In order to illustrate or explain basic spiritual principles, Jesus
used parables – short stories – to which his listeners could easily
A well-known parable found in Matthew is the one about the wheat and
the tares. Jesus used “wheat” as a metaphor for those who were
“believers” and “tares” (undesirable weeds found in grain fields) for
those who were “unbelievers.”
24. He [Jesus] presented another parable to them, saying, "The
kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his
25. "But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares
also among the wheat, and went away.
26. "But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares
became evident also.
27. "And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir,
did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
28. "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' And the slaves
said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'
29. "But he said, 'No; lest while you are gathering up the tares,
you may root up the wheat with them.
30. 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time
of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares
and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my
barn." ' "
~ New American Standard Bible
Jesus is telling us that there are deceivers in this world who try to
lead sensitive, Godly people astray. But there is a day of reckoning for
every person, because every person will be known by their fruit (the
mature grains of wheat as distinguishable from the tares).
After two thousand years since Jesus walked upon the earth, the
spiritual lesson of the parable still applies. Obviously, if Jesus were
on the earth today, He would use different metaphors. I can’t help but
think that slave-owners in our own country most likely once used the
reference to slaves found in this passage of the Bible to justify
slavery. This shows that those slave owners were a product of the
“tares,” even though they pretended to be “wheat.”
Today many people (“tares”) are using other Bible verses out of
context in an attempt to justify the horrible treatment of animals. At
the same time, they try to convince others that such cruel treatment is
what God desires. Nothing could be further from the truth.