Wednesday

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ (v. 36)

Matthew 13:36-43 Wednesday 12 October 2022

Psalm 76

Background

The disciples didn’t always understand Jesus’ teaching. There were several occasions (see also Matthew 13:18-23) when Jesus explains the meaning of a parable to them. Some scholars believe that these interpretations were later additions by the Early Church and were not originally given by Jesus. I would support that theory as it seems to me that Jesus’ rationale for teaching in parables was so that those listening could draw their own conclusions. However, I am glad that the disciples are portrayed as people who were prepared to ask questions about what Jesus said. That gives us permission and encouragement to do the same!

Personally, I have a lot of questions about the “furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 42). I find it very hard to accept that God wants people to burn in hell for eternity. This Prisons Week is a good opportunity to reflect on how people should be punished for their wrongdoing.

If you have ever done a Myers-Briggs personality type test, you may remember that you are asked to choose which of two words you prefer. When asked to say whether justice or mercy was more important, I really struggled. Justice is an important kingdom value for me. However, I also believe strongly in the mercy of God. That is why I find it so difficult to understand the apparent lack of mercy in today’s reading.

I appreciate that both the parable and the explanation are trying to prepare people for the Last Judgement. The choices we make have consequences. For me, the choice the first disciples made, which was to step away from the crowd and spend time with Jesus, asking to understand more fully what his teaching means, is a choice I also want to make.

 

To Ponder:

  • What questions would you like to ask Jesus about something he said?
  • What is more important to you:  justice or mercy?

Prayer

Jesus, I don’t always understand what I read in the Bible. Give me the courage to ask questions and not to be afraid of my doubts. Amen.      

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