Online Bible Commentary
Matthew 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.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?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
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.’”...
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.
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, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 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. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (NIV)
Jesus tells the parable of the weeds and then later in the passage explains the parable. This parable refers to everyone who claims to be a Christian.
Jesus is saying that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is indeed a Christian. He uses this story of the wheat and the weeds, or tares, that grow with the wheat and appear to be wheat.
The Greek word used for “weeds” in this passage is zizania, which refers to a weed also called darnel (Lolium temulentum). The temulentum, if eaten, produces convulsions and sometimes death.
Jesus says not to try and identify and weed out the pretend Christians for fear of weeding out the real Christians. He says the pretend Christians will be weeded out by the angels at the judgment.
He says the angels “will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” These are the pretend Christians. Like the temulentum they can cause spiritual sickness or even spiritual death.
True believers need to be wary of these pretend Christians, and careful not to be one by supporting sin of any kind. Historically, we have seen how pretend Christians have caused much damage to true believers, the church, and to the Christian movement.