The Tares and the Wheat

Jesus' use of parable in the teaching of his doctrine was masterful. Living, as he did, in a community of simple folk, for the most part humble fishermen, farmers, and shepherds, he drew his metaphors from the objects and circumstances with which they were familiar, from the fields, the flocks, and from the birds and beasts. The parable of the tares is drawn from the wheat fields, which then as now furnish a large part of the food supply to the inhabitants of that rather arid and unproductive country. Wheat was indigenous in Palestine and was a natural and valuable crop. If the harvest failed, great hardship was entailed, and because of its importance, special care was taken in its cultivation and in keeping it clear of weeds.

One of the common weeds growing in the wheat is the tare or darnel, which so closely resembles the grain that only the trained eye can detect it. As the tare is of no use and saps the soil, the fields are carefully examined in order that this enemy to the grain may be destroyed.

Christ Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven "unto a man which sowed good seed in his field," but an enemy came while he was asleep and sowed tares among the grain which sprang up and grew with the wheat. The servants, seeing the tares growing in the wheat, asked how they came there. The man told them, whereupon the servants asked if they should not pull up the weeds—the tares, which were obstructing the growth of the grain. The reply of the Master was most significant: "Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them." At the harvest the tares would be separated from the wheat to be burned, while the grain was to be gathered into bins.

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"The shield of faith"
July 9, 1927

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