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The Weeds Inside


Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!



SOWING

It is amazing how many different kinds of people can relate to Jesus. In the movie Crocodile Dundee, there is a scene I love where Mick turns around and says, “You know all those disciples, they were fishermen, just like me. Yep, Me and God, we be mates.”


Fisherman can relate to Jesus, winemakers, people with little children, Carpenters can relate to him, the downtrodden, the poor, the list goes on.


Well in today's parable, the Son of Man is a farmer. That’s an easy one for a lot of Australian Lutherans to relate to. We are traditionally a very rural church.


This whole parable is based around someone who sowed good seed in his field. The field, we are told, is the world, the sower is Jesus himself, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom.


Before the parable even gets into full swing we are already hit with some good news:

We were planted by Christ himself In the world, and it is us, the good seed, who he is talking about. We are children of the kingdom.


The sower himself walked the field where he planted the seed. The fact that Jesus came to earth himself is important. He knows the ground. He got his hands dirty in the soil he was going to plant us in. Any good gardener will tell you that before you plant you need to prepare the soil, and Jesus did just that.



We have been sown here in this world by the good gardener, and been given to drink of the waters of baptism. Now, watered in, we can start to grow.



GROWING

In the parable Jesus used of the weeds of the field, it is only after the owner has planted good seed that the enemy comes and plants the weeds. The kind of weeds that are mentioned were a real problem in the grain fields around Galilee. This weed, called Darnel, is almost undetectable to even the expert, trained eye at the stage before it comes to head. It looks exactly like the wheat.


It is only when the grain shows out, just before the harvest, that you can tell the difference. At that stage, even a child, it is said, can tell them apart. This is just as well, because it is a hallucinogen in small doses, and in large doses is poisonous, causing convulsions and even death.


The servants in the story know that the crop is not right, they know that there are weeds there, but how to tell them apart from the wheat? What should they do? The master tells them that now is not the right time, and it is not even their job to remove all the weeds. Leave it to the reaper, the harvester.


Here's the danger: There are the weeds that grow around us, outside us, that we try to identify in other people, but if we are really truthful with ourselves, we have to admit something:


The harder we try to find the weeds in other people’s lives, the more weeds we feel growing up inside of us, threatening to choke us from the inside. Self righteousness and pride, envy and slander, anger and lust.


These parables that Jesus was using to teach, came just after his famous sermon on the mount. One of the major points of that sermon was (help me finish this),” judge not, lest ........also”.


I’m sure anyone here that likes to work in the garden will tell you that weeds always have longer, stronger roots than the plants you want to grow, and the danger, just like in our story, is that in trying to pull out the weeds, you will tear out the good plants, that have intertwined their roots with them.


This is exactly how it is with the evil that is among the faithful. Sometimes we give in to our weedy side and say or do things we are not proud of, and really, if the servants in the story were to try and rip out all the weeds at that stage, you and I might go too.


We will have to put up with the weeds outside and inside for all of our lives. But that doesn’t stop us from doing what we were sown here to do. We are here to grow.


We have been sown by the Son, and now we are grown by the Son, so we can shine like the Sun in the kingdom of our Father. (REPEAT)



The sower did not plant us and then leave, not caring what happens to us, and then only return at the end. Even though we feel like the field is unweeded and untended, the Holy Spirit shines the light of the Son on us, helping us to grow strongly.


We are fertilized with body and blood, in Holy Communion, where we are fed with the nutrients for our growth through life. Here our judgmental weediness and all our other sins are forgiven, and that which chokes our growth is cleared away from inside us.


Those who know something about farming in Australia know the gamble that a farmer takes when they plant crops after a bit of rain. They need that rain to begin, but it is just as important that they get “follow-up” rain while the crop is growing, or it will die.



From my own gardening experience I can tell you firsthand what happens to your plants if they do not receive enough water.


It is just the same with us. We are given a good soaking in our baptism, but we need watering throughout our lives. In the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 55, God’s word is compared to the rain, that does not fall in vain, but always accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent.


It “waters the earth, making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower, and bread for the eater.”


When God brings us together to worship, and when he moves us to have our own devotion time, and to read our bibles, he continues to water us with his word, which again, makes us grow.

Again the good news of the gospel.


MOWING

So, lets look at where we are. After our sowing, we are growing, and we keep going until the final mowing.


The mowing. There will be a time of reckoning. The reaper will come and mow it all down, the wheat and the weeds.


In Jesus’ parable, the only way that anyone could tell the difference between the wheat and the weeds was when they came to a head, when they produced fruit. In the end, it will be by our fruits that we will be known.


Any weeds that are still there inside of us will show out in our lives, and will be visible to the reaper in the fruit we have produced. If it was not for our good gardener, who has sown us and grown us, we would all have to be thrown straight into the fire.


There is not one of us who can stand before the harvester and claim to be worthy of going into the storehouse.


But once again the good news breaks through on our troubled hearts.


We have nothing to fear on that great and terrible day.


Because we have been watered, and we have been fed. We are good seed, planted and tended by a good gardener. And we produce good fruit. This doesn’t mean that we are perfect but in the end God looks at us and sees us, as he saw his first creation. And he says, we are good.




Let’s pray.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for planting, tending and caring for us. We thank you that you will come back to take us to be with you, so that sown, grown and mown, we are your own. Amen

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