Harvesting the Sons of the Kingdom
Matthew 13:24‑30, 36‑43
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a man sowing good seed in a field. While he was resting at night, an enemy sowed tares in the field. Lightfoot thinks the tares are of the variety known as "bearded darnel." It was a poisonous rye grass which looks very much like wheat in its early stages of development. When the wheat began to put on heads, it was obvious tares were mixed in with the wheat.
Rather than damage the wheat by trying to separate the tares, the householder instructed his servants to let both grow together. He planned to let the reapers bundle up the tares to be burned and collect the wheat in his barn.
Jesus Explained the Meaning
No better interpreter for any parable could be found than the Lord. The disciples asked him what the parable meant. He said the one who sowed the seed was the Son of Man. The world was the field. The good seed were members of the church, or children of the kingdom. The tares were children of the devil's kingdom. The devil was the enemy who sowed wicked people in the world. Jesus said the angels would harvest the sons of God and the sons of the devil at the end of the world.
The sons of the devil will be gathered together to be burned. The sons of God, on the other hand, will be taken to a glorious place. They will enjoy the kingdom of their Father.
Christians Confront Sin In the World
Much as some might dream of an exclusively Christian community or nation, the fact is that saints and sinners live in this world together. Jesus prayed, "I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one" (John 17:14‑15).
Christians must constantly be on guard against the temptation to sin. For instance, "those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 6:9). Instead of believing they are not subject to sin, Christians should rely on God's help to overcome temptation (1 John 1:7‑10; 1 Corinthians 10:12‑13).
The Devil Has Children Too
The devil sows seed just as surely as the Lord does. Paul describes him as, "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). Sinners are truly children of the devil. John says, "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning" (1 John 3:8a).
It should be remembered that it is not always easy to distinguish between the Lord's children and the devil's. In Paul's day, some false teachers pretended to be apostles of Christ. "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:12‑15).
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus even described some who would call him Lord yet not do the will of the Father in heaven. He says such will not be allowed to enter into the kingdom of heaven. "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21‑23).
The Lord Will Judge
The parable makes it plain it is not the job of any Christian to determine the final destiny of others. Instead, God and the angels will separate all people into two groups. The sons of the devil will be cast into the fire. The sons of God will be invited into the kingdom of heaven for eternity (John 5:28‑29; Galatians 6:7‑8; Revelation 20:13‑15).
Jesus warned his followers not to judge so they would not be judged. Christians should not focus on the faults and sins of others. Instead, they should rid their own lives of sin so they might please God. It is only their responsibility to observe the fruits another's life produces to determine if they are false prophets. If so, they should be avoided. However, even the false prophet can only ultimately be condemned by God (Matthew 7:1‑5, 15‑20).
1. Briefly tell the parable of the wheat and tares.
--Gary Hampton, author, evangelist, and preacher training school
--Gary Hampton, author, evangelist, and preacher training school director