14 October 2019Matthew 13:24-30
He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.' (vs. 24-25)
Psalm: Psalm 72
I am not sure who put the seeds in my garden but I have plenty weeds. They grow up freely among my flowers and Jersey potatoes. Sometimes it is not possible to remove the weed without uprooting everything. On other occasions I find it hard to identify which is a weed and which is not. A similar dilemma was faced in Jesus’s agrarian society where weeds and wheat grew side by side. In the early stages of growth they looked very similar and the farmer had to nurture both until harvest when the character of the two was evident and they then could then be safely separated.
Using pithy, memorable turns of speech, Jesus engages the imagination of the crowd who are seated by the lake (v. 1). Jesus’ stories initially appear familiar and safe because they begin with language the crowd is used to: seeds, hoeing, planting and harvest. But the conclusion of the parable leaves many questions in the air: Who is this enemy? How did the bad seed get there? What to do? The very nature of a parable requires the listener to become involved in the process of interpretation.
The central thrust of this parable appears to be the pragmatic reality that good and evil coexist. They are interwoven and not easily separated. It is not always possible to determine which is growing.
- In Acts 5:33-39, Gamaliel’s speech advocates letting time judge the merits of Peter and the apostles. Is there a connection here with Jesus’ parable of Weeds and Wheat?
- Is it always wise to wait?
- Do you find it easy to spot weeds growing in your spiritual vegetable patch?
- Take a couple of minutes to read the hymn, ‘Come, you thankful people come’. Is it really a harvest hymn? How would you summarise what Henry Alford is really saying?