Matthew 13:24-43 – The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat and Its Interpretation; the Mustard Seed, the Yeast, and Jesus’ Teaching in Parables


Matthew 13:24-43


Jesus’ teaching in parables is in fulfillment of scriptural prophecy. The parable of the weeds among the wheat sees the kingdom of heaven to be like a farmer who sows good seed and then is surprised to find it also contains weeds. The weeds and the wheat must be allowed to grow together until the time of harvest, because, like a mustard seed or like yeast, the kingdom will grow and expand.


Like the parable of the sower with its interpretation, the next section presents a parable and its explanation to the disciples by Jesus. This parable and explanation frame two other brief parables and are followed by a second statement about the reason for Jesus’ parable teaching. Matthew’s reworking of Mark and his preference for structure are both to be seen here in support of his key themes. He has removed Mark’s parable about the seed growing secretly and replaced it with his unique one about the weeds growing among the wheat. As such he has shifted the question from how the seed grows to why there are so many weeds among the wheat and what to do about it. The interpretation provides transparent instruction to Matthew’s own audience about life while they wait for the return of Jesus. The sower is the Son of Man who at the end of time will come to gather his good seed, the righteous children of the kingdom, and separate out the weeds, the children of the evil one, and burn them in fire. The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast are framed by this teaching and so underscore the confidence in the growth of the kingdom in spite of the signs to the contrary.