Summary: Second in a series. The Parable of the Weeds helps us understand why there is evil in the midst of God's kingdom.
Do you ever wonder why it’s often so hard to be a follower of Jesus? Perhaps like me, you once had some well meaning, but naïve person tell you that if you would just give your life to Jesus all your problems would go away, only to find out that is far from reality. I look around this room this morning and see a lot of you here who I know are dealing with some really difficult trials in your lives and also see some who aren’t here because of problems, mostly physical, that they are experiencing right now.
And my first reaction is that isn’t fair. How is it fair that a godly woman like Shirley Williams has stage 4 cancer and faces weekly chemotherapy treatments indefinitely? How is it fair that a man who loves Jesus like Harold Grimm has suffered through so many physical problems? How is it fair that Ron and Mary Karvinen are dealing with so many physical problems and that their family is getting worn out just trying to care for them on a daily basis? How is it fair that my mom has gone through 3 major surgeries in the last year and a half? How is it fair that some of you are dealing with children who are experiencing developmental disabilities? How is it fair that some of you who have done the very best job you could raising your children have seen them rebel against you and against God? How is it fair that some of you are experiencing financial difficulties? How is all that fair?
After all, if, as Jesus claimed, the kingdom of God is at hand, then how is it possible for those who are citizens of that kingdom to suffer like that? You probably won’t be surprised to know that Jesus’ disciples had some very similar questions. At first, following Jesus had not been all that difficult. Early in His ministry Jesus was mostly popular, at least with everyone except the Jewish religious leaders. But by the time Jesus begins to speak to His disciples in parables during the last six months of His earthly ministry, the situation had changed dramatically.
So the disciples naturally began to wonder why, if the kingdom of heaven had indeed come, that the ruler of that kingdom, Jesus, was meeting with such great opposition. You have to remember that these disciples still were looking for Jesus to initiate a physical kingdom in which He would rule here on earth. So when it became apparent that the religious leaders were planning to kill the king of that kingdom, the disciples couldn’t understand why such evil could hold such power in that kingdom. That is the issue that Jesus addresses in the parable that we’ll examine together this morning.
So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Matthew 13 and follow along as I read that parable, which begins in verse 24:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
(Matthew 13:24-30, ESV)
Just like with the Parable of the Sower that we examined last week, we don’t have to guess about the interpretation of this parable because Jesus interprets the parable for His disciples – and for us. Let’s read that explanation which begins in verse 36:
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.