The parable of the wheat and the tares adds another dimension to our understanding of the seed sown in a field, mentioned in the parable of the sower.
Christ related the parable of the wheat and tares immediately following the parable of the sower: ...‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but ... his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and …. when the grain had sprouted… the tares also appeared. So the servants …said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” The servants said to him, “Do you want us then to go and gather them up? But he said, “No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30).
Many feel the specific tare, or weed, referred to in this parable is the darnel, a poisonous weed very similar in appearance to wheat. When growing next to a stalk of wheat, darnel can only be distinguished from the wheat at harvest time, when the wheat comes into ear or sprouts its fruit.
Jesus explained the parable as follows: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather... all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire... Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father...” (Matthew 13:37-43).
The lesson to be learned from this parable is that we should be patient, treating people with kindness, fairness and gentleness. Only God knows the heart.
The servants were told not to cut out what they thought were tares, because they could not accurately distinguish between the wheat and the tares and some of the good crop would have been destroyed. So it is when working in God’s spiritual field. Care needs to be taken not to harm or destroy the good in an effort to weed out the tares. God says to let them grow together until the harvest, which is the end of the age and the coming of Jesus Christ. Then He will make a distinction, as only He can.
Until we repent and turn to God, we are all walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air...” (Ephesians 2:2). Satan influences us by mood and attitude, and unless we actively resist, we can unwittingly become his agents (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9).
It is not our role to discern the tares from the wheat. God does that. This parable reminds us to examine ourselves to ensure we are following the teachings of Christ and avoid prematurely judging others.
The Good News Magazine