Printable PDF: 8-2-2020 Pentecost 9 Sermon
David R. Clark ~ Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 ~ August 2, 2020 ~ Pentecost 9
WHAT ABOUT THE WEEDS?
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”…
36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Dear friends in Christ,
It’s been months since we’ve had a good rain, so it may be hard to remember, but we had a very wet winter. How wet was it? We had weeds everywhere at a time when we never have them! The problem was widespread. My yard, which is mostly rock, looked like a pasture! Do I mow them? Dig them? Wait for the heat? What do I do?
This parable is about the problem with weeds, but Jesus wasn’t teaching us about our yards. Jesus uses parables and metaphors from his agricultural culture to teach us. He was addressing a frustration every Christian has with the influence of Satan. It includes seeking to destroy Christianity in this world of unbelievers who passively go on their way to destruction. So what are we to do? WHAT ABOUT THE WEEDS?
- They are planted by the enemy. (verses 24-25)
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
In Jesus’ time no one gave bad online reviews or sent computer viruses. In an agricultural society, enemies could make themselves a nuisance by attacking the food supply. They would take seeds of a certain plant which looked just like wheat as it was growing and throw them out into the field. The weeds robbed moisture and nutrients from the wheat, and the entire crop suffers.
God sent Jesus into the world so that everyone would believe and be saved. God wanted his entire field, the world, to be only a good harvest. He wants everyone to end up in paradise. But our enemy, Satan, lures and confuses with his lies.
This is who we struggle against in this world, against Satan. Our enemy is not a politician, a virus, or people who do not like us. It is Satan. He is the source of all evil and trouble in this life, especially the evil of unbelief which keeps people from paradise.
- They are hard to distinguish. (verses 26-27)
How does he confuse and frustrate? When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’”
The word used for the weeds here is for a plant that looks just like wheat until it is full grown. It was a nuisance because it could also be poisonous. At best these weeds caused trouble. At worst, they could cause illness or death.
That’s how Satan works. Jesus warns us to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. Paul says messengers of Satan disguise themselves as angels of light. No false prophet today wears a sign that proclaims himself to be a messenger of Satan. We should expect no less today from the father of lies. The confusion he causes led Jesus to rebuke one of his disciples, “Get behind me, Satan!” Satan makes it hard for us.
It could be the next door neighbor who faithfully watches your house while you are on vacation or the family member who encourages you when you are down. It could be the best boss you ever had, who gave you regular raises and treasured you as an employee. But if it was someone who was not motivated by Christ, isn’t there a strong temptation to see that you don’t have to be a Christian to be a “good person.” But that is being a weed. They are the last people we would like to see in this way.
- They will be destroyed. (verses 28-30)
So what should we do? “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
They have to let them grow. They will then be harvested, separated from the wheat and thrown into a fire and burned. That’s the only time they can easily be distinguished and the only time uprooting them does not also cause problems for the wheat.
That day of harvest is the last day. Although we struggle with the difference between believers and unbelievers, Jesus doesn’t. Only believers in Jesus will be taken to heaven. The rest will be burned in the fire. Jesus will make it clear on Judgment Day.
Christians throughout history have felt they could judge the difference. The Inquisition was one. Having a “Christians-only society” was another. God’s strategy is to be patient. Understand what is happening and know Judgment Day is coming. Until then focus on being wheat. In an unbelieving world, grow and be fruitful as Christians. Repent of your failures to distinguish Satan’s temptations. And until Jesus makes everything clear, be a witness. God will change some of those weeds into wheat.
Brothers and sisters, the weeds are a huge problem! Be patient and don’t lose heart. Jesus is the solution for the weeds. Amen.