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Summary: In Matthew 13, Jesus explains why there continues to be evil in our midst and what will happen through the 1) The Presentation of the Parable (Matthew 13:24–30), and 2) The Interpretation of the Parable (Matthew 13:34–43).

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In June 1998, Robbie Middleton was walking to a friend’s house to try out a tent he had been given that day — his eighth birthday. But as he passed through woods near his Texas home he was grabbed, had gasoline thrown in his face, was tied to a tree with fishing line, and was then set alight after more fuel was thrown over him.

Thirteen years later, just before his 21st birthday, Mr. Middleton died from injuries associated with the 99% burns that covered his body. But before he died he made a dramatic deathbed video statement, which prosecutors are using to charge the alleged attacker, a neighbour aged 13 at the time. In the video, Mr. Middleton revealed for the first time his attacker had raped him two weeks before setting him on fire. David Walker, the Montgomery County attorney, said the rape revelation showed the alleged attacker, Don Collins, had a motive for setting Mr. Middleton on fire and the two crimes were linked. “It was done to prevent Middleton from talking,” he told the Houston Chronicle. Based on the video, Mr. Walker is preparing to charge Mr. Collins with felony murder — a murder committed with another crime, in this case the rape. Mr. Walker said Mr. Collins was arrested after the arson attack but never charged. “The case was very, very difficult, with evidence that was not clear or necessarily compelling at that time,” he told the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Middleton’s mother, Colleen, has talked about being one of the first to find her son after the fire attack. “All of his hair was scorched, and there was skin hanging around his ankles,” she said. Mr. Middleton underwent 200 operations and died from skin cancer doctors have linked to his burns.

Three years after the attack, Mr. Collins was convicted of sexually assaulting another eight-year-old boy. But the Middleton family refused to let their case rest. Last year, the family won a $150-billion wrongful death lawsuit against Mr. Collins. They do not expect to see any money but launched the action to keep the case in the public eye and put pressure on prosecutors to bring charges. “This is a plea for justice,” Mr. Sico told the LA Times after the civil award. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/17/robbie-middleton-2012-don-collins/)

The parable of the "Weeds & Wheat" in Matthew 13 addresses a major concern of the whole discourse, namely, the delay of judgment.... The immediate, natural reaction of the people to Jesus’ proclamation of the presence of the kingdom was to wonder about the continuing presence of evil in the world, as manifested particularly in Roman rule over the people of God. The era of salvation was more or less equated with national-political deliverance (Hagner, D. A. (1998). Vol. 33A: Matthew 1–13. Word Biblical Commentary (382). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

When we see evil all around, we ask as both why, and how do we eradicate it. Some look to political or other instructions. Some say: maybe if we elect enough Christian politicians, judges or other leaders, we change our justice system, or create particular social programs, we will create a better society.


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