The parable of the weeds
Some parables are hard to understand, but this one comes with an explanation!
A parable with a bonus explanation
The parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 (read it!) is a great parable to read because it has one main feature that makes it that much easier for us to understand - Jesus explains what it means!!!! Jesus explains the parable in Matt. 13:36-43 (read this too!).
This parable is also what we call an allegory - that is, a story where all the different parts represent something else. But be careful - not all Jesus' parables are allegorical!
Well, we know that the parables of Jesus teach us something about God, his kingdom, and ourselves, so...
What does this parable teach us about God?
This parable teaches us that God is patient with the world. He waits until the time is right before he sends his angels to reap the harvest and separate the wheat from the weeds (the followers of Jesus from those opposed to him). God is giving people the maximum opportunity to mature into either wheat or weeds.
What does this parable teach us about His Kingdom?
It tells us that God's kingdom on earth is mixed with 2 types of people - those who follow Jesus and those who are rebelling against him. But... even though the kingdom is mixed now, there will be a time when the weeds are taken out and God's kingdom will only be wheat. There is judgement coming, but at present we can't always tell which ones are wheat and which ones are weeds.
What does this parable teach us about ourselves?
It means that we shouldn't be quick to judge whether someone is a weed or wheat. We should tell people of God's patience and encourage them to choose to be wheat instead of weeds because a time for judgement is coming and then it'll be too late.
Note: You may be wondering how a weed that is planted a weed can become a wheat...? Well it's true that a plant doesn't change as it is grown, but we must remember that the nature of parables means that we can't always push the meaning to fit all our questions.
Parables show us what God's kingdom is like, but they are not exhaustive down to the finest detail. Here is the trick: parables are used to describe God's Kingdom because we often lack the language and the knowledge to comprehend God's kingdom in any other way.
Jesus uses lots of different imagery to describe various aspects of God's Kingdom, and each image opens up one aspect of the Kingdom but not necessarily any more than that. There are ways in which God's Kingdom is not like a "farmer who sowed seed in his field" because it's more like a mustard seed, or a woman who finds a lost coin, or a man who planted a vineyard, etc...