Summary: Using the parable of the wheat and the tares, addresses the problem of evil and specifically the terrible events the American people have suffered, with love and prayers from England.
None of us can have failed to be moved, shocked, numbed perhaps in disbelief at the sights we’ve seen this week.
· The Terror of the events as they unfolded, the graphic images so familiar from action films yet so far removed from real life for most of us- until now. I’m sure this monstrosity is something we will never forget.
· The reality only begins to sink in perhaps as the death toll becomes known, and we begin to discover people and places known to us in some way affected by this tragedy. The word ‘enormity’ when linked to tragedy is misused these days. It does not just mean ‘enormous,’ it means ‘terribly evil.’ What we’ve witnessed stagers us because of its enormity. Evil let loose, evil become plain to see. It bewilders us.
In the readings from Matthew 13, we hear Jesus telling a parable and then explaining it to his bewildered disciples.
Most people are very familiar with the passage that goes before it, the parable of the sower or rather the parable of the seed and the soils, where a sower goes out and sows the message of the kingdom, and the response of the soils, the place where the seed hits- becomes the crucial thing. Some accept the message, others refuse. They get to choose.
So will you. Some people will see the things we’ve seen this week and shake a fist toward heaven. Others will open their hands and cast their cares on God, knowing he cares for them and those who are suffering. You get to choose.
This next parable is not so famous, though it similarly involves a sower, a field that’s sown in, and good seed. Now with some parables we have to think really hard about how they might apply. The disciples did that a bit, then drew a blank. They came to Jesus and sad ‘Sorry Lord, we give up. What are you getting at here?’ They went to Jesus for answers. It’s a good thing to do.
I’m glad Jesus answered them. In fact, he explained each element in the story so nobody then or now would have to speculate or guess…
FIELD = The world. Our world, planet Earth. Throughout all history. Jesus has been working in the field. He still is.
GOOD SEED = the sons of the kingdom.
SOWER = ‘The Son of Man.’ Literally, ‘Me, myself, the Son of God who was prophesied and now has come.’ Jesus himself is the Son of man.
Before we go any further with that.. Question. Who are the Sons of the kingdom Jesus is talking about? Someone will say ‘Aren’t we all God’s children? Isn’t God everyone’s Father?’
Well according to the Bible, according to this story and many other references, I have to tell you- the answer’s no.
God is everyone’s creator. But the relationship of being a Son belongs primarily to Jesus Christ, and secondarily, by adoption, to anyone else who will come into his family. Jesus is the Son. The only Son. And the great news is that he wants us too to become God’s sons. Despite our sins and rebellion, he has a plan to adopt us, to bring us into his family.
John 1:12 Believe + Receive = Become. (Willow Creek Contagious Christian illustration) That’s the mathematics of heaven.
Are you a son? Are you a child of the kingdom? Are you part of the good seed God is scattering all over the earth, planted where Jesus wants you- to grow in his love?
Look at the story and you’ll see there comes a time when evil becomes apparent. At first there just looks to be an awful lot wheat in the field, because Darnel or ‘tares’ when it’s growing looks just like wheat. But then someone sees the horrific thing that’s happened! There are tares in with the wheat!
This weeks events have shown that quite clearly, there are tares in with the wheat. We don’t like to point the finger, we want to think the best, but there is darkness in the hearts of people. Sometimes the evil becomes plain in a small thing- a lie gets discovered, an angry word is shouted. In New York and Washington, on out TV screens and our newspapers, evil has been plainly seen for what it is.
Look at verse 25 for a moment.
A natural reaction to seeing evil is to ask, “How do such vile things happen?” Many will even say, “ Why didn’t God do something?”
Notice, this is the servants who are talking, “Didn’t you sow good seed? Where did these weeds come from? With respect, it doesn’t look to us like you did a very good job here….”
God’s big enough for our questions.
Big enough for us to get cross with.