Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ second parable is about wheat and weeds.
Here’s the story.
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who planted wheat. But soon the farmhands reported, “Your wheatfield is full of weeds. How did that happen?”
“My enemy must have sowed the weeds,” he replied.
“Shall we pull them up?” asked the helpers.
“No don’t do it,” replied the farmer. “If you pull the weeds, you’ll damage the wheat. Let the weeds and wheat grow together until harvest. Then we can separate the weeds and burn them, and gather the wheat into the barn.”
Here are three questions about this parable.
– Jesus used the story to teach about the kingdom of heaven. So what is the kingdom of heaven?
– Second, where did the enemy come from? and finally
– How does this parable teach us to deal with evil?
Let’s start by looking at what Matthew calls “the kingdom of heaven”. Mark and Luke call it “the kingdom of God”. Clearly, God is king, but he’s invisible. Jesus is his man, but he was hung on a cross. The church is his people, but we are a squabbling, divisive, disorganized crew. I am an agent in God’s kingdom, but my loyalties are conflicted and my behavior inconsistent. Is God really king over all this chaos? Jesus’ answer is, “Yes, he is. But he doesn’t express his kingship with incessant tweets or military parades or displays power. He expresses his kingship with simple, unremarkable strategies like sowing seed and watching it grow.”
Meanwhile, God’s enemy is also sowing seeds in the world. Where did this enemy come from? If God created everything that exists, and if he created it all good, where did something go bad? Who invented the weeds? Jesus, like the rest of the Bible, never gives a clear answer to this question. The answer implied in this parable is, “Look at the world you live in. Clearly, there’s lots of good crops sown by God and lots of bad stuff sown by someone else. It’s God’s enemy who works in weeds and disease and war and chaos.”
So, what to do about the evil in the world? In Jesus’ wheat-and-weeds parable, the farmhands want to rip out the weeds and destroy the evil. Perhaps a drone strike will fix the weeds. Or spray them with lethal chemicals. Get right on the problem before it gets worse! But Jesus says, “No, don’t do it. If you try to identify and uproot all the evil, you’ll destroy most of the good along with it. Let the good and the evil grow together, and we’ll sort it out at harvest time.”
Jesus, you were born into a world with a long history of cruel kingdoms and relentless warfare and monstrous disasters and disease. But it is also a history marked with human love and creativity and beauty. And you announced that this world is God’s kingdom. And that the good seeds God planted in this field called “Earth” are growing inevitably into a harvest.
On good days, we see and believe this, Lord. But on bad days, the weeds of evil fill our vision, and we fear the strong enemy who sows chaos. We live among the weeds of pandemic and economic crisis, and we grow our own weeds of fear and isolation. But through it all your good seed grows along with the evil, in communities that share their goods instead of hoarding, in the medical staff that risk their lives to heal the sick, in the governments that pass aid packages to help people through crises, and in our hearts when we trust that you care for us.
O God, watch over your good seed as it grows in fields of disease and violence. Help us watch patiently as the good and the evil grow around us. Bring your harvest quickly, when you will burn the weeds and gather the wheat forever.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.