The parable of the tares

Published 2:33 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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Matthew 13:24-30
In Matthew 13, we are first presented with the parable of the “Sower.” In that parable, Jesus speaks about a Sower, and the Sower is understood as any righteous person that is sowing the good seed (God’s Word). However, Jesus taught another seed parable in Matthew, the parable of the “tares.” In the parable of the tares, the seed represents righteous people. Then Jesus adds another dimension, the tares. The tares or the bad seed, represent unrighteous souls.
The Sower in the parable of the tares is non-other than Satan. And the servants of the householder represent righteous souls. The parable also includes angels. Now the parable, “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.” (Mat 13:24-30 KJV).
According to Jesus the field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom of God, and the bad seed are children of the evil one, Satan. In the parable the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels of God. In this parable Jesus is also presented as a Sower of good seed (Christians). Wheat, the good seed, was sown and immediately the enemy began to sow tares (weeds). An important thing to notice is that anything that was sown on the field that was not wheat was considered to be a tare (weed). The same is true in the world today, one is either righteous or unrighteous, there is no in between (Romans 12:1-2, James 4:4). It was not long before it was discovered that there were weeds among the wheat. To begin with the two were indistinguishable. However, when the fruits of the two were bore, the difference was easily seen (Matthew 7:20).
In the world of farming, the weeds represent an opposition to the good seed that a farmer sows, they are a detriment to the growth and production of good fruit. The same is true in the world of religion. False teachers claim to present the Word of God and offer varying plans of salvation and modes of worship and living in a way to please God. One thing is for sure, while righteous people may not be able to always tell the difference between the good seed and the tares, God is not fooled. The evil deed was done while the righteous slept. In other words, they were unaware of what was happening. It is often true in religion that the evil one comes in and spreads his evil seed without notice (1 Peter 5:8).
In this parable there is a spiritual conflict between good and evil. We live in a world where good men exist alongside of those that are evil. There is no doubt that when righteous people are openly faced with sin, we have no other option but to point it out and stand against it. We even have the responsibility to mark them that cause division and sow discord (Romans 16:17-18). However, there are times when the differences between the two are not easily seen. Satan and his followers are masters at disguising themselves and their true intentions. However, in this parable we learn that there will be a final judgment, on that day there will be a final separation of the righteous and unrighteous. It is also interesting that this parable lays to rest any doubts about the falsehood of premillennialism. In this parable Jesus presents Satan and his activity in the world as a real threat to Christianity and the world of the Church (2 Peter 3:10, 12; Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 24:31, 46). This parable of the tares warns us to guard against false teachers and to strengthen ourselves with a knowledge of God’s Word.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)

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