Tuesday 11 October 2016

Bible Book:

“He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.’” (v. 24)

Matthew 13:24-30 Tuesday 11 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 25


Matthew's Gospel continues to interweave stories that Jesustells to the crowd with his teaching to a smaller group ofdisciples (Matthew 13:34, 36). Now the crowd is back andthey are offered another agrarian parable. It is a simple wordpicture which draws on what must have been a common experience forall those involved in growing food (as it is to anyone who has avegetable garden) - the propensity of the plot to grow weedsalongside the crop that has been sown. But in this story there aretwo surprises. One is the malice that lies behind this instance ofa common experience ("an enemy has done this" (v. 28)) and theother is the landowner's solution (not to try to eradicate theweeds but to let things be until the harvest - verse 30).

It is clear (even before we get to the interpretation of thisstory later in the chapter) that the parable links God's purposefor God's world with a common image from farming life. It is a linkthat can be seen in the harvest hymns of the19th-century (see, for example, verse 3 of 'Come, you thankful people, come' (Singing theFaith 123)).

The hymn 'How small a spark has lit a living fire!'(StF408), however, is not a harvest hymn. Instead it picks up analternative theme which seems to be the key point of the parable:nothing can frustrate the kingdom of heaven. The landowner'snonchalance about the weeds (verse 30) may be surprising to thosewho would want to tackle the problem with an hoe at the earliestopportunity, and farmers may dispute whether destroying the weedswould do more damage to the crop than leaving them, but the pointthat Jesus makes here is clear. God has God's purpose and thatpurpose cannot be thwarted.

To Ponder

  • God's timing is not always our timing. How do we know when itis better just to let things be than to try to put them right?
  • This is one of a number of parables that draw on commonexperiences of the natural world but the first time that Matthew'sGospel records Jesus saying "The kingdom of heaven is like ...".What everyday experience has said to you, "The kingdom of heaven islike ..."?
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