Parables of Jesus: Wheat and Tares

Parables of Jesus: Wheat and Tares

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Every morning the Trids got up, ate breakfast, and marched
over the bridge to Tridville to work. One morning, a troll
moved in under the bridge. When the Trids tried to cross the
bridge, the troll climbed up and kicked the Trids all the way
back to their homes. The Trids decided to take the day off in
hopes that the troll would go away, but the next morning the
troll once again climbed up onto the bridge and kicked them
back to their homes. In desperation, the Trids decided to ask
the Rabbi for help. So the next morning the Rabbi walked
across the bridge several times but never saw the troll. He
went home believing the troll had indeed moved on. When
the Trids tried to cross the bridge afterward, the troll climbed
up again and kicked the Trids back home. The Rabbi
returned to the bridge and called out for the troll. When the
troll appeared, the Rabbi asked why he was allowed to cross
the bridge but not the Trids. The troll replied, “Silly Rabbi,
kicks are for Trids.”

Last week we studied the parable of the sower and the soils.
Today we are going to look at another parable. This one is similar in that it also talks about sowing seeds, but it also belongs to another set of parables dealing with the kingdom of God. Jesus told several parables on this subject.
Let’s take a look at today’s parable.

Matthew 13:24-30

This parable is only found in Matthew.
Similar to last week’s, this one also includes an explanation. We will look at that shortly. First, let’s discuss what Jesus told them.

He said the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. In other parables Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, leaven, treasure, etc.
Here He isn’t saying the kingdom of God is like the seed. He is saying it’s like the whole scene He is describing.

So, the man sows the good seed and after he and his servants go to bed his enemy comes and sows tares among the wheat.

What are tares?
Tares were probably a type of weed called bearded darnel.
It is also known as wheat’s evil twin.
It is poisonous and looks very similar to wheat when it is young.

But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain there was an
obvious difference.

Look at v.25 with me “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.”

This verse shows us
3 Truths about the Enemy (Satan)

He is Sneaky – while they were sleeping, he came in when
they were vulnerable to cause trouble – this gets to the core of who satan is – Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God and made…”

He is Dangerous – he came and sowed tares among the
wheat. This was a destructive thing to do to a field owners
crop. Again, true to who the devil is. I Peter 5:8 “Be of sober
spirit, be on the alert, Your adversary, the devil, prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

He is a Deceiver – notice the Scripture describes what he
did and they he went away. He came just long enough to
plant the seed which would cause confusion among the

Think of it this way, Satan comes to plant seeds of
doubt, worry, anxiety, fear, discouragement and then goes
away. When he does this it causes us to make a choice. We
can either believe his lies or we can trust the truth that God
has promised us. John 8:44 describes Satan this way,
“Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own
nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” When we
believe the enemy he takes us down a dark and lonely road, filled with hopelessness and despair. But when we trust in God we are filled with hope and joy through the deepest valley or the darkest trial. The Bible tells us to Fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith, and whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. And to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

Once the wheat grew and sprouted it became evident that the field was filled with weeds. Now it was customary for farmers to weed their crops, but in this instance there were more than a few.
The enemy had come and sown weed seeds among the wheat.
There were likely just as many weeds as there was wheat.
When the slaves of the landowner came and asked him if he wanted them to pull up the weeds, he told them no and to let them both grow until the harvest.

The burning of the weeds was done to protect the field against future weeds. When they are burned there is no chance they will be able to grow again and infect the good crops.
Then the landowner tells them his plan. In the harvest he will tell his reapers to gather up the tares first in bundles to burn them.
And then he will have the reapers gather the wheat to put into his barn.

Next we see
2 Reasons for God’s Timing

Protection of His children
God allows believers to live among the world because, just like the wheat and tares, if you pull one up you uproot the other. v.29

The truth is that God will punish those who have rejected His wonderful gift of grace and mercy. But He doesn’t snatch them out prematurely. I’ve often said God has plans for His children on earth or else He would zap us immediately to heaven when we trust Him as savior. It’s the same situation here with unbelievers.

He doesn’t snatch them out of the world. If He did, it may uproot some of His children. He leaves believers in the world so they can bear fruit and make a difference in the world.

God’s Patience
God’s timing is different from man’s timing. Often we see evil and want it removed or destroyed right away. When we see people living in sin, we often want them punished right away.
David dealt with this in the Psalms often. Jesus is teaching the disciples a lesson on patience here.
In the parable the landowner says ‘allow both to grow together until the harvest.’v.30
God doesn’t punish sin according to man’s timetable.
Listen to the words in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Now, let’s see how Jesus explained this parable to the disciples.

Matthew 13:36-43

Explanation of the Parable
Once they are alone in the house, the disciples ask Jesus to
explain the parable to them.

Jesus is the one who sows the good seed
The field is the world – note, Jesus didn’t say the field was the church. This parable is to show that Christians live in the world among all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs.

Satan is the one who planted the weeds.
The weeds represent the sons of Satan.

The harvest is the end of the age.
The reapers are angels who will separate the righteous from the unrighteous/ lawless ones

Here’s the main point of the parable

God will separate the wicked from the righteous in His perfect timing according to His perfect plan.
God is just and He keeps His promise.
He says that the consequence of sin is death.
Those who reject Him will face the consequences of their actions.

But those who trust in Jesus will be spared.

Oftentimes people prefer to speak of the love of God rather than the justice of God. They prefer to pretend that God is either one or the other. The truth, however, is that they both exist and help us truly understand the nature of God.

You see, God’s love exists in that He loved us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to receive the punishment that was meant for us. When Jesus died on the cross, He received the wrath of God to pay the penalty for our sin. God’s punishment was still doled out, but Jesus took our place and suffered for us so that we could be reconciled to God. When I say we, I’m referring to all who believe that Jesus is God’s Son and receive His forgiveness for sin. God doesn’t force Himself on anyone. He allows every person to choose Him or reject Him.

Listen to how Jesus describes it in v.43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Believers will be united with God in heaven and receive their glorified bodies.


As we wrap up this parable, let’s take a moment to discuss some ways we can apply the text to our lives.

First, we need to

Be Watchful of our Enemy
It’s not good to dwell on the bad things in life, but it’s also not good to bury our head in the sand and pretend evil doesn’t exist.
The Bible tells us that Satan is the prince of this world. He is looking for every opportunity to make us stumble or to make us believe his lies.

Our take away here is that we need to be aware that spiritual warfare exists. We live in a fallen world who doesn’t care about what we care about. They are opposed to what we believe. Evil is among us and trying to take us down. We must stand and fight against evil in the world.

Be Grateful for God’s Patience

There are so many people in the world that need Jesus.
Rather than being angry when we see people living in sin, what if we used God’s patience as a springboard to tell people about Him? There’s still time for more to come into His kingdom. Will you be the one to share the good news with them?