The Parables of Jesus Series | Parable of the Weeds
This is the second of the eight teaching parables of the kingdom of God that Jesus gave. We looked at the first parable two weeks ago. If you missed it, you can read it here.
The parable of the weeds is found in Matthew 13:24-30:
Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
Jesus gave the interpretation of the parable in verses 36-43:
Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” Jesus replied, “The Son of Man[a] is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world,[b] and the harvesters are the angels. “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, it is very important for us to remember that this parable is about the kingdom of God. Jesus is planting the good seeds by using believers to spread the word of God. However, as He is using us to plant, the devil isn’t folding his hands either. His recruits are busy, in fact very busy, spreading their word as well. Where it becomes tricky is when we begin to find evil growing very close or even in the same place where good was sown.
We see this already. In our churches we see true believers and those who claim they are but who are not. We see good and bad. We see light and darkness trying to occupy the same spot. It can be challenging at times to know the difference between those who are of God and those who are pretending to be. This is why discernment is so needed.
It is one thing to be able to discern. It is another thing to know how to respond. I wrote a posts on spiritual gifts where I highlighted what each gift brings to the body of Christ. To understand what I mean, please read these posts by clicking on the links below.
Most times our immediate reaction is to uproot the weeds. It seems like the logical thing to do. The disciples, just like us, responded the same way because it made sense to respond that way. Why allow the bad seeds to thrive when they have been identified?
The sowing of the weeds does not take Jesus by surprise. He knows that weeds have been sown and more weeds are being sown. He knows that they are growing and He knows the implications of them growing alongside the wheat. Yet He says, leave them.
I was puzzled by Jesus’ response to the disciples’ reaction. However as I meditated on this all through last week, it made sense.
The disciples wanted to uproot the weeds. To uproot is to pull something out of the ground. To deny it of what it needs to grow. To kill it. To condemn it.
It is not our job to judge anyone. I am very careful saying this because the phrase ‘judge not’ has been thrown around a lot and people use it as a defensive mechanism to help them continue in their sin and to shun accountability.
So the question now is what can we do? Do we just watch and do nothing about the weeds? Do we fold our hands until they take over the land? No. I don’t think this is what Jesus meant by His response. We can do a lot of things such as:
- Nurturing the believers so they can keep growing. The reason for this is because as the unbelievers begin to feed from the same soil that the believers are feeding from, a lot more teaching is needed to ensure that there is enough for the believers to live by. Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on unbelievers that we end up starving new believers of what they need to grow.
- Stay away from judging the unbelievers but keep praying and reaching out to them in love with the aim of them coming to Christ. Remember that love and truth are inseparable. Showing love and hiding truth is promoting lie. We have to share the truth but it needs to be wrapped in love.
- Helping the believers stay focused on the goal instead of being distracted by what the world is doing.
- Perhaps as the believers grow to become more like Christ, their lives will impact the lives of the unbelievers positively.
Will believers and unbelievers coexist forever? No. The separation will be done in the end when Christ comes. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is time for everything. Until then, let’s not lose the wheat as we attempt to uproot the weeds. There is a lot of work to be done. “Look at the fields, they are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
Next time on this series, we will be looking at the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
–Efua Uke is a United Kingdom-based mentor, blogger, and contributor to Ambo TV. This article originally appeared on her website Grace Over Pain.