Wheat and Weeds

Last night in our small group, we looked at the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13. I was struck by its relevance to my brother’s line of thought developed in his sermon on I Timothy 3:16, Why Was Jesus Justified. In the application at the end, Mark points out:

Secondly, this might help us understand that, even though we have, in substance, our entire salvation in Jesus Christ, we really are still waiting for it to be revealed. Right now, we look and feel like the wicked around us. We too get cancer and deal with old age, and have our children get sick, and struggle with finances, just like all the unbelievers around us. We too are under the general curse that was imposed on the sinful human race.

The parable makes some radical claims in which Jesus describes what the kingdom of God will be like. Let’s not forget that there were some strong notions regarding the Kingdom that held sway in Israel at that point in history. The Romans would be beaten back. The nations would look to Israel. Israel would be liberated to follow the Torah, separating herself from the pagans according to the various laws. Yet here Jesus says that in the kingdom the wheat and weeds will grow side by side, and that they will be so hard to tell apart that if the servants were to attempt to weed the field (the kingdom), they would uproot wheat along with weeds. This is rather explosive stuff to be saying among a people whose national hope is that they will one day be shown, via their faithfulness to Torah, to be the true people of God when their oppressors are ground under their feet!

Here we are in the kingdom, and as Mark highlights in his sermon, the children of the kingdom look a lot like the children of the enemy. This notion slips away from many as they want to preserve the notion of the kingdom for a time in which evil is put in its place, and that will certainly be the case one day. But Jesus calls this field in which both wheat and weeds grow the kingdom. Though we wait for the day of harvest, we do so in the kingdom. By faith we wait, growing alongside weeds, with a hope of the future harvest, in the present reality of the kingdom.