The people who weren't Jesus' followers heard Him tell many parables, but they didn't understand what He was talking about. Jesus, however, would always explain the parables to His followers later on because they were open to the truth (see Mark 4:34). Aren't you glad that the Bible records many of Jesus' explanations so that His modern-day followers can also understand His parables?
Today we read the parable of the wheat and the tares. Tares are weeds that look very much like wheat, but when the wheat begins to produce grain, the tares produce nothing. From God's perspective, there are only two categories of people in the earth: "the people of the Kingdom" who are the followers of Jesus, and "the people who belong to the evil one" who are not followers of Jesus. Although saved and unsaved people look a lot alike, what differentiates them is their fruit, or lifestyles. True believers in Jesus act like it, just as true wheat produces grain.
At present, God is allowing both saved and unsaved to live side by side. But that will not always be the case. At the end of the world the two categories will be separated, and the unsaved will be gathered by God's angels and thrown into hell where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42). The godly people, however, will live together forever in God's kingdom with brand new glorified bodies. Perhaps Jesus was literally referring to those new bodies when He said we will "shine like the sun" (Matthew 13:43). (And you thought you were a bright kid now!)
Two other parables we read today illustrate the future outcome of what Jesus began two thousand years ago. Both parables are about things that grow large after a small start. A mustard seed is so tiny that it's difficult to see without a magnifying glass, but it grows into a huge plant. So God's kingdom began very small, with just Jesus and a few disciples. But it has been growing ever since then, and one day there will be nothing other than God's kingdom. And, only a little bit of yeast is added to bread dough to make it rise, but that little yeast permeates the entire lump, ultimately affecting the whole loaf of bread. So, too, one day Jesus' influence will affect the entire world. That is the day we're waiting for!
Q. Can you imagine living in a world where everyone is obedient to God and has a glorified body? Can you think of some things people now use that won't be necessary in God's kingdom?
A. Door locks, guns, burglar alarms, band-aids, and deodorant to name a few!
Q. Jesus never once referred to people as Christians and non-Christians. In what we read today, He defined people as either being "people of the kingdom" or people "who belong to the evil one," evildoers or godly (see Matthew 13:38,41,43). What do these terms tell us about who really is a Christian and who is not?
A. They tell us that people who are evildoers and claim to be Christians are not really Christians.Application: Most people think that things will always be the way they are right now. But what we read today from the lips of God's Son indicates that is not the case. The wisest thing anyone can do is to get ready for the eternal future, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Although Christians may be in the minority right now, one day we'll be a 100% majority.
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