Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.
Matthew 13:30 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
Consider: In a previous post we spoke about how Jesus used parables when speaking to the people about spiritual matters. These stories used everyday events that people could relate to, so as to explain a deeper spiritual issue. A number of Jesus’ parables are recorded in Matthew 13 and today we will consider the parable of the wheat and the weeds.
After having spoken to the crowd using the illustration of the wheat and weeds, the disciples were clearly baffled by what was meant and asked Jesus to explain it to them (13:36). Jesus told them that the parable is about the final judgement. This is something that the world has always tried to ignore; much like the topic of death today. The parable of the net (good and bad fish) recorded in Matthew 13:47-52 deals with the same topic and although unexplained, Jesus did ask his disciples if they understood it (13:51), to which their answer was ‘Yes’.
In both parables what is being described is likened to the ‘kingdom of heaven’ (13:24; 47). What can we learn from the parable of the wheat and the weeds? It is clear from Matthew 13:38 that the field into which the seed is sown is the world. This tells us that while the good news of the gospel is sown into the world, there will be two responses; the wheat, representing those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and the weeds, representing those who reject God’s offer of salvation. Only at the final judgement (the harvest) will they be separated. The wheat (representing the sons of the kingdom) will ‘… shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father’ (v43), while the weeds (representing the sons of the devil) will be thrown into the fiery furnace (v42).
Notice, however, that the wheat and the weeds have been sown in the same field, been subject to the same soil conditions, rainfall and sunshine. The separation of ‘good’ from ‘evil’ is something that will be carried out at the end of time by those whom God has specifically appointed for the task. This must mean that it is not for us to decide if someone is in or out. An incident in the life of Samuel perhaps illustrates the difference between how God sees people and how we see them. When presented with Jesse’s sons and told by God that one of them was to become king in place of Saul, he was told: ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). Can you see that our judgement as humans is skewed by what we see; we tend to judge by appearances. Only God can look beyond the outward appearance into a person’s heart and truly know if they belong to him or not.
Pray: Father, we thank you that we do not need to know what is going on in a person’s heart, because you do. Help us to play our part in spreading the good news of the gospel, trusting you for the harvest. Amen