Summary: Dare we talk about this fire that Jesus mentions? Is it real? Is it a literal place with literal fire and wailing and gnashing of teeth? I am convinced that it is. Let me tell you why.
The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like… – Part 4
The Root And Destiny All Of Evil
We have been working our way through the kingdom parables in Matthew 13 for the past few weeks. My hope is that each of us is gaining a much better understanding of three things: 1) that the depth of compassion of Jesus Christ for the souls of this earth was demonstrated by the profundity of what He shared in His teachings in order for us to understand and love God (by “profundity”, I mean depth, insight, wisdom, perception, understanding, complexity and truth); 2) that those whom He speaks to can grasp what it is He is teaching if their hearts are open to Him – and that applies to any person at any point in time; and, 3) that what He is teaching us is meant to be understood in such a way as to change us and to change our lives.
Along this line, we have been examining the details of Jesus’ parables recorded for us here by Matthew, as well as the few explanations that Jesus Himself has provided.
As we saw last time in our examination of the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Leaven, Jesus wants us to understand that the kingdom of heaven really is not so difficult a thing to grasp and to understand. It is a simple matter if are hearts and minds are open to Him and to His teaching. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus Himself sends, opens the Scripture to us.
In our study a couple of weeks ago, we examined the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. We also took a brief look at the explanation Jesus gave later to His disciples as recorded for us here in Matthew 13:36-43.
Today, I want us to look at this in further detail because, first of all, it is the next section we come to as we progress through the Gospel of Matthew and, second of all, there are truths here that we did not discuss last time and there are questions that I think naturally arise when we read through this section purposefully that need to be addressed.
Let’s read the text then, and allow the Holy Spirit to open the Scriptures to us.
I don’t know about you, but there are two things that strike me right away, two observations I made as I studied this potion of the Scriptures in preparation for our time together today.
My first observation is that Jesus explains the one who sows, the field, the seed, the one who sows the seed of the tares, the harvest, the reapers and the destiny of both the wheat and the tares. The only thing He doesn’t give an explanation of is the fire. We’ll talk about that a little further on.
What I want to discuss first, and I believe it will lead us naturally into our examination of the observation I mentioned about the fire, is the second observation I made as I studied this text.
What I observed was that Jesus provides for us the answer to a question that has long plagued the deepest thoughts of men and women on both sides of the faith issue for as long as men and women have been at odds over it.
The question is: Where does evil come from? Other questions naturally flow from that one, of course. Why does evil exist? Does it serve any useful purpose? The evil of mankind – what makes it so depraved? Why does God tolerate evil and why has He not put an end to it before this? Why does He let it go on?
Jesus tells us straight out in His explanation of the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares where evil comes from – it comes from “the evil one” – the enemy the devil.
That means that all evil comes from him. There is no other source. And, just as Jesus sows the Gospel in men’s hearts and they become children of the kingdom of heaven, so, too, the devil sows lies and deceit and greed and envy and the rest of what we have seen on Jesus’ “short-list” (Mark 7:20-23) in the hearts of men and they become children of the evil one.
Once again, we see that there are only two choices on the menu. Over and over and over again, we see the same thing: if we are not actively for Jesus, then we are actively against Him. If we are not actively gathering with Him, then we are actively scattering away from Him. If we are not children of the kingdom of heaven, then we are children of the evil one.
This is not comfortable truth, yet it is essential truth.