Wheat and Tares
Wheat and Tares (13:37-43)
Pearl of Great Price (13:45-46)
the Parables (13:51)
heaven, wheat, tares, gather, mustard seed, leaven, righteous, hear, treasure,
hidden, found, sells/buys, pearl of great price, dragnet, good/bad, householder,
new and old.
1. The Son of
Man, our Lord Jesus (37). He sowed the seed by coming to this world to preach
the message of the kingdom and to lay down His life so we may be heirs of the
kingdom (cf. Eph 2:11-19).
2. As seeds, the
tares look the same as the wheat, but when they sprout and produce a crop, the
difference shows. In the same way, although every professed Christian confesses
Christ at his conversion, the life and conduct of the Christian is what marks
him as a true believer (1Jn 2:3-6; Mt 7:15-27).
3. God does not
mete out punishment because even the righteous can hardly withstand an
immediate judgment (1Pet 4:18). God waits until the sin of the wicked reaches
its full measure (cf. Gen 15:16). While God allows evil to remain in the world,
it does not mean that judgment will not come on the wicked.
4. It is God’s
exercise of His authority through the words and saving works of the Lord Jesus
Christ (12:28). While the gospel of Jesus Christ spreads in the world, evil
will still reside in the world, either in the form of outright rejection of the
gospel or wicked deeds. But Christ will not judge those who reject Him and the
evildoers until the time of the final separation (Jn
5. Evil should
not exist in the assembly of believers, although it does exist in the world
(the field represents the world), as Paul makes clear in 1Cor 5:10. Although
God does not bring about immediate judgment to those outside the church, wicked
doers in the Christian community who claim to be believers must be ostracized
in order to preserve the purity of the church (2Jn 9-11; Mt 18:15-17).
6a. If we carry
forward the Lord’s own interpretation from the previous parable, the birds
would represent the wicked one (19; cf. Rev 18:2).
6b. In most cases, the Bible uses leaven as a symbol of sin,
wickedness, or false teachings (Mt 16:6-12; Mk 8:15; 1Cor 5:6-8; Gal 5:9; Ex
7. Like the
mustard seed, the kingdom of heaven seems small and insignificant at the start.
But it will become much more visible and seemingly large. Ironically, hidden in
the appearance of expansion is the ever-present work of Satan.
8. Many expected
that God’s kingdom would come mightily and visibly, and that it will only come
at the end of the age. But the Lord told them that the kingdom of heaven had
already come, even though it had a humble appearance and wickedness still
persisted. The final judgment and removal of evil will take place at the end of
9. Parables serve
to reveal what is hidden. Taken with 13-15, we learn that parables have a dual
function of revealing and concealing. God’s mysteries (gospel of salvation) are
revealed to the humble but concealed to the hard-hearted (12; 11:25).
10a. It is worth far more than everything we own or can be proud
10b. Instead of
holding on to our possessions, be they wealth, fame, or accomplishments, we
must be willing to devote ourselves and everything we have to the Lord in order
to receive the kingdom of heaven. This is not to say that we can earn
salvation, but that every moment of our lives and everything we own should be
used solely for living for Christ rather than for our own enjoyment or pride (Php 3:4-9).
11. In both
parables, the good and the bad were allowed to coexist for the time being. But
at the end comes the separation, when the wicked will be thrown into the
furnace of fire and the righteous received into the kingdom.
12a. Teachers who
have been “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven.” In
other words, those who have accepted the message and become Christ’s follower.
12a. A scribe who does not accept Jesus as Lord can only teach
people about the old, i.e. the works of the law. But someone who believes in
Christ is able to understand and bring out the full meaning of God’s law
because Christ is the fulfillment of the law (Gal 3:23,24;
Mt 5:17). As believers who have been instructed about the kingdom of heaven, it
is our responsibility to preach the message of salvation and teach others to
obey what Christ has commanded (Mt 28:18-20).