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.”
The Explanation of the Parable of the Tares
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.
As we have mentioned, Jesus explained only two of his parables, this being the second.This is the story of a farmer who sowed good wheat seed in his field, after which an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.At first no one could see the difference in the plants as they grew, and by the time the evil deed was discovered there was nothing that could be done about it.
Wheat was an important and common crop grown in Palestine, and the “tares”, scholars tell us, were most likely a weed known as the “bearded darnel.”The darnel looked very much like wheat in its early stages of growth, therefore it was impossible to tell the difference between the good wheat and the weeds when both plants first start to grow.By the time you can tell the difference between the two it would damage the wheat crop to try to remove the darnel.
We don’t have to speculate about the meaning of the parable because Jesus himself gives us the intrepretation.The field is the world; the sower of the good seed is the Son of man; the sower of the tares is the devil; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom; the bad sead are the the sons of the evil one; the reapers are the angels; and the harvest is the end of the world.
Despite the fact that Jesus has given us this intrepretation, men have had a difficult time applying it properly.The reason is a lack of attention to the context.In the New Testament the term “kingdom” can refer to several things.It often referes to the church, sometimes it refers to “God’s rule,” other times, as is the case here, it referes to the “world” in general.We know this to be the case because Jesus tells us so.
Jesus says that the “field is the world.”The parable is therefore talking about the good and bad in the world, not the good and bad in the church.
The field where the good and bad seed are sown is the world, and the “kingdom” out of which the bad were gathered are obviously the same.
Several important lessons should be applied here.First of all there is such things in the world as tares.The world is not like a perfect wheat crop.In the world there are both good plants and evil plants.This is the way the world has always been, and this is the way the world will remain until the Lord returns.
Satan is the source of the tares.Jesus explains that the devil sowed the evil seeds.Therefore, according to Jesus, there is an evil and wicked power in existence known as the devil.
Much of the significance of this parable lies in the fact that it is often difficult to tell the difference between the good seed and the evil seed.This makes it clear that men do not have the ability to judge between the good and the bad.It shows us that in the end the judgment of others is a divine and not a human function.Man is much too limited in his ability to see, often only seeing the outward appearance.God looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16:6-7).
There will come a time when God will judge the good and the bad.When the harvest comes the two will be seperated. The parable then is really about the inability of man to judge as God judges.The time of harvest is going to come and all who are counterfeit wheat will be gathered and burned.
This parable also teaches the existence of an eternal place, hell, for the wicked,where God will “throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” and a place of reward for the good seed,where “THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father” for all eternity.Jesus believed in heaven and hell.