Summary: A sermon on the problem and end of evil from Jesus’ parable of the weeds and wheat.
An Enemy Has Done This
The world has been staggering from the overwhelming catastrophes that have taken place since the beginning of this year. The devastating earthquake and resulting tsunamis in Japan left over 28,000 people dead or missing. There are mudslides in South Korea that have taken lives and homes. Volcanoes are erupting in Indonesia, Ethiopia and elsewhere. Droughts in Somalia and other places have large numbers of people starving. Drought in our own country has led to wildfires that have consumed more land than ever recorded in our history. Meanwhile, the places which did not need rain got far more than they needed, and it did not stop. Flooding has engulfed large expanses of land and swept away people and homes. On top of that we have had torrential storms that have devastated whole communities. And if you really want to get overwhelmed you can go to the Global Disaster Watch website for a complete listing of all that is going on around the globe. For the people caught in these disasters it must have seemed like the end of the world, and for many of them it was.
When it comes to things like this, it rocks us and we are often led to ask “Why? — Why would God let something like this happen.” It is very much to the point of Jesus parable today. A man sows his field with wheat – good seed. But as the crop grows, it becomes obvious that bad seed has been sown in the field. The laborers come to the owner of the field and say, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?” (Matthew 13:27). So it is with us. The world is the field and the owner is God. He is supposed to have sown good seed in his field, so how then does evil sprout up in a world which is supposed to be good? For many people, their first impulse is to blame God. God was supposed to make a good world, but there is evil and suffering in the world, therefore, he must be responsible. Either he has deceived us and made evil as a part of our world, or he himself is evil. He is not a good God after all. That is the conclusion that many draw.
One way to look at it is that it is neither good nor evil, it is just the natural forces of world at work. Tectonic plates are just doing what they have to do. They shift and adjust, and if they did not it would be calamitous for the globe. There has to be give and take within the earth. That earthquakes, and the Tsunamis which follow them, come is just a natural part of the shifting of these plates. Likewise, rain just does what rain is supposed to do — and sometimes floods happen. Fire is just doing what fire does, and sometimes forests and houses get in the way. Wind is just doing what wind must do, and sometimes the force of them is deadly. But it is not evil, and God is not behind it intending to punish the world or the people in it. It just is what it is.
But there is more to it than that. The landowner explains to his servants: “An enemy has done this.” An enemy. The owner has an enemy. He is not as powerful as the landowner, and certainly not good. He is a schemer. He comes only to ruin, or as Jesus said, he is a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). We live in a fallen world. The world fell away from God in the Garden of Eden and has continued to fall away from God away ever since. The apostle Paul explains it like this: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved” (Romans 8:19-24). Sin has not only affected us, it has affected the world around us as well. The world is distorted and far from what God originally planned and wanted. As a result, nature is fraught with natural disasters. Sin has corrupted us and the world we live in. So rather than blaming God, the blame rests on the human family which has rebelled against God. Our world, and the people in it, can be dangerous. Sin and the devil are those who have sown the bad seed that affects the kind of world in which we live.