Life is all about stories and every person has a story. God, too, has a story – the grand metanarrative – that makes sense of every human story; for the sacred Scriptures make known two kinds of wisdom so that every human being can make sense of, and interpret properly, his or her story in light of His story:
+. a soteriological wisdom: to make us wise unto salvation which is by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15)
+. a hermeneutical wisdom: to help us make sense of life’s story in light of His story and the many stories recorded in Scripture (Matthew 13:11, 16-17, 51-52; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
In the parable of “the wheat and the weeds,” what essential teaching does Jesus share with us about the fundamental human condition so that we might benefit from its wisdom and grow in our discipleship as “a wise scribe, trained for the kingdom” (Matthew 13:52).
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
What did the parable mean “then and there?”
In this parable, there was a man who sowed good seed in his field but an enemy came and sowed weeds among his wheat. As the plants began to grow, the servants discovered the weeds among the wheat and wondered where they came from and what should they do.
The sower of the good seed told them that an enemy had done this and that they were to let both the wheat and the weeds grow together until the time of harvest; and, at that time, the wheat and the weeds would be separated and dealt with accordingly.
The One who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man and the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The one who sowed the bad seed is the devil and the bad seed are the children of the evil one. The location for this sowing activity is the world. The harvest will take place at “the end of the age” in which there will be a separation of the two kingdoms; yet, until then, both kingdoms are to exist together.
What does the parable mean “here and now?”
+. since the garden of Eden, God and Satan have been engaged in a great cosmic conflict for the soul of every human being. As a result of this conflict, there are two kinds of people and the whole course of history is the intermingling of these two peoples. In the one kingdom, Satan reigns and holds captive to his will all those who have not been wrested from him by the Spirit of Christ; in the other kingdom, Christ reigns and we are transferred into His kingdom, not by our own power, but by the grace of God (Colossians 1:13-14).
+. man, without the Holy Spirit, is the devil’s kingdom (Luther, Bondage of the Will, 133)…for the man who is not born again (John 3:3-18) is “flesh” and is ungodly since he is without the Spirit of God, for whatever is flesh is ungodly, under God’s wrath, and a stranger to His kingdom…and if a man is a stranger to God’s kingdom and Spirit, it follows of necessity that he is under the kingdom and spirit of Satan (Luther 253)
+. there are only two kinds of people in the world – children of the evil one who are walking the broad path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14) or children of the kingdom who have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit who has called them by the Gospel – there is no third kingdom
+. until the day of judgment, both kinds of people are to live together; and, on that last day, the Son Himself will send angels to separate the wheat from the weeds (Matthew 13:30)…the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33)…those who build upon the Rock and those who build upon sand (Matthew 7:24-27)…and escort every human being to where they will spend their eternity
+. Satan has ignited many “false lights” in the world: Animism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism…in order that people might be confused and not recognize Him who is the true Light (John 1:1-14; 3:19-21; 8:12; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:11-12)
+. until the day of separation, there is still the opportunity for people to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel
In closing, let us impress these words from Scripture upon our hearts that address the need of every person to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’” (John 3:3-6)
“For every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!...So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Romans 10:13-15, 17)
“…He (the Father) has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14)