Wheat and weeds; mustard seed; yeast

In another parable, two types of seed produce two types of plants in the same field. The plants, wheat and weeds, are not separated while they are growing, but are left till harvest time. Then the wheat is put into the farmer’s barn but the weeds are destroyed (Matt 13:24-30).

As with the parable of the sower, Jesus gave his disciples an interpretation (Matt 13:34-36; cf. v. 10,16-18). In the present world those who are in the kingdom of God live alongside those who are not. This was contrary to popular Jewish thinking, which expected the kingdom to come in one mighty act that


would destroy all enemies and set up God’s universal rule of righteousness and peace. Jesus points out that his kingdom is in the world already, but it will have its climax at the end of world history. When that time comes the wicked will be destroyed but the righteous will share in the kingdom’s triumph (Matt 13:37-43).

The parable of the mustard seed foretells the expansion of the kingdom, as seen in the remarkable growth of the church. From small beginnings it grows to a vast community that covers the entire earth (Matt 13:31-32). A similar truth is illustrated by the parable of the yeast (or leaven). As a small amount of yeast spreads through a lump of dough, so will the apparently small kingdom of Jesus spread through the world (Matt 13:33).

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