Gospel of Matthew 13: 36-43 (NIV)
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then (Jesus) 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 sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons 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 fiery 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. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The parable of the weeds is one of several in chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus used to give insights into the kingdom of heaven: “the kingdom of heaven is like …”. Jesus presented several without explaining their meaning but he showed his disciples what this parable and that of the fishermen’s net (verses 47-50) really meant.
Some today will tell you that all people are destined for heaven regardless of their attitude towards Jesus and regardless of what faith they profess. One said to me, “My God is a god of love!” as if that characteristic took precedence over all others, precluding the god of her imagination from being holy, from acting justly and from refusing to countenance evil.
But Jesus used both of the parables for which he gave an explanation to teach that the kingdom of heaven is not open to just anybody. The parable of the weeds reveals that, at the end of the age, the angels sent out by the Son of Man will weed out of his kingdom all that causes sin and all who do evil.
The parable of the net let down to catch fish shows us that, just as fishermen collect the good fish in baskets and throw the bad away, so the angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous. The wicked are destined, said Jesus, for the “fiery furnace”.
But who among us is righteous? None is, in our own strength. “All have sinned,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23). Those who put their complete trust in Jesus are, however, granted a righteous status; it is a status not earned but freely given through the grace of God. Again I quote the Apostle Paul (Romans 3):
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe … 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We must be wary of ever trying to create God in our own image whether the god we create be a god only of love or a god only of vengeance. We have Holy Scripture, we have the testimony of the Son of God and we have the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to teach us everything about God that God wishes to reveal of God’s self. These are what are to guide our understanding of the nature of the God we worship.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27: 8).