Reading: Matthew 13: 24-30
Verse 24: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
Today’s parable immediately follows the parable of the sower with the four soils and the parable’s explanation. Just as the audience is nodding in approval as they wrap their heads around this teaching, Jesus begins another parable with, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field”. Yes, God is good so He would sow good seed. Many would have thought back to the thorny soil in the last parable and connected the thorns with the evil one. It is a logical connection. But maybe not. This is the nature of the parables. They are intended to make us think, to lead us to delve deeper than the surface understandings, to challenge and push us forward, to pull us up short and to lead us to repentance.
Most folks who walked up as Jesus began the parable would understand the opening scene. Evil has always existed in our world and evil men do evil things. In almost all fields,weeds seem to be a constant presence. And no, I did not plant weeds in my garden; but, yes, there are a lot of them. So maybe the people there that day just dismissed the weeds as the ‘staff’ of everyday life. For some, maybe Satan was the planter. After all, he sows temptations into our lives all the time.
But then comes the twist. No, don’t pull the weeds. Let them grow alongside the wheat. Huh? The audience with the nodding heads would have become still. Quizzical faces would have developed. I imagine a long pause here by Jesus – for full effect. Today we read the last verse and our mind connects to the judgment that will come. Weeds to hell, good crop to heaven. Got it!
But do we? Was or is that Jesus’ meaning? What else could it mean? How else could it apply to our lives? What if the parable is about how we mature in our faith, not removing the sin until our roots are strong enough not to fall right back into it? Just one of many possible applications! Think, delve deep, wrestle with the things of God, find meaning for yourself. God’s blessings on the journey.