Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 53
Matthew:13:24-30 The Parable of the Weeds
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:13:1-23 The Parable of the Sower
The context of yesterday's Parable of the Sower is important both because we began to understand what a parable is and why Jesus is using them now instead of speaking plainly. Parables are a way of explaining a much greater truth while at the same time sorting out those that are truly seeking out the fullest understanding from those that aren't. To those that are not seeking out the person and purpose of Jesus Christ deep at the heart of them, instead going about them for what they can make of it for and by themselves or by the world the teaching of it is hidden. Forces will come externally and internally that will soon either steal or else corrupt the meaning and the further development and eventual fruit of it wither and dry up if not kept to/guarded/sustained for the long run.
In a few more passages devotion:Matthew:13:36-43 Jesus Himself will give us a better explanation of this parable. For now we will consider the immediate relationship between the first two parables.
What is God doing?
"The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field"
There is an immediate contrast made between the kingdom of heaven and the field. Jesus will later explain that the field is the world. Other scripture explains that the kingdom is wherever the king and the king's rule is; this is how He can say that the kingdom is at hand: Jesus is the King, it follows wherever He goes and also wherever His rule remains. The world or the field (His field) has become a place where two types of seeds have been sown by two different opposing sowers.
The good seed is too often perceived to be people or souls planted in the world. I believe it rather to be the king's words which in this world grow and grow to produce a harvest of fruit unlike any other. To believe otherwise is to believe that the devil has the ability to plant souls or people which he clearly does not.
"But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way"
Note that chronologically the good seed/word is already planted. We will discuss this further in the passage of explanation.
It is interesting to note the notion of the growing season as it was better explained in in the Sower's parable as a season of the plant struggling against it's environment and the processes going on within itself up until full maturity. So far we have a word that is planted that dies to itself underground that germinates into a new and consistent plant of the same species capable of multiplying the same fruit expotentially, the strongest of the new plants growing against (perhaps because of) all resistance and corrupting influence.
Tares are very much like wheat in appearance up to the point where the plant actually produces it's fruit; it is hard to distinguish one from the other for a good part of the growing season. Remember that we are talking about words that have been planted by two opposing sources leading to two opposite outcomes, yet they do not appear to be such except to the servants (who are by the way people or souls, not plants).
"Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn"
If we hold true to the seed being words then we see two different words producing two different species of plants. You'll note that there are not repetitive cycles of resowing or reseeding described here, the same words are being taken to their logical conclusion to be finally harvested. The final logical conclusions and all of their attachments are being judged.
In order for the fruit to be harvested the entire wheat plant has to be cut down, the kernel detached and the outer shell and chaff separated and sifted. You'll recall that we had once considered the reapers to be angels when we considered the meaning of the phrase "pray that He send laborers into the field for the harvest". What a tremendous task to separate out all that has been caused by Satan's words upon the field from all that has come about by the field owners original words and to narrow that all down to the actual spiritual fruit. This task will be carried out by the angelic reapers under the field owners' and saints' watchful eye.
What we have now is a prophecy of what is to happen immediately after the final judgment on the Judgment Day. What is to happen is that very process of getting to the fruit of that original word and only it. By all appearance it is a judgment that is obvious to the whole host of participants employed, one that nearly falls upon itself by the very nature of the species of fruit that has been produced, one that can to some extent be discerned even at this very moment.
What is man doing?
"So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares"?
This is where it gets interesting. The Prophets of old are often referred to as servants. The Apostles ahead will refer to themselves as servants. In a smaller sense the saints themselves are servants as are the good angels. The question that we all have had isn't whether there are tares, the question rather is why not just remove the tares here and now and not go through all of this. The understanding of this one question seems to be the focus of this second parable. The simple answer if that God sees it as being best.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them"
We however do not always see things as God does. What we see is massive confusion and frustration even danger or harm. Sometimes we see ourselves as the seed or the plant or the fruit or the harvesters; which in another sense or description we might just be involved to some extent.
But, in a very important sense in this parable, if we are to see for this moment in the scale of massively influential words, two separate and opposing species of words influencing everything that this world presently is/is becoming, the final fruit or outcome of those two species, how it is best in God's eye for this time to not separate the one species (though HE did not plant it) from the other for fear of the initial plants' roots, how the initial word will eventually produce exactly what had been purposed, the field despite it's rocky/sandy/dry and scorched soil would have served it's purpose as well; well then we have a pretty good summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is more like the gospel that we are to keep/guard/proclaim.
We also have a better understanding between the first two parables of the effect the devils' planting is having upon us as it entangling itself in the roots of our Lords' planting causing our perception and understanding of the word to be either snatched away upon the hardened byway, overwhelmed by the onslaught of external pressure against it or chocked out with the amplified cares of this world/field. This is what it is doing and the type of effect that it is having on what should otherwise be a fairly straightforward process. In this process however the word decisively proves itself to be what it is: the word of the King, the word that reigns in His Kingdom; every place that Kingdom might be. If only we were open enough to see the effect that our Lord's Kingdom is having upon the devils'.
Next: devotion:Matthew:13:31-35 The Parable of the Mustard Seed