Wheat and weeds…

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wheat-and-tares

Matthew 13:24 (Jesus) put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them… 36 Then (Jesus) left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

Sorry for the long passage, but for our purposes we needed both the parable and the explanation. There is a lot here to reflect upon, but I’ll focus on two things:

(1) Jesus makes it clear that good (the wheat) and evil (the weeds) will co-exist until he comes again to judge the world. This can be frustrating because it means that violence, injustice, and death remain. For now. Yes, the enemy of God (“the devil” as Jesus calls him) will be defeated in the end, but the battle continues. Sort of like the Carolina Panthers in the last few minutes of the Super Bowl. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). The matter has been decided, but the clock has not yet run out.

(2) In case you were wondering, yes there will be a final judgment and those found outside of the righteousness of salvation through Jesus will be in a very bad place “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. The bible calls this place “hell” or “Hades” or “Sheol”. I realize that our modern culture wants to deny the existence of judgment or hell, but Jesus didn’t see it that way – and as the Son of the living God, I think Jesus is in a position to know.  Thank God that Jesus came to take our sin upon himself on the cross, so that “whoever believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)

Heavenly Father, it is hard living in a violent and unjust world. Give us grace to endure hardship at the hands of evil, and to anxiously anticipate the coming of your Kingdom in its fullness at the end of this age. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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