The following study is based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 — He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 — The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 — The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Like the first parable that we studied in this chapter, Jesus also gives the meaning of the symbols in the parable.
1. What are the main characters in this parable?
- Good seed
2. What does each character represent?
- Sower – Son of man (v37), Jesus.
- Enemy – devil (v39)
- Good seed – children of the kingdom (v38)
- Tares – children of the wicked one (v38)
- Field – this world (v38)
- Harvest – the end of the world (v40)
- Reapers – angels (v39)
3. What is the difference between the children of the kingdom and the children of the wicked one?
- Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- The children of the kingdom are truly converted.
- What does it mean to be converted? Before we answer that question, let’s have a look at the children of the wicked one.
- 1 John 3:10
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
- The children of the devil are the ones that doesn’t do righteousness.
- Notice that it uses the word “doeth.” That is an action word.
- Outwardly you can see the difference between the two groups.
- However, that’s not how the parable paints it. Let’s read it again:
- Matthew 13:28-29
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
- Matthew 13:28-29
- Jesus asks them to leave it there first.
4. At the beginning, the two groups of people cannot be separated. Jesus said to leave them there until the harvest. When is the harvest?
- Remember the harvest is the end of the world. That is after the second coming when Jesus will finally separate the two groups.
- That means that tares still exist in our world today and in the church. And they won’t be separated until the very end.
5. The servants wanted to go and pluck the tares out. What was the reason the master gave as to why they couldn’t pluck it out?
- Verse 29 – if they were to pull the tares out, they would probably pull the wheat out as well.
- Their roots and lives were so intertwined with each other, that to pluck out one, you may accidentally loosen the soil around the wheat and pull it out as well.
- Our lives are connected to each other. And if God today were to “pluck out” a loved one of ours out of the church or the world, how would that effect us and our faith? If God said to us, “Just trust Me, he was a bad one.” how would we react, especially if that person seemed like a good person to us?
- It must be difficult for God to wait until the very end before He can make that decision, but He has no other choice. He has to wait until the harvest.
6. Why do we have to wait until harvest to separate the wheat and tares?
- It is at harvest time that the fully ripe fruits and grains are then gathered up.
- Notice how the bible paints this:
- James 5:7
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
- God is represented by that husbandman who has to wait for the fruit to become ripe.
- James 5:7
- It is then that the two groups will be separated. It is then that everyone will be able to tell what sort of fruit you have.
- At the beginning, no one knows the type of fruit. You have to have patience to allow it to develop. And then at the end, there will be no argument as to what fruit this plant bears. It will be obvious to everyone.
- Matthew 7:20
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
- Jesus tells us that we can know a person by their fruits.
- But He doesn’t stop there.
- Matthew 7:21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
- This passage shows that there are people even in church that appear like they are destined for heaven, that they seem like they are destined to be saved. Even though they help in church and do many good things, Jesus says depart from me you workers of iniquity!
- Remember the children of the kingdom are those that do righteousness! It is opposite to the children of the devil. They are converted.
- In Matthew 7:21 it says that they do the will of God.
7. What is the will of God? What does it mean to be converted?
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
- The will of God is our sanctification.
- How are we sanctified?
- John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
- We are sanctified by the truth. So the experience of sanctification has to do with the word of God.
- John 17:17
- Remember in Romans 10:17 – faith comes by hearing the word of God?
- But those that are sanctified don’t just hear, they do the will of God.
- What does it mean to be converted? They are not just hearers of the Bible but doers of it as well!
- An unconverted person hears what is right, but they only listen, they aren’t converted, they aren’t changed. They just hear but never do it.
8. Can we know today what our fruit is?
- James 1:22-25
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
- We can have a look at the mirror of God’s law and check our own lives. We can compare scripture with our lives and see if our lives are in harmony with what the Bible teaches.
- For example, you can look at the 10 commandments. It tells us not to steal. Then let’s look at our own lives and ask ourselves this question – am I stealing?
- If we are, the bible calls us a tare, a weed!
- But there is hope! We can change. We can choose to stop being a tare and ask God to help us to be wheat instead.
- Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- We can compare our own character with that of God and His Spirit.
- The character of God’s children is different to the children of the wicked one.
9. If we discover that we fall short, how can we be changed from a tare to a wheat today?
- Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
- We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
- It is in the mind that this transformation takes place.
- Only then can we prove what is that good will of God.
- Ephesians 4:22-24
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
- Same thought – we must be renewed in our mind.
- But before that can happen, we must put off the old man so that we can put on the new man.
- That means we need to recognise first what is that old man. We must be aware of what is wrong so that we can ask God to help us to change.
10. How to be transformed in the mind?
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
- We must behold the glory of God if we wish to be changed into the same image.
11. How can we behold God’s glory today?
- John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
- If we are to behold God’s glory today, we must behold His Son who came in the flesh.
- How? How do we behold Jesus today?
- John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
- John 5:39
- We must spend time in the Bible. That’s the only book that gives us a clear and true picture of who Jesus is.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
Today we must receive Him. We must spend time with God and allow Jesus to come into our hearts. The Bible says when we do that, He is the one that gives us the power to become the son of God.
Have you received Jesus into your heart today? Have you allowed the scriptures to be put into your heart and mind. And most of all, do we believe? If we do, God does the rest. It is His power working through the Word of God which transforms us from being children of the wicked one to become children of God.
Let’s make time for God each day no matter how busy we are. Let’s make sure we make room for the scriptures in our lives on a daily basis. Let’s make sure we give God a chance to transform our lives. He is always ready, but He’s just waiting for us to give him room to work.