Matthew 13:24–30 (ESV): The Parable of the Weeds
SynopsisIn this passage Jesus tells the Parable of the Weeds, and, as is so often the case with Jesus’ parables, there’s no point synopsizing it when you can just go and read it (ESV).
ThoughtsJesus’ parable about the weeds and the wheat is part of the explanation of why God allows sin to continue in the world; you can’t really tackle that problem without coming to terms with the fact that sin is committed by people; the only way you could eliminate sin would to eliminate the people who are committing the sin. Until God is ready to create the new Heaven and new Earth, and until He has all of the children He has chosen, He is leaving the sinners and Christians in the world together.
The ESV Study Bible mentioned an interesting point about the weeds:
Weeds (plural of Gk. zizanion, only here in the NT) are probably darnel, a weedy rye grass with poisonous black seeds which resembles wheat in its early growth but is easily distinguished from it at maturity. Any attempt to gather the weeds would only endanger the wheat, because the roots of the weeds would be intertwined with those of the wheat.
Especially interesting, to me, is the point that, at first, the weeds would seem a lot like the wheat. I’m sure we’ve all known people who were, at one time, indistinguishable from Christians, only for them to later fall from the faith. In fact, as a youth group leader I saw this much more commonly than I would have liked. When it comes to teenagers in a youth group, or Christians in general, you never really know who is a Christian and who is going to fall away; you just can’t tell. The only way you can know for sure is that if they continue in the faith, it means they were Christians all along (see Colossians 1:21–23 (ESV)).
As with any of Jesus’ parables, it’s best to take the point he is making here without trying to mine through it looking for hidden meanings; e.g. when he says that the weeds will be gathered first, and then the wheat, is he talking about the order in which things will happen on judgement day—that the sinners will be taken first, and then the righteous next? I don’t think so. (Of course this is a safe example to use because it doesn’t matter whether the sinners will be taken first or the righteous; God knows what He is going to do on judgement day and in what order; we don’t have to worry about that. As long as we’re saved, we’ll be with Him, and the specifics of how He accomplishes that don’t matter.)