Summary: We may see a lot of destruction and evil around us, but God uses it all to bless His people in ways we might not recognize.
Opening and Introduction
There’s a lot of terrible things going. It seems like every time I turn on the news, I see another act of violence, another senseless act of destruction, and the continuing sickness of the COVID-19 virus.
In just this past week, I’ve read about
• a man shot and killed while he was helping someone jump start a car…
• a woman suspected of grooming young girls into sexual abuse…
• and a con-artist family masquerading as a church, selling a COVID cure that was actually toxic.
There are all sorts of terrible acts happening around us way more often than we’d like, and they don’t seem to be going away.
Today, we’ll examine the simple struggle of good and evil in the world. We’re going to dive into the parable that Jesus taught. We’ll take a closer look at the sower of the WHEAT and the sower of the WEEDS. And we’ll look at the question, of why God allows so many bad events to exist in the world today.
In our Gospel lesson, we heard a parable that’s part of a larger discussion of Jesus talking about faith, the Kingdom of God, and how important it is for us to seek Him.
In the first part of our Gospel, Jesus told the parable to a crowd that was gathered around him, and then later to His disciples with a more detailed explanation.
This parable describes judgment day with the angels harvesting the faithful, and the gathering and burning of the unfaithful. But that’s how the story ends. I’d like to look at how the story begins.
It begins much earlier. Jesus started the parable with, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field” (Matthew 13:24, ESV). A few verses later, Jesus explains, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world” (Matthew 13:37-38a, ESV)
The term, “Son of Man”, is one that Jesus often uses to talk about Himself. He is the one sowing the seed in the world. But that sowing started a long time ago.
It started back at the very beginning. The Bible begins “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, ESV) For the first five days, God created by saying “let there be”, and there was. At the end of each and every day, God declared that it was good, perfect, without blemish, without defect. The newly formed creation met God’s high standards of perfection.
On the sixth day, God continued creation. It was on this day that He created man in His image. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31a, ESV) The first man was Adam, and his bride was Eve. This very good creation deserved a very good place to live.
God seeded the world by planting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. A perfect paradise with all sorts of plants and trees… beautiful to look at, and wonderful to eat. It was a fantastic place to live, with no work needed to earn their next meal.
Living in this perfect world had to be a wonderful experience. But, paradise didn’t last long. Only two chapters of creation, and blissful existence, and in the next chapter, the ultimate deception happens.
The Devil was in the Garden too. He talked with Eve, acted like a friend with logic and concern, and committed the greatest crime. He convinced Eve that God didn’t mean what He said.
Eve listened to the lies, and became convinced of the story she wanted to hear, and she ate the forbidden fruit. Then she sold the lie to her husband, and Adam followed suit too.
The enemy, Satan, planted his own seed of deception. He tore down the perfect world that the first man and first woman lived in, and tainted not just the humans, but cursed all of creation forevermore.
The first of many WEEDS had been planted in the garden, and it began with deceit. Neither Adam nor Eve could tell the difference between the truth and a lie, between good and evil. Understanding the difference can be difficult sometimes.
And this is why Jesus used parables. To help people understand difficult concepts, by relating them to familiar events from everyday life. Concepts like faith, God’s love for us, eternal life, and our forever home in heaven. The crowds were familiar with farmers, and sowing seed. So Jesus used these references often.
When a farmer plants WHEAT, it takes time for those seeds to grow into plants, and even longer for those plants to grow the heads of grain. In Jesus’ parable, he spoke of the enemy planting weeds in the garden.