).

Let the Wheat and Tares Grow Together

So get ready for conflict. As someone has said, “Circumstances do not make the person, but they reveal what the person is made of.”

Or as Jesus put it, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

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