33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like (H) yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds [a] of flour (I) until it worked all through the dough.” (J)
27 “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?’
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. (K) 35 So was fulfilled (L) what was spoken through the prophet:
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast (C) (D)
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. (O) 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, (P) 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest (Q) is the end of the age, (R) and the harvesters are angels. (S)
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 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.’” (B)
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable (N) of the weeds in the field.”
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
"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 blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear" (Matthew 13:37–43).
When Jesus first introduces the parable, He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like. "
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.
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 people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people 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.
To really grasp this parable, it’s helpful to understand that Jesus is describing the kingdom of God. Jesus is sowing gospel seeds throughout the world and raising up Christians. But at the same time, the enemy is in the world spreading counterfeit seed. In its immature state, it isn’t always simple to discern the differences between those that belong to the kingdom and those who do not.
The servants want to help the farmer by uprooting the imposters, but they lack the sensitivity of the angelic harvesters. It’s not the job of the servants to make judgments about what is and isn’t actual wheat. Their job is to serve the farmer as He spreads the legitimate seed.
It seems that the main point of the parable is that unlike the disciples’ expectation, the kingdom of God wouldn’t be a restored Israel. It would be a borderless kingdom where the citizens might not immediately appear much different than those in the kingdom of man. Any attempt to separate the two could do damage to God’s kingdom.
Part 1 — The Presentation (vv. 24–30) presents a simple picture: One field with two sowers. In the field, one person sows good seed while the other sows weeds or “tares.” A tare is a plant that commonly grows in grain fields. Although it looks similar to edible grain, it’s not suitable as food. Many theologians feel that the tare or weed referred to in this parable is darnel, a poisonous weed that resembles wheat. Darnel that grows next to wheat stalks cannot be easily distinguished from real wheat. It’s not until harvest time when the kernels are ripe that a farmer can discern which is wheat and which is weed.
Today’s parable follows the Parable of the Sower, the Seed, and the Soil (Matthew13:1–23), which we covered in this summary. That parable presents how, when God (the “sower”) presents and sows his Word (the “seed”) on a variety of types of people (the “soil”), we can expect to see different results; some people will cultivate much from the growth of God’s Word in their lives, while many will be unable to see the seed take root.
A Story about the Work of the Enemy — Satan
Only God knows. He’s the only one who can see inside a person and realize what lies beneath the sheen and shine of one’s life. And besides, there will be a lot of surprises on judgment day.
These twenty verses of Jesus’ parables are broken into two parts: In the first part (vv. 24–35), he tells three parables to a crowd of interested followers, including his many disciples: the Parable of the Weeds (vv. 24–30) and the brief Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast (vv. 31–35). The second part of today’s passage covers Jesus’ clear explanation to his disciples of the meaning of the Parable of the Weeds (vv. 36–43). You can find each part in the following two videos.
Part 2 — The Explanation (vv. 36–43) reveals to its hearers and us that the kingdom of God is mysterious. His disciples approached him in private where Jesus explained the meanings of (a) the field of the world, (b) the good seed who are the sons of the kingdom, and (c) the weed-like people who’ll face God’s final judgment. He then clarified who the two sowers of his parable were and what would happen to each, as the Part-2 video clip clearly shows.