I would like to delve into the following parable from Matthew:
“Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30 NIV)
Jesus later explains the meaning of the parable:
“He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.” (Matthew 13:37-39 NIV)
This parable is focused on explaining the Kingdom of Heaven, which is a phrase found only in Matthew. It seems to be synonymous with the words “Kingdom of God”, used elsewhere in the Bible. The Kingdom of Heaven is being compared, not to the man in the parable, but the entire story of the wheat and the weeds.
Many Bible scholars feel that the weed in this parable refers to the grassy weed named “darnel”, which is sometimes called “false wheat”. It is a common weed in the Near East, including Israel.
I did some research on darnel and learned some interesting facts. I feel that they help reveal more of the meaning of this parable:
1. Darnel is a common weed that closely resembles wheat when the plants are young. When mature, it looks different than wheat.
2. As the two plants grow side by side, their root systems become entangled, and it is difficult to remove one plant without destroying the other.
3. Darnel has no practical uses, except to be burnt as fuel.
4. Its seeds frequently contain a fungus that is poisonous, and can cause intoxication, a hypnotic state, convulsions, or even death.
5. At maturity, darnel stands erect because it has small fruit. It will develop a black appearance, and is now easily distinguishable from wheat.
6. At maturity, wheat droops because of its heavy fruit, and has a golden appearance.
7. The Romans had a law against sowing darnel seed in a wheat field, because competing farmers sometimes secretly spread darnel seeds onto their neighbor’s farm. An unusually large amount of darnel growing in a farmer’s field was an indication of possible foul play by a neighbor.
What are some of the lessons can be learned from this parable of Jesus?
1. Some of us are the children of God, and some are the children of Satan.
2. It is often difficult for us to tell the difference between the two types of people, but at some point we can be easily identified by “our fruit”.
3. Good and evil people both coexist in this world, and we should keep our distance as best we can. It is not our job, however, to eliminate the immoral people from around us. God allows the evil people to live among us, and so should we.
4. The Lord will separate the good from the bad at the end of the age, and the next world will contain no evil.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43 NIV)