The Wheat and the Tares - Part 1
The Return Series
Parables of the Kingdom The Wheat and the Tares
By: Lelonnie Hibberd
Jesus told an amazing true story to the people one day.
"My father’s kingdom – the kingdom of heaven, is like a man who planted good seed in his field. While the man slept one night, his enemy came sneaking into the field and planted weeds into the ground right beside the good seed."
"Oh no, is the farmer’s crop ruined?"
"The good seed grew first into a tiny sprout. So did the weeds. You couldn’t really tell the difference. Until the seedling grew into a plant. Then you could see that there were two different kinds of plants in the field. Wheat and weeds." In the Bible lands, there is a plant that is like a tare, or a weed, called "darnel." It looks a lot like wheat until it gets older when its seeds are dark instead of golden like wheat.
So the man’s servants came to him and said, “Sir some villain has planted weeds right in the middle of all your beautiful wheat plants. Do you want us to go right now and pull out those terrible weeds?"
The owner of the field was very wise. “No” he said. “If you try to pull out the weeds you might accidentally get some wheat also. I do not want even one of my wheat plants pulled up. I want them all to grow and grow right till harvest time.”
“So what can we do sir” questioned the puzzled workers, as they anxiously rubbed their brows.
“Easy” grinned the boss. “Let both wheat and weeds grow right up together until the harvest. When the harvest comes we’ll cut both plants down and I will give the harvest workers instructions to separate the wheat from the weeds. First they’ll bundle up the weeds to burn. Then they can put the beautiful wheat into my barn.”
It’s an interesting story which Jesus’ disciples didn’t quite understand. When Jesus was finished preaching and teaching the people he went into the house with his disciples. As soon as they realized they were alone with Jesus they quickly asked Him. “Lord what did you mean? Will you explain the parable of the wheat and the tares? What is it all about?”
So Jesus with His great love and simplicity spoke to His closest followers. This is one of those times when Jesus Himself explained the Bible. This is one of those times when God Himself taught us about His word. Those who are wise will listen to the Son of God explaining the meaning of His own words! This is what Jesus said.
"He who sowed the good seed is the Son of man." This is Jesus! Jesus is the Son of Man. The parable is about Him! Wow. What is going to happen next?
“The field is the world” said Jesus. So now we know. This parable is about this world. Jesus is sowing good seed, which means, the people who know and love Him. They are called the sons of the kingdom. Which kingdom? Jesus' kingdom of course. Sons of the kingdom are followers of Jesus; that’s you and me.
We are being planted into the world like seed. So that we will grow up and become messengers to all people, that God has a Son, that He loves humans and that we must give an account of our lives to Him. Our lives are meant to shine with the beauty of Jesus in a dark world. As we grow in the knowledge of God we will be more and more like Jesus. In other words Christians are on a journey of growing up in Him, growing to maturity. That means as we get closer and closer to Jesus and become more and more like Him it is like the wheat growing up into a mature plant.
But the story is not over. It would be good if it ended right here with just the good seed. But there is a real devil who hates God and who hates people. There are many people on earth who follow his leadership. There are many people who walk in darkness, who do not love Jesus and who worship false gods. There are many people living on the earth who choose to make peace with sin, by making a habit of living in a way that is out of agreement with God's word. They are the tares in the story. They are the ones the devil sows into the world. Remember the field is the world. These “sons of the wicked one” are like him. He is the enemy who planted weeds right among the wheat. The devil also has his people on the earth, ones who live in your city or town and ones who go to your school.
The tares, or the people who live in sin, are not always horrible, evil or mean. Many of them are ordinary people trying to live what they call a good life. Some of these people have met up with God's word and made a choice to ignore it. Some of these people have never even thought about obeying Jesus and His word. Some have never even heard about Jesus!
Others have made bad choices over and over again, so that they have grown farther and farther away from the word of God. It is a bit like being in a boat that gets farther and farther from the shore. Eventually the boat goes out so far that you can't get back. Jesus said, "He who is not for me is against me," and this is not a popular message in our culture that says, "whatever is right for you," go for it! According to Jesus there are only two ways to live; either as one showing Him their love by obeying His word, or as one who is against Him. There is no middle ground.
The problem is that the more you cross the line to the side of disobedience or rebellion against God, the more your heart is impacted. The easier it is to sin the next time and the harder it is to turn around. God so loved the world that He sent His Son to take the punishment of every human being who practices evil, if only they will repent and submit their lives under His good leadership. As you submit your life to God, you grow in strength and goodness that is given to you by Him. As you refuse the leadership of Jesus, your life automatically becomes submitted to the devil. That is why we pray for and share God's love with those who don't yet know Jesus, that in this time when there is still time, they might hear the Lord's voice and turn to Him. That is why we have compassion on those who don't know Jesus and trust and pray that He loves them so much, He will find a way to speak to their hearts in ways that they can hear, understand and respond to.
The Bible says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The kind deeds and good actions of any human being are not enough to justify them or to cleanse their heart. God's word also says that all human hearts are desperately wicked right to the core, just like a rotten apple. Christians are not people who are perfect. They are people who have repented, submitted their life to Jesus, been forgiven and cleansed and then helped by His power to live in a way that pleases Him. It is as though God' gives them a heart transplant. They are justified or accepted by God because of Jesus' goodness and not their own. Those who don't know Jesus are not justified by anything they do or say.
The Wheat and the Tares....
Continued next week