“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed ...’” (Matthew 13:25-29)

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from? ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:25-29)

How is this different from the previous farmer sowing seed parable?

Notice that Jesus told a similar parable in Matthew 13:3-9. Both of these discuss a farmer that sows seeds. What is the difference between these two parables?

This parable discusses an enemy that came when the farmer was sleeping and planted weeds. The farmer and seed parable in Matthew 13:3-9 - the first one - discusses the outcome related to planting seeds in different environments.

The first parable is comparing the nature of the soil to the nature of our heart when we hear the Truth. A person who hears the Truth with a calloused heart will not allow the Truth to grow within their heart. But a person who is soft-hearted and seeking the Truth will receive the Truth with an open mind and allow the Truth to grow.

In this parable, Jesus is discussing our choices in life and the consequences of our choices. Let's discuss this meaning further.

What does Jesus mean by 'the kingdom of heaven'?

When Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like ...” he is not speaking of a physical place.

The word "kingdom" here is being translated from the Greek word βασιλεία (basileia). Here is what the lexicon states regarding its meaning: "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule: not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."

Jesus is speaking of the Supreme Being's dominion - His ultimate authority. So the kingdom of heaven relates to the consciousness of accepting the ultimate authority and dominion of the Supreme Being. This means essentially taking shelter or sanctuary in God.

During ancient times, tribal kings fought with each other over territory and people. This meant that in order to be protected, a common person had to choose to take allegiance from a particular king - in order to gain that protection. This was essentially taking refuge of that particular king.

This is what Jesus is alluding to - except that he is requesting that people seek the refuge and protection of the Supreme Being: By accepting His authority and dominion.

This also means accepting our own position as one of God's loving servants.

Do we have freedom of choice?

Some teach that our fate is sealed and we have no choices in life. Others teach that life is chaotic and there is no ultimate meaning.

Rather, this life is a teaching opportunity. Physical reality teaches us. Here we have the freedom to make certain choices in life, and those choices, and the actions we take, have consequences. It is these consequences that provide learning experiences for us.

Ultimately, we have taken on physical bodies in this environment to learn about love and our innate loving relationship with God.

Our issue ("the enemy" in Jesus' parable) is that we have become self-centered. As a result, the Supreme Being allowed us to exercise our self-centeredness by taking on a temporary physical body and exert our self-centeredness onto others to be someone we are not. At the same time, this world is designed to teach us the futility of self-centeredness.

This is because most of us in the physical world want to be the center of the universe. So our loving Friend God gave us a place where we could play that out. He is allowing us to pretend to be the center. Now the question is, how do we return home, back to our loving relationship with Him?

What are the metaphors of Jesus' parable?

The “man” and “owner” of the field symbolizes the Supreme Being. The field is His, and this is His creation.

The "owner's servants" and "harvesters" are the Supreme Being's loving servants and messengers, such as Jesus, as Jesus himself admits:
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him Who sent me." (John 7:16)
We have to remember that God’s representative is doing God’s will. This is why the "servants" ask the "owner" what to do about the "weeds."

The “seed” is the teachings of God that originate from the Supreme Being, and are passed out by God's messengers. For those who desire to return home, these seeds plant within the heart and hopefully grow until they mature into the flower of love for God.

The “enemy” is our self-centered desires - and the attractions of the physical world that reflect these desires.

The “sleep” represents our forgetfulness of the Supreme Being, and have our own self-interest in mind.

The “weeds” represent those who follow their self-centered lives and the speculations of the mind - ultimately those who choose not to return to their relationship with the Supreme Being.

Those who choose to return to our innate loving service relationship with the Supreme Being are guided back to Him - symbolized by the "harvesters." How does that work? Jesus described it here:
"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (John 7:17-18)
In other words, those who decide to return to their loving service relationship with the Supreme Being are given the understanding that allows them to determine who is speaking the truth. By following those teachings, they are guided back to Him.

Why didn't the owner pull the weeds?

Notice that in Jesus' parable, the "owner" didn't have the servants pull the weeds. He allowed them to keep growing.

This illustrates that the Supreme Being gives us the freedom to continue to grow, even if we are self-centered. We always are given the choice to love or not love, and to have a change of heart. This is freedom, because love without freedom is not real love, and the Supreme Being wants real love. This is why fanatical teachers and their institutions cannot represent the Supreme Being.

The burning of the weeds at harvest relates to the eventual outcome of our choices. Those who choose not to return to their loving service relationship with the Supreme Being will continue their self-centered existence.

But with that, they must also accept the hardships of the physical world in this lifetime and the next - that place where everyone else is also self-centered. This is a miserable and lonely existence - a place symbolized by "burning" because the emptiness inside (having lost our loving relationship with God) produces the burning of lust and greed, which can translate to anger and violence if stoked.

But for those who are serious about returning to our unique loving service relationship with the Supreme Being - His "harvesters" can teach us the tools to learn to love Him and serve Him again:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)