"Of Weeds and Wheat"- Matthew 13:24-43

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Acts 2:44-47 "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as He had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

Matthew 13:24-43 24 He put another parable before 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 weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 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.’ ” 31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” 34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Question: Have you ever been fooled? This could refer to a practical joke, an “April Fool’s” prank, or any time when you were intentionally misled. This can be either a light – hearted or serious incident.

Introduction: A farmer plants good seed, but weeds spring up along with the good wheat. Many weeds look remarkably like the plants near which they tend to grow, and these “tares” or weeds are probably darnel which imitates young wheat plants. In the parable, we read that an enemy has sown the weeds in the wheat field, but the farmer shows no concern with the enemy except to note that, yes, the seed he sowed was good.

The field hands offer to go right out into the field and pull out the weeds, but the farmer knows better. Even if they can tell the darnel from the young wheat, the hands will undoubtedly pull up some of the good plants along with the bad. So it is with many situations in life: extracting the bad can harm the good or simply be impossible. This is a helpful parable for a world that is seldom just black and white, good versus evil, but exists in shades of gray. Nevertheless, the farmer assures his hands there will be a harvest neither the malice of an enemy nor the presence of the weeds can stop.

Jesus often employs a teaching method we now call “argument from lesser to greater.” He uses a common human situation to show us something, then expands the idea to the greater situation between God and people.  A farmer would have enough sense not to let his field hands wreck his crop by trying to pull out the weeds too soon. Let the wheat grow tall and strong first. There will be time to get rid of the weeds later when there’s little risk to the good plants. The farmer would also know there would still be a harvest. He would not lose sleep over the weeds. The world is a field of wheat and weeds sown together. So is the church. So is my life and probably yours, too. The person who believes in Jesus, who trusts the grace of God, still has plenty of weeds, and some of those weeds would be hard to tear out because they are intertwined with the good. Life gets tangled. Some hurts do not fully heal, some faults persist, some temptations recur, and some chains cannot be fully undone in this world. Life is, as the song “Sunrise Sunset” (Fiddler on the Roof) says, “laden with happiness and tears.” Will God be defeated by the weeds we cannot pull out? Well, if the farmer will not be, do we think God will?

Discussion Questions

  • What does this parable teach us about God

  • What is the main Point

  • How can I live the parable as part of my life

  • Is it easy to distinguish between believers and non-believers?

  • How did the owner's servant recognize the weeds?

  • At what stage does it become easier to distinguish between the wheat and the tares? (see Matt 7:16)

  • Someone has said Jesus comforted the troubled and troubled the comfortable. What do you think?

  • Even if one recognizes the weeds, what is the danger in trying to pull them out?

  • What is the application of the concept of not pulling them up but letting them grow together?

  • Whose job is it ultimately to separate the wheat from the tares?

Grant SchweisthalMatthew