Reading: Matthew 13: 36-43
Verse 41: The 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.
After telling the parable of the weeds, Jesus next tells two more parables. They are short and speak of how the kingdom of God will spread and grow and affect all it touches. After these two parables Jesus withdraws to the house. Here the disciples ask for an explanation of the parable of the weeds. In private, Jesus unpacks the parable for the disciples.
When Jesus told the parable to the crowd, it followed the parable of the sower, where Jesus talks about what kind of soil we are. In explaining this parable to the disciples, Jesus explains why He speaks in parables. For those who understand, Jesus says more will be given. He goes on to say that some who hear never understand and He laments that some have closed their eyes and hardened their hearts. Jesus is using a prophecy from Isaiah to do all this. Tied into the parable of the soils, this leads us to introspection: what kind of soil am I today? What kind of soil do I want to be? As we grow in our faith, we come to understand more and then more will be given.
In today’s passage, Jesus is giving more to the disciples. He begins by explaining who the real characters are: the Son of Man, the evil one, humanity, and the angels. The story isn’t about storing up the crop and getting rid of the weeds. It is about the end of the age, when a resurrected Jesus will return. There is a foreboding and ominous feeling to the explanation. There is a stark contrast between the two outcomes. When Jesus says, “The 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”, there is a finality. Instead of simply telling stories, Jesus has become very serious. Again, Jesus is leading those who have ears to hear what He is saying. He is leading those who hear to gain more understanding.
As we ourselves reflect on the interpretation of today’s passage, we must ponder: are we those weeping and gnashing teeth or are we those shining like the sun? Do we take what Jesus has to say and allow it to change and challenge us? Our passage ends with, “He who has ears, let him hear”. May it be so with us today.